History of the Six Foot Track

The Six Foot Track was planned as a shortcut to Jenolan Caves. At the time, visitors to the caves travelled by train to Mt Victoria or Tarana. In 1879, Tarana became the only town on the railway from which it was possible to take a coach all the way to the caves, a monopoly which it enjoyed for ten years. Seeing this valuable traffic passing them by, Katoomba moved to establish a bridle trail to the caves. It was hoped that it would later be upgraded to carry horse-drawn coaches. (An upgrade commenced in the 1960's, from Katoomba to the Megalong Valley, turned into a fiasco and achieved nothing.)

The route was surveyed by William Cooper and party in 1884. Existing tracks were used where possible, including, it is said, brumby (wild horse) trails. The trail, marked by calico strips, was negotiated by various parties during the construction of the bridle track.

The first recorded passage of the completed bridle track from Katoomba to Jenolan was by the governor, Lord Carrington, in September 1887.

Whilst little of the original bridle track remains, the route remains open to walkers as "The Six Foot Track".

By the 1930's, lack of maintenance had resulted in the track no longer being suitable for bridle use. Compiling the 1937 military map of the area, Major Clews chose to apply the name Six Foot Track, referring to the original tender specification for a width of six feet. The name is said to have been in oral use, locally, for some years before.

The track was reopened in 1984, following reconstruction work. Some of the track passes through a World Heritage listed area - the part within Jenolan Caves Reserve. The annual Six Foot Marathon which also started in 1984 attracts a crowd of entrants, and quickly separates the merely fit from the seriously fit!