We Perthlings are pretty darn lucky to be surrounded by an amazing range of hills, full of bushland and forest, amazing rock formations and even a few waterfalls, creeks and dams. The Perth Hills and Swan Valley are brimming with amazing walks and hikes, just waiting to be discovered.
What better way to explore all that our beautiful surrounds have to offer (and well and truly get your week’s exercise in, too) than to pull up your socks, throw on your backpack and take to the Hills for a walk in the bush? None, we say. So bookmark this list for the next time the group chat gets hit with the inevitable ‘we should do a hike in the Hills this weekend'.
Here are all the best walks and hikes in the Perth hills.
Hiking at least part of the Bibbulmun Track is pretty much obligatory for anyone living in Perth. It stretches 900km all the way down to Albany, but the closest section—from its Northern Terminus at Kalamunda to the Mundaring Weir—is also conveniently one of the most beautiful. Continue down to the Golden View Lookout to enjoy amazing Jarrah and Marri trees and a good covering of flora in spring.
Bells Rapid Walk Trail
An easy 2.5km loop, the Bells Rapids Walk Trail is best undertaken in the winter months when the waters of the Swan River below rush through the large boulders of Bells Rapids. This is known for being one of the best vantage points to spectate the Avon Descent, but also makes for a great afternoon walk for those seeking a soft introduction to the whole bushwalking thing.
For something a bit more on the challenging side of things, the Echidna Trail is an 11km loop trail that sets off basically at the point where the Swan River turns into the Avon River, taking you along the water’s edge and then up a rather steep incline through the woodlands of the Walyunga National Park. Expect abundant wildflowers in late winter and spring.
The Kep Track
Following the old rail formations that run between Mundaring and Northam, the Kep Track lends itself to a variety of uses. Hikes can take a couple of hours, horse owners can go further for a solid bush outing, or make the whole 75km on a multiple day cycling journey.
Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
Retrace the old Eastern Railway by going for a walk along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, through the beautiful John Forrest National Park. There’s 59km of track to choose from, but the section from Bellevue (or Swan View, if you want to shorten it a bit) up to Parkerville is only about 8km, and the combination of gorgeous forest land and quaint hills communities is pretty darn beautiful.
Araluen Botanic Garden Walks
For lovers of flora, the walks through the stunning Araluen Botanic Garden are quite something, and they also happen to be pretty much as easy as it gets. There are a few different trails to choose from, the longest of which is 3km, taking you through the undeveloped bushland of the park. The Three Bridges Walk is a nice alternative to walk off a lunch: at just 1km in length, the trail follows Stinton Creek and at the right time of year, showcases gorgeous daffodils. The 600m Heritage Walk is more interactive, so you can learn about the flowers in the park and even check out some amazing heritage buildings.
Syd’s Rapids And Aboriginal Heritage Trails
Situated within the Walyunga National Park, the area surrounding Syd’s Rapids offers two trails for the price of one. In summer, Syd’s Rapids look more like placid rockpools, but in winter the rocks creating rushing torrents. Walk just 5.2km up to see the rapids, and then complete the 1.2km Aboriginal Heritage Trail, which will give you an insight into the rich Noongar connection to the Walyunga National Park. Talk about a great way to spend the day. Also, at the end of winter and spring, this trail is known as a great place to see wildflowers.
Perth Hills Eagle View Walk
This one’s 15km long, but it’s totally worth it because you loop the entire John Forest National Park, passing creeks, brooks and waterfalls, as well as wildflower displays at the right time of year. You’re immersed in pretty dense forest for most of the hike, but at its highest points, the trail offers sweeping views of the Swan Coastal Plain, the CBD and even the ocean if you squint.
One of the more spectacular waterfalls on the Darling Range escarpment, Lesmurdie Falls is definitely worth a visit, even if it's often busy. We recommend parking in the Lower Lesmurdie Falls Carpark off Palm Terrace, so you can take the longer walk from the base of the brook up to the viewing deck at the top of the Falls, which provides epic views out over the western horizon, all the way to Rottnest on a clear day. There are pretty decent picnic spots at either end too, so you can make a day of it.
Mount Dale Walk Trail
For panoramic views of the Darling Scarp itself, take the Mount Dale Walk Trail up to the peak of Mount Dale. It’s a relatively easy 2.5km loop that takes you through beautiful Jarrah forest and rewards your efforts with unparalleled views of neighbouring Mount Cooke, surrounding forest and nearby farmlands.
Noble Falls Walk Trail
The Noble Falls Walk Trail is an easy 3.5km track that loops around the beautiful Wooroloo Brook. The trail offers beautiful sights all year round, but it’s especially good in late winter when the wildflowers begin to emerge and the falls are in full swing. It’s dog-friendly, but that’s not even the best part. You also end up directly opposite the Noble Falls Tavern. Did someone say chicken parmi?
For the wildflower die-hards, a walk through Wandoo Heights is one of the best. On a moderately easy 3km track, you can see Bull Banksia, Kangaroo Paw, Everlastings and a variety of Orchids. It’s a controlled access walk trail, so permission has to be sought from the City of Swan to undertake it—but it’s worth going to the extra effort.
Whiteman Park Walk Trails
Whiteman Park offers three walking trails, and you can experience a bunch of different sights and scents on all of them. One follows Bennett Brook and meanders through partially cleared, quaint farmland and gumtrees, while the other two take things up a notch and head through bird-heavy wetlands and woodlands respectively. This is a great place to take in the diversity of our native environment: admire the beautiful Jarrah, Marri, Banksia and Wattle of our Coastal Plain bushland, as well as low-lying flowering shrubs, and swamps.
Want more? Here are Perth's best walks and hikes.
Image credit: TrailsWA