Glen Brook Dam Trail - John Forrest National Park
Updated: Sep 17, 2020
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 was plenty of parking available even though some of the car parks were undergoing redevelopment. 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 Falls in one direction or Hovea Falls in the other direction. The falls can also be accessed on bush trails.
If you have older kids and you enjoy this trail try the 11km Christmas Tree Creek Trail which is amazing in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.