Tracks - Federal Pass
|Track Type||1||Maintained tourist track.|
|Vertical||100m (with many undulations)|
Federal Pass was constructed in 1900 and paid for by Public subscription. It was opened on the 3rd Nov 1900 by NSW Premier Lynne. Originally the pass connected Leura Forest with the Giant Stairway, Katoomba Falls, the scenic railway and what became the Landslide area. In 1936 it was expanded to include the old horse drawn tramway route which runs out to the Ruined Castle. The first walk along the route (Leura Forest to what became the Scenic railway) was completed by Rev Scott Fletcher and Mr Diews after the construction of the Fern Bower and Lilla & Linda falls tracks in 1893-4.1
Cooks Crossing, located where the pass crosses Katoomba Creek, is named for Joseph Cook (1860-1947) who had a long association with the Blue Mountains. He worked as a miner in Lithgow before representing the state seat of Hartley 1891-1901 and the Federal seat of Parramatta and Prime Minister 1913-14.2
Leura Forest is filled with tall turpentine trees, lillipillis and coachwoods. These provide dense shade, food and shelter for many animals. The abundance of water, cool shade and deep soils provide ideal conditions for the many ferns and other rainforest plants. Picnicers have been using the forest since the 1890s. It is sometimes known as Lady Carrington's Dining Hall. Trestles were constructed here in 1894 and the first gazebo 'teahouse' in 1900.
- Golden Stairs
- Furber Steps
- Landslide Gully
- Giant Staircase / Dardenelles Pass
- Leura Cascades / Fern Bower
- Lindeman Pass
- Mt Solitary Track
Map: Katoomba & Jamison
Federal Pass starts at the south-east corner of Leuar Forest. The track is signposted and in good condition. It paralells Dardenelles Pass but lower down the slope. The track heads south and around the end of the Three Sisters meeting up with Dardenelles Pass on the western side. Echo point lookouts can be glimpsed through the trees as you head towards a crossing of Katoomba Creek. At Katoomba Creek (where there is a picnic table), a boulder scramble up the creek to the bottom of Katoomba Falls is well worth the effort.
The track continues at an easy grade all the way to the bottom of the Furber Steps and shortly to the scenic railway. After passing the mine entrances and then the display of mining artifacts the continuation of the track is easy to miss as the larger track branches off to the Scenic World nature walk. A short way along you can see old wire cables across the track. These are remnants of the aerial cableway used to transport shael from the Ruined Castle mines in the 19th century.
After rounding the end of Malaita point the track winds its way through the Landslide which broke off in the 1920s. Care must be taken as the track has never really been re-established and is rough and eroded in many places. The track take a turn to the south as each reached Narrow Neck. At this point the careful observer will glimpse the entrance to Renie's Tunnel. Rennie's Tunnel was created for the tramway which hauled shale from the Megalong valley across to what is now the scenic railway. The track from this point follows the path of the Katoomba Mining company's horse-drwan tramway built in the 1880's to service mines around the Ruined Castle. Closer to the Ruined Castle, to the east of the track, the remains of some of the miners homesteads can be found. The tram way originally linked up with the tramway which linked the Scenic Railway with the mines on the other side of Narrow Neck through two tunnels. The first under Malaita Point which it is believed to have collapsed and caused the dog face to collapse in the 1920s, becoming The Landslide. The second under Narrow Neck, known as Rennies Tunnel.
Previous to the 2019 bushfies there were toilet facilities at the Ruined Castle end but they may not hae survived the fires.
Federal Pass finishes where it re-meets the Ruined Castle track. The continuing track up Mt Solitary is called Korrowall Pass.