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  • Writer's pictureOut and About

Glen Brook Walk Trail - John Forrest National Park

Updated: Apr 28

This blog was originally written for the 2km loop trail around the dam but in August 2023 park management extended this trail with a 2.5km trail up the gully beyond the dam. The new 4.5km trail has been renamed the Glen Brook Walk Trail and we have now included the extension in this blog. You can choose to walk the shorter loop around the dam or extend to the more challenging hike beyond the dam.


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 $17 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 not always manned but is worth a stop to pick up a trail map. There is also a large trail map of the park near the Ranger Station.

The Glen Brook Walk Trail is a 4.5 km loop and is best walked 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 lower part of the trail is a wide compacted path but there are stairs to negotiate. Beyond the fairy house the trail narrows as it climbs gently alongside the trickling brook for the first 10 minutes or so. 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!

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 of the dam the trail splits and you choose whether to continue around the dam on the 2km loop or to take the extended hike which eases it's way up the side of the steep gully with several switchbacks making it a little easier on the legs! . As you climb the gully there are several impressive granite outcrops.

At the highest point you have an amazing view back down the valley and across John Forrest National Park. You will pass a very unique rock formation before starting the descent back to the top end of the dam.

Climb the stairs to resume the loop around the dam. 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 reach the end of 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 short walk around the dam at a gentle pace with a few stops took about 40 minutes and the extended walk about 75 minutes.

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 along the brook 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.

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