What a great little canyon! I can’t believe that I haven’t done this before. It’s just perfect for beginners. With a short walk in and out, some jumps, a nice swim through a constricted canyon and an absolutely stunning view of the Grose Valley at the end, this canyon is must do.
Of course the day didn’t actually start that well. We decided on a late start and met at Katoomba at 10:00am and then drove out to the Fortress Creek carpark. Our intention was to drop one car off at the carpark and walk in via another ridge further East to make a nice loop. Unfortunately, due to a mad rush on Thursday afternoon - I had a funeral to attend on the Friday - I stuffed up the printout of my maps and managed to leave out a crucial section where my Butterbox map and Fortress Creek map joined and I didn’t even have time to laminate them!
So we headed off towards the ridge and promptly stopped at the carpark on the bend that clearly had a “track” heading in the direction we wanted. So far so good. Except the track petered out after 100m. So we thought we’d walk along the ridge to try to find the track. But no luck. And the GPS indicated that we were about 300m off route. So, we cut our losses and simply went back to usual start point and at 11:40 finally started walking. As it turned out, we only had to drive up the road another 300m to find the track (which was clearly marked as the Lockley Pylon Track) plus I didn’t actually take notice in the canyon description that the alternate entrance was via “The Pinnacles” - Doh!!!!
The walk is rather nice with good views of The Pinnacles to the East and Carne Wall and Govett Gorge to the West.
It didn’t long to reach Fortress Creek and we stopped here for a quick lunch then suited up as the first wade was only 50m further downstream. After this initial taste of the canyon there is a fair amount of creek walking before the real canyon starts.
One of the highlights of the creek walk was a pool with hundreds of tadpoles in the final stage of metamorphosis. I must’ve taken around 50 underwater photos of the tadpoles and was rewarded with a few good images.
A nice cave section at the start of the canyon.
A short canyon swim just below the 3m jump. The next abseil is about 6m high, but since the water levels were high due to recent rain we all jumped it some of us just touching the bottom as it was just over 3m deep.
Amelia swimming through the shoulder width constriction of the final canyon section. This section is a 40m swim.
Stunning views of the Grose Valley with a beautiful pool only 1m away from the 200m drop. None of us we game to get that close.
Lockley Pylon from a nice lookout halfway up the walkout.
Looking back up Fortress Creek from the lookout.
We arrived back at the at cars at around 5:00pm after a relaxing day of awesome canyoning.