Sixty Foot Falls Trail, Ellis Brook Valley Reserve
Updated: Feb 25, 2020
This trail is listed as difficult as it involves quite a steep ascent and descent - that's the work you have to put in to get to the top of the falls. The trail is a 2km loop so only takes about 45 minutes to walk around with minimal stops.
As you enter Ellis Brook Valley Reserve the Honeyeater Hollow (lower) carpark will appear on your left. From this base you can explore the shorter walks such as the Eagle View Trail (430m return) or the Easy Walk Trail (500m loop) which is a universal access trail. There are picnic and BBQ facilities at Honeyeater Hollow. There are also toilets here.
The Blue Wren Ramble Trail will take you from Honeyeater Hollow to the upper carpark. It is 1.4km each way and can be added on to the Sixty Foot Falls Trail to give you a trail just under 5km in total. I have walked the Blue Wren Trail in September with the Wildflowers out and it is a very pretty walk with some climbs, including wide steps
The Sixty Foot Falls Trail starts at the top car park. There are picnic tables here but no other facilities. We chose to do the trail in a clockwise direction climbing up the staired path to the first lookout. We detoured into the Old Barrington Quarry which it turned out had great acoustics! The trail is a little tricky to follow in some places so have a map with you so you can check you are going in the right direction. We continued to climb up the path with stairs helping us up the gradient. It is quite a steep climb but you are traversing so the climb is gradual. We met some other walkers with dogs coming the other way and were surprised at the little dogs like dachshunds handling the stairs with ease on their little legs!
We finally flattened out a little at a bench and thought we had made it to the top but around the corner was another climb! When you hit the wooden love seat you know you have reached the top! The views down the valley are spectacular although there was quite a bit of smoke haze around when we were there.
Once we peaked at the top we began the climb down towards the top of the falls. Much of this path is rocky and you are stepping down from rock to rock with the occasional step so the descent can be quite hard on your knees. The path is also quite narrow in places and it can be a bit of a squeeze passing walkers heading the other way.
When you come out on to the rocks at the top of the falls there is only a small area on which to rest or sit. As we were there in May there was absolutely no water going over the falls so it is a different experience when the falls are running. We continued down to some viewing platforms and looked back at the impressive rock face down which the water tumbles. The photo at the top of this post was taken with water running in September. We continued down the valley again walking on mixed rock/stepped paths and traversing through some denser vegetation until we were back at the information hut at the car park.
Please note that Ellis Brook is a dieback free area and there are boot cleaners to clean your shoes before you start your trail. Please take the time to clean your shoes as dieback is a serious problem.
This was a very enjoyable walk. Although it is a short 2kmwalk (about an hour) it has plenty of challenging climbs and terrain to make it interesting. It is quite spectacular in Spring when the wildflowers are out and the water is running down the falls and along the stream. Please note that dogs are allowed on this trail but should be kept on a lead.
ADDITIONAL NOTE: I walked this again in January (no water on the falls at this time of year) and it was a pleasant walk. This time we walked anti-clockwise completing the climb first before taking the more gradual descent past the quarry. Although it was only 29 degrees the gates at the entrance were locked so we had to park on the roadside and walk up the road, adding about a kilometer to our walk. Please note the gates are locked when the fire danger is high (most of summer) so you will have to walk the extra distance. On the return we chose to take the Blue Wren Ramble through the bush rather than walking on the hot road. At the quarry we ventured through a hole in the fence to get a stunning view from the top of the quarry however I would NOT recommend that you take kids here!