Federal Pass

  • Federal Pass: Main Federal Pass half way down cliffs - © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: Blue Mts from Wentworth falls area - © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: Wentworth Falls - © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: Wentworth falls - © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy
  • Federal Pass: © William Mackesy

Key information: Federal Pass

  • The huge sandstone cliffs around Blackheath are justly famous, with their wide views across the forested Blue Mountains which fade into a distant blue haze.
  • This trail follows the narrow ledge half way down that winds for several dramatic, vertiginous miles around the vagaries of the rockface to a cool, clear pool below the beautiful Wentworth falls.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating81
  • Beauty33
  • Natural interest16
  • Human interest2
  • Charisma32
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating81
  • Note: Crowds at the falls, and queues at the steps.

Vital Statistics

  • Length: 3hrs
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Strenuous
Federal Pass: © William Mackesy


In the heart of the mountains, the spectacular Wentworth Falls plunge into the Jamison Valley over sheer, giddy cliffs. A thin layer of claystone half way up the local cliffs have eroded quicker than the surrounding sandstone, resulting in an extraordinary ledge which runs for miles along the middle of the cliff, often overhung where now unsupported sections of the tougher sandstone have yet to crash into the valley below. Along this ledge runs the remarkable Federal Pass track.

The track descends through dense dry woodland into a narrow chasm at the head of the Valley of the Waters. A long series of steps, at times rock hewn, at others metal suspended over thin air, leads down into the darkness.

The Federal Pass track alternates between starkly exposed and heavily vegetated sections. At one point we crouched uncomfortably through a narrow passage of low overhang. Further on, we sidled over slippery stones behind a waterfall, its fine spray wafted like (diamonds) in the gentle breeze. You enter a huge, irregular horseshoe of cliffs.

The trees become lusher, ferns appear, and you emerge under the Wentworth Falls in their deep corner of the cliff.

A long haul up a grand fissure in the cliff face, steep steps cut from the living rock gets you to the top of the falls.

Other accounts: share your experiences

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Federal Pass: Wentworth falls - © William Mackesy

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Federal Pass: Blue Mts from Wentworth falls area - © William Mackesy

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Federal Pass: Wentworth Falls - © William Mackesy...

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