Looking back on Katoomba from Mt Solitary ridge
Situated in the world heritage listed Blue Mountains, Australia lies the majestic Mount Solitary. At 950 metres above sea level Mount Solitary demands attention amongst it’s nearest landscapes rivals such as the iconic three sisters located nearby. The local indigenous people called the mountain Korowal meaning “the strong one”. Mount Solitary is located in the jamison valley and is most easily accessed via the mountain township of Katoomba.
Over the years Mount Solitary has been a sought after destination for many experienced walkers, hikers, runners and overnight campers as they seek the majestic and breathtaking views the mountain offers up as you labour up it’s steep eucalyptus lined ridges. From it’s summit you are offered a stunning view from melville’s lookout near chinaman’s gap that takes in lake burragorang and the wild dog mountains.
In recent times the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) have installed pit toilets, shelter and rainwater tanks for the increased traffic flow to Ruined Castle ,which you pass along the way enroute to Mount Solitary. Though the rain tanks may supply water year round, yet it’s vital you carry a good supply of water as it may not be available in the dry periods atop Mount Solitary. Overnight campers can stay in chinaman’s gap or nearby areas with suitable tents and sleeping equipment.
Below is a series of pictures taken by Ben Pearse who is a commercial photographer living and working in Katoomba, Blue Mountains, Australia. These images document the popular walking route from the Golden Stairs to atop Mount Solitary. The distance from the beginning of the Golden stairs to the Chinaman’s Gap is approximately 7.7km. (please read additional notes below images on hiking severity)
I hope these images help others enjoy this beautiful section of the Blue Mountains, Australia.
All images are copyright to Ben Pearse Photography 2016
Golden stairs to Mount Solitary
three sisters view
Golden stair pathway
Signposts to Mt Solitary at base of Golden Stairs
Entering the forest
Dappled forest light
Sunshine and greens
Sunshine through the trees
Trees amongst the ferns
Cliff lined views
Track through the ferns
Forest in sunlight
Sea of ferns
Under a fern canopy
Turnoff to Ruined Castle
Warning signs to take note
Campsites and rest spots
Water and shelter
Rain tanks and shelter
Last pit toilet stop
Rain tanks can provide water if it’s available
One of two rain tanks available
Beautiful angophora trees
The uphill climb begins
Ruined Castle views
Sunlight over Angophora tree
The path gets steeper
First steep scramble
Looking to Kings Tablelands
Katoomba cliffline views
The chimney climb
The second knoll climb looms above
Looking back across the jamison valley to Katoomba
Looking back panoramic views
Narrowneck plateau views
Summit views…still a way to go
Finding a shady spot on the climb
Chinaman’s gap- Mount Solitary
Chinaman’s gap eucalyptus trees
Chinaman’s Cave- Mount Solitary
Chinaman’s gap in the mist
Melville’s lookout- Mount Solitary
Zooming in on Lake Burragorang
View over Lake Burragorang
Panoramic view from Melville’s lookout
Rain over Lake Burragorang
Tales around the campfire…
Katoomba panoramic view- Mount Solitary on the left. The hike starts from right, underneath narrowneck plateau, and continues left past and below ruined castle and finally up the steep visible ridgeline onto Mount Solitary.
Thanks for looking, cheers Ben
Note: The hike to Mount Solitary is not suitable for inexperienced hikers and campers. The long steep ridge path through sections of sandstone boulders can prove exhaustive and dangerous for those whose fitness is not at a suitable level.
Note: The author takes no responsibility for any incorrect information in this blog post. All person/s who are undertaking a walk/hike or camping trip to Mount Solitary should research/contact NPWS and other local government agencies and/or official sites prior to leaving to ensure their own safety. Please stay safe and monitor bushfire warnings when hiking and camping and be sure to take out your rubbish with you so other can enjoy these areas too.