Cox's Pass Walk, Blue Mountains, Australia

Sydney's most historic walk - 8 km, 2 hrs

The view from the top of Cox's PassCOX'S PASS WALK is one of Sydney's historic walks in the Blue Mountains. Only 8 km long, it packs in a lot of visual features. And can be done in both directions. This is also a good training walk for when you’re preparing to go on those longer distance walks round the world. The walk takes you down the historic pass cut by Cox and his men down from Mt. York to the plains. It still gives you a sense of history as you walk it.
The walk from the top of Mt. York to Hartley Vale begins quite steeply. Take care here and wear firm soled shoes or boots. The path winds around the slopes of Mt. York and then flattens out at the base of the cliffs.

HISTORY:In 1814 William Cox was commissioned by Governor Macquarie to cut a road from Emu Plains to Bathurst, a distance of 160 km. As part of this project Cox had to cut a descent pass from Mt. York to the (Cox’s) river. Cox and his team COMPLETED THE ROAD FROM EMU FORD TO BATHURST to Macquarie’s specifications in SIX MONTHS!
Once the road had been cut, Macquarie and his entourage travelled along it in 1815. When they arrived at Cox’s Pass, they had to get out of the carriages and walk down the steep incline to the base, as we still do today.
Cox’s Road continued on to Bathurst, and it is still possible to follow sections of it.

The sign pointing to the pass which Governor Macquarie descended in 1815

In 1821, Pierce Collits gained permission to take his cattle to the Cox’s River, west of the Blue Mountains. After this trip, he wrote to Governor Macquarie saying that he had found a site ideal for building an Inn. The governor gave Collits a grant of 200 acres of land at the foot of Cox’s Pass. There are records of Pierce building the Inn in 1822, but the first mention of anyone seeing the building is not until November 1823. The Inn is also mentioned in March 1824, as “The Golden Fleece”.

HARTLEY AND HARTLEY VALE When the Victoria Pass road was completed in 1832, the doorway to the west was open and settlement in Hartley, at the base of the hill, began in earnest. The next 50 years saw Hartley grow into a bustling township surrounded by churches, a post office, stage couch facilities, and inns. Unfortunately, Hartley was by-passed by the railway and, over a period, fell into disuse. Luckily, today we are left with a remarkable remnant of a town largely unchanged since the mid-nineteenth century.

Map of walking Route on the Cox's Pass Walk from Mt York to Hartley Vale

ITINERARY for Cox's Pass Walk - 8 km

  • WHERE TO START: Mt. York car park.
  • HOW TO GET THERE: By car. You will need to do a car shuffle, or retrace your steps to the top of Mt. York.
  • WHEN TO GO: We recommend all year round, but it does get hot in summer, so take your sun hat. You may like to wear sturdy walking shoes or boots for this walk, as the ground is rocky in places.
  • FACILITIES:There is accommodation, food and rest rooms at the village of Mount Victoria.
    There are rest rooms at Mt York. At the bottom of the pass you can get refreshments at the Comet Inn.
  • FOOD & WATER: Take at least one litre per person and some snacks in case you get hungry.
  • WALKING GEAR: Weather: can change at anytime, so pack appropriate wet weather gear, sun hat and glasses.
  • THE WALK: 8 kms of walk down a pass in the Blue Mountains.
  • Half Day. From Mt. York car park explore the variety of memorials to all famous personages involved with the crossing of the Blue Mountains. Take a seat on the explorer's chair and have a look at the view across the west of the mountains. Follow the path down to the fence and follow it till you arrive at the track head sign. turn left for Collit's Inn or right for Comet inn. If you have left a car here, you can leave easily. Otherwise retrace your steps to Mt. York.
Our Take:
This is an historic walk dating from our colonial era. You can walk in the footsteps of the pioneers who made their way towards Bathurst.