Summary: The Bald Head via Hat Head bushwalk starts with a gentle ascent of Hat Hill, before following the ridge to the end. Two cliff-top vantage points on Bald Head offer spectacular Grose Valley views.

I’ve visited Hat Hill recently to have a look at Hat Hill Trig; this time I’m continuing out to Bald Head at the end of the ridge. The Bald Head via Hat Head bushwalk starts with a gentle ascent from Hat Hill Road to the top of the small hill. (If you enjoy this bushwalk, I found it in many ways comparable to the Lions Head bushwalk on the Kings Tableland.)

The trig station is just above the walking track, and the very short diversion up to the top of the hill offers some nice views out to Lockleys Pylon, Mount Hay and the Grose Valley to the east.

Many years ago Hat Hill was home to William Andrew Murphy (1846 -1927) – the Hermit of Hat Hill – who lived there for many years in a hut he constructed.

At this particular spot there was an old gentleman, an old Irishman, by the name of Murphy who with his own hands had built himself a stone house. The stones he collected from the area, a very very rocky area. He used the local soil and mud mixed together for mortar and he built himself what was quite a weather proof and comfortable little cabin…

…Well, Mr Murphy lived on there for many years and he was no trouble to anybody. He was always happy to interview people, talk to them, discuss the local environment and so on. Then he set his hands to making what would be a millet broom out of a particular shrub which grows in that area and he made a machine to make what looked like a very, very good replica of our millet broom today. But unfortunately for Mr Murphy, although his machine worked wonderfully, as my dad always said, when his brooms dried you had to have another broom to sweep up the mess that his broom left.

Blue Mountains Library, Local Studies

The bushwalking track skirts along the Hat Hill just below the top, and soon reaches a rock formation known as Hen and Chicken Rock (previously known as The Rooster and also Old Man’s Hat).

From a certain angle, the rock supposedly looks like a chicken, or rooster…

There are some nice views from the ridge, out to the distinctive Mount Banks to the east.

You can see the Bald Head via Hat Head track stretching out along the wide ridge.

The track traverses a small hill along the ridge, which reveals another hill in the distance…

After the second of these two ridge-top hills is a rock platform perched above a small gully. There’s some nice views from here looking west towards the cliffs above Hat Hill Creek, and the even taller cliffs near Walls Lookout and Rigby Hill.

The next and last section of the Bald Head via Hat Head bushwalk is the hardest, as the track drops steeply into a saddle and then back up to Bald Head. Through the trees are more views of the sandstone cliffs towering above the Grose Valley.

The track reaches a junction near the top of Bald Head: I head first to the right, which descends gently to the edge of the ridge on the eastern side. The views from here are spectacular, looking down the rugged Grose Valley towards Burra Korrain, and across to the imposing cliffs above the Grose directly ahead.

What an explosion to the senses it is when the view opens up as we crest Bald Head. There in the foreground are the magnificent sunlit cliffs below Baltzer Lookout on Burramoko Head and the front-on view of Hanging Rock, like the bow of some Gargantuan ship emerging from the cliff face. Then the shaded cliffs stretching around to Burra Korain Head; the wooded talus slopes contrasting markedly with the bare vertical rock faces.

Moving toward the point of Bald Head the view into the Upper Grose Gorge opens up even more: the shimmering silver ribbon of the Grose River far below; winding its way along the base of the vee formed by the north and south talus slopes. On the north side of the gorge the cliffs below Liversidge Hill and the Birrabang Walls sit in more subdued light casting shadows onto the slopes; toward the head of the gorge are the shaded cliffs below Wilkinson Hill.

A turn to the right and there, across this wide abyss, sits the conical form of Rigby Hill beside Pierces Ravine, the site of Pierces Pass, then Walls Lookout and the continuous line of cliffs stretching around past Mount Banks to Banks Wall; a magnificent panorama.

Mt Wilson Mt Irvine Bushwalking Group, HAT HILL and BALD HEAD RIDGE to BALD HEAD

The most impressive sight is the cliff-line above the Grose Valley, looking towards Walls Lookout, with the Grose River winding its way through the deep valley.

Re-tracing my steps to the junction, I then ascend Bald Head, the highest point of the ridge. The gentle hill is covered with low heath, with almost no trees.

The views from Bald Head are not as dramatic: to the west Baltzer Lookout and Hanging Rock juts out at the end of the cliff-line, and beyond that is Burra Korain Head.

On the way back I drop below the informal track a little, heading through the low scrub towards the edge of the cliffs below Bald Head. From here you get some great views again looking down the Grose Valley.

I return the same way – there is an alternate track that drops down to Perrys Lookdown Road, but since that means walking back along the road there’s not much point in taking this route. (The Hat Hill Aboriginal rock art site is near this alternate access trail.)

Getting to the Bald Head via Hat Head track

The start of the Bald Head via Hat Head is on the sealed Hat Hill Road, just before it turns into the unsealed Perrys Lookdown Road, about 5.4km (7min drive) from Blackheath. There is a small parking area on the opposite side of the road to the trail. (The alternate walking trail and Aboriginal site is about 0.7km further along Perrys Lookdown Road, and also has a small parking area.)

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1 Comment

Seb · October 7, 2023 at 3:08 pm

Putting this trail on our bucket list and your photography really captures the location well. Excited to follow your journey!!

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