COME SEE Knapsack Stairs + Elizabeth Lookout – Blue Mountains, NSW Australia.
KNAPSACK STAIRS + ELIZABETH LOOKOUT: THE GUIDE
REGION: Lower Blue Mountains
ACCESSIBILITY: Private/hired vehicle, public transport.
BEST TIME TO VISIT: Daylight hours
LOCATION: (Open in Google Maps)
WALKING DISTANCE: 4.4km return
TIME REQUIRED: 1.5 hours or more | it took us 1 hour up & 20 minutes down.
TOURIST RATING: 3/10
*Times are approximate and depend on traffic
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KNAPSACK STAIRS + ELIZABETH LOOKOUT: THE EXPERIENCE
The knapsack stairs is literally an 8 minute drive from Penrith and although it’s a well known local track to get the heart pumping, this was my first time attempting this walk.
At the end of the Great Western Highway you’ll find a limited number of car spaces. This main paved track will lead to multiple smaller tracks within Glenbrook including Knapsack.
After crossing the Knapsack Viaduct immediately to the right you’ll see a pathway that leads to three tracks. We took the Elizabeth Lookout which is the most popular route.
At first glance it’s absolutely beautiful. There’s a sense of history with the large sandstone bridge that stands high above the treetops.
On the way down into the gully we heard a big “wooooooohoooooo” – looked up and saw an abseiler dangling with the bridge!
It’s a rocky and muddy (or dry depending on the season) path that leads down into the valley where you’ll have to cross a small trinkle of water.
It’s from here in that the track becomes a lot tougher and where it gets the name knapsack ‘stairs’. Apparently there’s about 500 of them but I don’t know how correct that is because a few sets seemed to have washed.
In just over an hour we had reached Elizabeth Lookout which we had all to ourselves. We had only crossed paths with a few other locals along the way which was good because there’s not a lot of room to stand on the side of the track to allow people to pass.
From here you can continue on to Marge’s Lookout and then walk back to the car park via Mitchell’s pass but the sun was getting low and we decided to go back the way we came because lord knows we didn’t want to take a wrong turn and end up lost deep in the bush when it got dark.
It took a total of 15 minutes to get back to the paved path but instead of crossing back over the river, we took the shortcut up scrambling over some fallen trees on the side for the hill. Another 5-10 minutes stroll back and we had reached the van ready to go catch a sunset.
If you’re local – you should definitely get out try this one! Don’t be like me and wait 10+ years to get here, take the 8 minute trip out there today!
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