5 Breathtaking Dog-Friendly Walks in the Blue Mountains

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If you’re heading to the high country for a weekend escape or just a day trip and have your pup in tow, you’d be right in wondering where exactly you can go. After all, most of the trails in the Blue Mountains are in national parks, which are a no-go zone for dogs. But thankfully, it’s not all off-limits, with several dog-friendly trails on council land welcoming creatures great and small.   

1. South Lawson Circuit Walk

Dog posting in front of a waterfall in the Blue Mountains
Image credits: @itsplutoandastro

‘Don’t go chasing waterfalls’ goes out the window on this unspoiled trial which features not one but four stunning cascading bodies of water. As such, the best time to do the walk is after a period of rain when the falls will be running freely (though wear proper hiking shoes as it may be muddy in parts). To get there, drive to the start of the circuit at the corner of Honour Ave and Livingstone Street in Lawson – just look out for the trail signpost.

Nearest town: Lawson
Distance: 2.5km loop
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy to moderate (some steep parts)
Leash: Yes, at all times

2. Terrace Falls Reserve, Hazelbrook

Shiba Inu dog sitting in Terrace Falls Reserve waterfall
Image credits: @misotheshibby

If you haven’t had your fix of waterfalls just yet, then this epic trial is sure to satisfy. You start the hike up high before plunging deep into the forest filled with majestic trees, ferns and hanging vines, which make way for two waterfalls. As such, it’s best to do this hike after the rain, so the picturesque falls are at their full glory. This is a pretty easy dog-friendly walk, though there’s some uneven terrain and several short uphill sections, so wear proper shoes.

Nearest town: Hazelbrook
Distance: 4.7km
Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Leash: Yes, at all times

3. Minnehaha Falls, Katoomba

Image credits: @nori_thebordercollie

In the heart of Katoomba, you’ll find this show-stopping waterfall. Follow the metal stairs down (some pups will need to be carried) and be rewarded with a dip in the pool at the base of the falls or rock-hop downstream to discover even more swimming holes. As this is a popular tourist spot, the trail is fairly flat and well-maintained, but you’ll be rewarded with a great view whether you decide to venture to the bottom or not. To get there, drive along Minni Ha Ha Road until you reach the car park in Minnehaha Reserve.

Nearest town: Katoomba
Distance: 3km return
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Moderate
Leash: Yes

4. Horseshoe Falls Reserve, Hazelbrook

Dog exploring a Blue Mountains dog-friendly trail
Image credits: @olliexplorer

This short loop track, also known as the Burgess Falls Walking Track, offers spectacular scenery in a tranquil forest setting. The dog-friendly trail is easy, with the only rocky terrain, not a necessity, though it will lead you to get to the base of one of the multiple waterfalls (Fairy Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Oaklands Falls, and Burgess Falls) you’ll see on this trek. As this walk is located in a gully, even a little rain can result in a lot of mud, so proper hiking shoes are a must.

Nearest town: Hazelbrook
Distance: 3.5km return
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Easy
Leash: Yes, at all times

5. Birdwood Gully, Springwood

Image credits: @indiethekelpiex

This walk might be short, but it’s anything but forgettable. It starts a little steep but once in the gully, the path evens out. Trek through the bushland, where ferns form a dense shade cover, before emerging into a small forest where waterfalls, vine overhangs and small caves create a magical experience. Speaking of magical, stay till dust and be rewarded with glow worms lighting the way. 

Nearest town: Springwood
Distance: 2.7km circuit
Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy, though rough at times
Leash: Yes, at all times

When heading off the beaten track with your pup, be sure to consider their ability. It’s best to start small if you’re not sure about their fitness levels, as the last thing you want is to be carrying your pup out of bushland. Other essentials when going off-grid include water and a collapsible bowl, snacks, and up-to-date vaccinations, as dogs are more likely to pick up nasties when out trekking. But otherwise, a sturdy lead and plenty of spirit is all you need to have a great day out exploring the great outdoors.

If you’re looking for more route options, check out some of the other beautiful scenic dog-friendly walks in Sydney.