Mount Banks Summit Walk
Mount Banks, with its distinctive rounded peak, is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the greater Blue Mountains region.
Often overlooked by tourists, the hike to the summit of Mt Banks offers beautiful views of the surrounding area, a part of the Blue Mountains that is still a bit undiscovered.
- Distance: 2.5 km (return) / 4.6 km (circuit)
- Time: 1-2 hours / 2-3 hours
- Grade: moderate (short but steep)
- Elevation: 1,049 m
- Dogs: not allowed
The Mount Banks summit walk starts at the Mount Banks picnic area which has a small car park and toilet facilities.
From Bells Line of Road, turn into Mount Banks Rd at the big signpost. Mount Banks Rd is a 1km unsealed dirt road, but can be conquered by a normal 2WD vehicle.
Mount Banks Rd is located 10km west of the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden in Mount Tomah and 28km east of Lithgow.
Mount Banks Summit Walk
Hiking to the summit of Mount Banks can be done in two ways. One track roughly follows the cliff edge all the way to the top, while the other follows Mount Banks Rd.
The first option is the shortest and most scenic walking track but it is also very steep. The second option is a bit longer, is not as steep but doesn’t offer the best views.
You can also combine the two walks and turn it into a circuit trail. The intersection of the two walking tracks is clearly signposted just before the top of the mountain.
Please note that the signpost at the car park is a bit confusing. If you’re choosing the shorter walking track to the summit, you will need to look for the path that starts behind the big rock.
With an elevation of 1,049 metres, Mount Banks is an iconic mountain peak located within the Explorers Range of the Blue Mountains region, along the northern escarpment of the Grose Valley.
Millions of years ago, large parts of what is now the Blue Mountains region was covered with volcanic lava flows resulting in layers of basalt. While erosion has removed most of these layers, in some places the basalt has remained.
Mount Banks is one of those peaks where the basalt is still present, creating a fertile soil that supports a rich vegetation different from other parts of the Blue Mountains. This is why the summit of Mt Banks is populated with a thick forest.
Sir Joseph Banks
The mountain was named after Sir Joseph Banks by George Caley, an English botanist and explorer and the first European settler to reach the Mt Banks summit in 1804.
Joseph Banks was an English naturalist and botanist who employed George Caley as a botanical collector in New South Wales at the end of the 18th century.
Standing on top of Mount Banks may be a bit of a disillusion. There are no 360 degree views as one would typically expect to enjoy on top of a mountain, such as at the Mount Kosciuszko summit.
The top of Mt Banks is very different. It is actually covered with a tall, thriving forest of monkey gums, with a triangulation station erected in the centre.
So hiking to the summit of Mt Banks is about the achievement, not so much about the amazing views from the top.
Having said that, the views along the way to the summit are absolutely beautiful, and show a different side of the Blue Mountains where not many tourists go.
Wildlife also thrives at Mount Banks, with wombats, mountain goats and lots of different types of birds claiming this area as their home.
Park your car at the small car park at the Mount Banks picnic area. From Bells Line of Road, turn into Mount Banks Rd at the big signpost.
Please note that Mount Banks Rd is a 1km unsealed road, but can be easily managed by a normal 2WD vehicle.