Yileen Canyon

Mandy, Tal, Garry, Tom and me

Yileen is a traditional aboriginal boys name that means either ‘dream like’, ‘to dream’, or, ‘a dream’. Yileen Canyon, on the other hand, is a dreamy little canyon on the northern rim of the Grose valley accessed off the Bells Line of rd.


Crystal clear water and lush green moss

The canyons in this part of the Grose tend to be less sustained, deep or adventurous as those found a little closer to Sydney in the Claustral/Thunder group or just over the road near Mt Wilson/Wollangambe area so they tend to be a bit less popular. With this in mind I was a little surprised at how well worn the trail in to Yileen was, but I get ahead of myself.

Edwin couldn’t make this one. Meggs and Ben were coming but had been struck down with some form of pox or plague or black death or something and Bryson’s knee had swollen to the size of a small planet from chasing chicks around the playground or somesuch. A couple of others failed to commit. With them dropping out and the late inclusion of Tom we went from having a group bordering on too big to a good size canyon party.

It was another lazy trip to help encourage Mandy back into it.We left town at 8:30 and headed up to meet up with Tom at the drop off point at 9am.

It was good to meet finally meet Tom in person. We knew each other through the old ozcanyons forum and I’d stalked him on facebook in the years where I hadn’t done a great deal of canyoning. He, on the other hand, had done a heap and he’d also built a nice little webpage ( ozultimate ) with photos, reports and trip details which has become the go to site for canyoners looking for information on the more popular canyons and bush walks.

Anyhoo, after a quick meet and greet we organise the car shuffle by dropping my car at the Pierces Pass car park to save on a  deal of walking at the end.

Between us I think we had enough rope to span the Grose valley and set a zip line to Blackheath so we rationalise, taking my 2 50ms, as they were in the bottom of our packs, for the big drop at the end and Gaz’s 30m for the smaller drops, leaving Tom to have a break from being rope hauler for a trip.

As I started saying earlier the canyons in this part of the world tend to be more creeks with short, shallow canyon sections along them and as such they tend to be over looked a bit. I think Yileen gets a little more attention because of the allure of the long abseil out the end but it is a nice little canyon in it’s own right.

The walk in was quiet pleasant, some nice views over the cliff lines of the Grose as you wind your way along the ridges before dropping down into Yileen crk. I’d read a report where the group had trouble navigating in and so I had pretty much memorised the map. The trail matched what I was expecting so without fuss we found our way in with out pausing to check map and compass.

The first canyon section starts not far in and I have to say it is quiet pretty.



A couple of tricky climb downs break up some easier walk-through chambers



And then we get to the first listed abseil. The water is so clear it’s hard to describe and with such a good view of the bottom that is clear of obstacles we opt to leave the ropes in the bags and jump. Scrambling down a bit it is only a drop of 4 or 5m but its a bit of fun.

More canyon formation follows. The canyon sections in Yileen certainly arn’t as patchy as it’s near by neighbors, it’s reasonably sustained with some nice dark sections

©Garry Dukes
©Garry Dukes
© Garry Dukes


There was some discussion on whether the next abseil could be down climbed, the first bits looked easy enough but then it disappeared from view under a chock stone and it was hard to tell. We decide to rope up. It’s a nice little drop into a darkish slot. Looking back up stream it’s still hard to say whether or not it would go as a down climb. It’s fairly dark and looks slippery…. I think it could be possible. A single glowworm was seen in the darkness.

Belaying Tal down the 8m drop

Any way we continue down and just around the corner the canyon opens out.

©Garry Dukes

A short boulder hop brings us to the bit Yileen is renown for, a 50m drop beside a small water fall into the the Grose Valley. There are a couple of anchors obvious. One is a complicated set up that looks to put you down through the falls themselves. It has the look of a commercial set up. The other puts you beside the falls but looks to have an easier start and looks less likely to cause trouble when we pull the ropes down, I opt for that one.

Explaining the set up to Tal. ©Garry Dukes
And Tal is away  ©Garry Dukes

The idea of a big abseil is always more romantic than the practicality of a big abseil. The weight of the ropes below you adds friction to the system so you tend to fight your way down the first half, lifting the weight of the rope and feeding it through your device. By the time you can run a bit freer your arms and shoulders are feeling the burn.

This one was no exception. Still the views were a little bit nice.


Mandy about half way down
Tal near the bottom
Again the pool at the bottom was so clear. Soooooo clear

There was one more small drop. Someone had installed rap bolts but it was an odd spot to put them, made the start plain awkward and nearly every one had a bit of a slip going over the edge. From there is was an easy walk across to Pierces Pass and hence up to the car.

A quick 1/2 day trip but one I’d happily do again.

Party size: 5

Time: 4.5hr car to car. plenty of photo faffing and a stop for lunch.

Did I say clear water?

This ones video is a bit ruff and ready but….



External Link: Tom’s photos of the trip

One thought on “Yileen Canyon

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