Butterbox Canyon is a canyon for those looking for a bit more of an edge to their adventures! This canyon has it all – 7 challenging abseils, rock jumps from up to 8m, rock climbing and spectacular uninterrupted views on the exit trail. You don’t need experience for this one, however you do need to be fit.
This is a big day out – don’t expect to get home early.
Mount Hay has been a beacon for the adventurous since the earliest days of white settlement. Its 945m basalt-capped dome summit is a distinctive landmark when you gaze westward from Sydney to the Blue Mountains. The very first European expedition into the mountains in 1789 had Mount Hay as its goal, but it failed like so many others due to the ultra-rugged terrain. But today, far more of an adventure than the ascent of Mount Hay is the descent into the legendary canyon on its flanks. Butterbox Canyon is one of the great adventure challenges of the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.
A grand and spectacular chasm, the canyon boasts a succession of awesome abseils and water jumps. The highlight of the canyon is two ~20 meter abseils into the deepest, darkest part of the slot canyon. The second abseil is from a giant chock-stone wedged between the canyon walls into the waterfall below.
The canyon concludes with a steep hike out featuring stunning views of the Grose Valley and an adrenalin-pumping, short rock climb on an exposed sandstone cliff high above the valley floor.
Make no mistake this canyon is a challenge, but boy is it worth it!
Is this canyon for me?
Difficulty: Requires a good level of fitness. The exit involves uphill hiking with a pack and a small rock climb. No previous canyoning/abseiling experience required, however you must be able to answer yes to the following questions:
- Can you swim short distances/ are you comfortable in water?
- Do you exercise regularly and/or have a physically active job?
- Are you in good shape and/or have good stamina?
- Are you capable of walking up steep inclines and on rocky and uneven terrain, while carrying a pack, for an extended period of time?
Length: Approximately 8-9 hours
Availability: September to mid June.
Included: Lunch, all canyoning equipment, qualified canyoning guide, safety instruction including on abseiling techniques.
Meeting location: Corner of Mt Hay Rd and Britan St, Leura.
Arriving by train? Pickup from nearby Leura Train Station can be requested when booking.
Why is this my favourite canyon to guide?
1. Client satisfaction. The first time I guided Butterbox an English backpacker said to me that this was the best thing he had done in a 5 month Australian East Coast trip. He said it was better than skydiving Mission Beach, better than rafting down the Tulley River, better than sailing on the Whitsundays and better than diving the Great Barrier Reef.
2. A true sense of adventure. Your hands will shake before you take on the 8m narrow water jump, your heart will race as you abseil down onto the famous chock stone only to find out your in for another long dark waterfall abseil and you will soil your pants as you conquer the epic rock climb 200m above the valley floor.
3. Variety. The canyon starts with sub-temperate rainforest hiking then quickly descends into a narrow constriction. The steep, perfectly carved sandstone walls only allow a small amount of light to filter through. The canyon then opens out and allows the sun to accompany us for lunch. If you finish your lunch early you can practice your rock jumps into the deep pool.
4. You finish on a high. Many canyons in the Blue Mountains have long old hikes back to the car when the canyon has finished. The exit from Butterbox is a key part to this adventure. The track is on a cliff edge – traverse lines are required to protect you from a 200m fall into the valley below. The rock climb is technically easy but will push you to your limit. The fear felt from the 200m sheer drop below you should not be underestimated. Wild grasses dominate the final part of the exit track. This allows for uninterrupted views of the Grose Valley, Mount Tomah, Mount Bell and Mount Banks.
There are a few great spots just to sit down, drink some water, take group photos and reflect on the day. This is a truly action packed adventure that you will remember for the rest of your life.