Minnehaha Falls is located in the Katoomba, Blue Mountains. Katoomba is one of the major tourist attractions in the Blue Mountains and Sydney area. Mountains, cliffs, lookouts, waterfalls, skyways and tourist trails—all of these are located just next to each other and suitable for all kinds of visitors.
This walk for Minnehaha Falls is approximately 2.5km return and takes about an hour. It starts from the car park at the end of minni ha ha rd in Katoomba. Like all the good trails, you can struggle to get a parking spot during peak season. Street parking is also available. The track to Minnehaha Falls starts at the north end of Minni Ha Ha Road and runs along the east side of Yosemite Creek through a reserve that supports woodland vegetation near the ridge tops and heath on shallow sandy soils in exposed parts
Swimming is permitted in the water ways and this trail provides great opportunities for children to get wet in the shallow fairy pools along the way. The fairy pools are located at the beginging of the hike and close to the picnic area, featuring a picnic tables and a swing. If you’re planning on taking children, be mindful that this hike is steep.
This hike features steep stairs with steel ladders and handrails (well built) – pack water!
The swimming hole as the base of Minnehaha falls is deep and clear – perfect for jumping in to cool off. There is a platform you can jump off or swing on the rope. Pack a picnic lunch and eat besides the waterfall – remember to take all rubbish with you when you leave.
Note: the Minnehaha falls walk is currently closed by the blue mountains council due to safety risks relating to the instability of a rock overhang. You can check the current status here.
- From the Great Western Highway Katoomba turn onto Civic Plaza, then
- Turn left to the Station Street and
- Follow Victoria Street until South Street, where you need to turn right
- Finally, turn left onto Minni Ha Ha Road and drive until you reach a small car park.
Historical Notes (extracted from: https://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/)
Longfellow made a deep impression on Victorian readers with his description of the dark-eyed and shapely daughter of the ‘ancient arrow-maker’:
‘From the water-fall he named her,
Minnehaha, Laughing Water’.
She much affected the adolescent Hiawatha, who halted in the land of the Dacotahs:
‘Was it not to see the maiden,
See the face of Laughing Water
Peeping from behind the curtain,
Hear the rustling of her garments
From behind the waving curtain,
As one sees the Minnehaha
Gleaming, glancing through the branches,
As one hears the Laughing Water
From behind its screen of branches?’
The falls in North Katoomba were named after Laughing Water by a Longfellow admirer in 1889 (Katoomba Times, 13 July 1889). The area around Minnehaha Falls was owned in the 1890s by an American company called The Assets Realization and General Finance. Co. Ltd. There was as a result an awareness of the splendours of Yosemite National Park, the first reserve of its sort in the world, established in California in 1890, so the perennial watercourse which created Minnehaha Falls was named Yosemite Creek. (Fox, Upper Blue Mountains Geographical Encyclopaedia, 117, 174; Woods, Yellow Rock to Green Gully, 112,
The present track along the east side of Yosemite Creek to the Minnehaha Falls was constructed in 1894, when Minni Ha Ha Road was probably also named, and soon afterwards, in October 1895, the area of 18.6 hectares along the creek, including the falls, was gazetted as a Recreation Reserve. The track was improved in 1903 by John Cliff. (Fox, 116; Woods, 112; Woods, Street Whys, 74)
Recently the Minnehaha Falls Landcare Group has erected admirable signage at the southern end of the track