EDIT - In August 2023 Park management realigned some of the trails In John Forrest National Park. Glen Brook Dam Trail has been realigned and can now be hiked as a 2km loop around the dam or an extended 4.5km loop extending beyond the dam. This blog covers the old trail which is closer to the 2km loop. The longer loop is yet to be explored!
It was a sunny winter's day after a wet week so we headed to John Forrest National Park to get out into some fresh air, sunshine and nature. On entering the National Park you will need to stop at the station to pay your $15 per car entry fee. Sometimes a ranger will be at the booth but if it is not manned the machine will accept credit cards only. If you have already got a National Parks Pass you can drive straight through but remember to display your pass.
There is plenty of parking available although the early bird gets the closest parking bay! There are also plenty of barbecues and picnic benches scattered around. Some are out in the open, others are tucked away into cosy corners. There are also some gazebo shelters. A public toilet is located opposite the Rangers Office. The Rangers Office is no longer manned but is worth a stop to pick up a trail map. There is also a large trail map of the park near the top picnic area by the brook.
The Glen Brook Trail is a 2.2km loop and is best taken in an anti-clockwise direction. There are some steps, narrow trails and slippery surfaces. There are a couple of entrance points near the toilet block.
The first part of the trail is a metre wide compacted path but there are stairs and some inclines to negotiate. You follow along the trickling brook for the first 10 minutes or so and there are plenty of inviting spaces for the kids to explore along the brook including little stone bridges, fairy houses, logs, rocks, reeds and mud! There are a few benches along the way so you can stop and watch the kids as they explore!
After a little while the trail narrows and starts to climb through the beautiful bush. You can hear plenty of birds but they are very difficult to spot. After a while you come out at the dam with it's sparkling clear water. This is a no swimming zone. The path then becomes narrower as you circumnavigate the dam. In some places you can access the sandy shoreline of the dam and peer into the clear waters. In others the path diverts into the forest providing tantalizing glimpses of the dam through the trees. At the top end of the dam you cross over a wooden bridge and climb up the other side. When we walked past there were some red tailed black cockatoos feeding in the trees It was a bit of a risk getting through the drop zone as the birds cause a surprisingly constant deluge of gumnuts to drop down from above.
Some of the plants were just starting to show flower buds so in Spring this would be an amazing wildflower walk. We must have been the first walkers through that morning as we had to do the cobweb commando in a few places as the sunlight glinted off the spider webs strung across the path between the bushes.
When you come back to the road across the dam the path continues past a big rock - a perfect place to stop for a snack and a drink - before continuing through the forest and back to the car park area. The walk at a gentle pace with a few stops took about 40 minutes.
As the trail circles the dam this is a great trail to tackle on your own as there is no danger of getting lost as the trail is well marked, the dam provides a constant reference and the road runs close by as well.
The trail is narrow and not suited to prams or bikes but is an ideal adventure for the kids, especially if you let them explore the rocks and logs on the lower section below the dam. There is a small nature playground in the main picnic area and you can also walk Jane Brook Promenade or the Railway Reserve Heritage Trail to Swan View Tunnel. The Railway Reserve Heritage Trail is great for prams or bikes and will take you to National Park Falls in one direction or Hovea Falls in the other direction. The falls can also be accessed as a side trip on the Wildflower Walk Trail.
If you have older kids and you enjoy this trail try new 7km Little Eagle Trail. The 11km Christmas Tree Creek Trail has been closed.
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In the spirit of reconciliation Out and About- Family Nature Connection acknowledges the traditional owners of the Wadjak boodjar (Perth land) and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past and present and emerging and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
As always when hiking in the bush please help to reduce the spread of Phytophthora Dieback by sticking to the tracks and paths, staying out of quarantined areas and, if possible, clean your shoes before and after hiking. A spray of 70% methylated spirit and 30% water can be effective.