Somehow Mr Man convinced me to wake up before the crack of dawn on a cold misty Saturday morning to drive to Devil's Hole, a 7km one-way hike. The trail is located 110km west of Sydney, on the outskirts of the Blue Mountains town, Katoomba.
Starting on Stuarts Road, the track begins with a pleasant walk along a clearly defined path for the first 1km. There are some small inclines, and if this is enough for you, head back now.
Top Tip: Park near to the where you will finish the hike, along Cliff Drive, and walk to the start on Stuarts Road. This will save you the 2km walk back to your car after climbing up 300m.
First 1km is a warm up of what's to come
There are a couple of worthy short detours off the main track for amazing views of the Megalong Valley.
After heading through a metal gate, follow the Six Foot Track down further into the valley. Not long after there is a 'Caution – Steep Decent' timber sign. The descent starts with 300 wooden steps, which merge into a pretty but rocky creek, our waterproof shoes came in handy here.
Start your decent
Eventually, the track begins to level out into a wide dirt road. If you wanted to ramp up the cardio, the next 2km is great for getting some trail running in until you hit an intersection. Turn left here onto another dirt road with a 'Ladders have been removed No access' sign.
Turn left at the intersection
Continue along this road for approximately 850m until a concealed bush track on the left, marked by a large cairn.
Cairn - a man-made pile of stones
From here it did not take long for the track to start its ascent out of the valley. There were a few fallen trees which required manoeuvring over, under or around. Keep an eye out for markers, cairns and arrows to help navigate the path. For a few hundred meters, we also had a couple of guides in the form of two lyrebirds running upfront, who kept us on the right track.
Eventually, the track opens out into an area with a large grouping of rocks to the left. Head up past the rocks, which at first glance was not obvious, however, there were small markers to indicate the path.
Follow the markers up past the rocks
At the top of this section, was a sign indicating the track we came for.
Devil's Hole this way
By now our legs were starting to fatigue, but they ain't felt nothing yet. We continued up the steep climb making our way through a stunning, rocky and narrow chasm. There isn't really a right (or wrong) way to go, so we designed our own paths to race each other to the top.
A rocky climb out of the valley
After heading under the chockstone, it wasn't long until we finished the hike on Cliff Drive.
Chock stone - a rock between two cliffs
I am not sure how this track got the name Devil's Hole, as I think it is beautiful. What I particularly loved about this hike is that whether I was looking at the scenery, navigating up the rocks, finding the concealed path or making sure I didn't slip on creeks crossings, it didn't allow me the time to think of anything else other than where I was right at that moment.
If you are going to hike this trek, I strongly recommend that you print a copy of the trail maps/notes. As the hike is deep in a valley, make sure you have enough daylight hours to finish, remembering that the bush gets darker quicker.
Also, the track can be quite slippery. We went 3 days after rainfall, I wouldn't advise going any earlier after the heavens have opened.