Rocky Pool Walk - Kalamunda National Park
Rocky Pool is a fabulous place to visit but there is some confusion on the best way to get there. This trail is called the Rocky Pool Walk and it does go to Rocky Pool by way of a 5km loop from Spring Road in Kalamunda. It is a long way around and there are shorter options listed below.
We were following the trail notes published by the Shire of Kalamunda but have found these confusing in the past and this time was no different as we "lost" the trail at some point and found ourselves on the Hill Street Walk in Gooseberry Hill. Fortunately we had walked this trail on a previous occasion and with the help of google maps we were able to figure out how to hike back and return to the Rocky Pool Walk Trail and this time we took the side trail down the valley which is not part of the official trail.
There is street side parking along Spring Road in Kalamunda but it is a residential street. With our Shire of Kalamunda Trail notes to hand we set off turning left and hiking uphill which seemed odd as Rocky Pool is downhill and to the east of Spring Road. The trail is wide but quite rough and steep as it climbs before curving around providing great views across the valley to some rocks which are possibly the rocks we climbed on the Schipp Road Walk.
The trail descends to a small water course and we splashed through the rivulets coursing across the trail which do make the trail quite slippery. As we were looking along the stream for the frogs we could hear some other hikers passed us by and headed down a small side trail to the right. This didn't seem to be indicated on our map and as we saw the blue trail marker for this trail pointing along the fire trail we continued to hike along the wider trail.
This section is 1.3km long as it winds uphill through lovely bush and some early wildflowers (July). We were fairly sure we were on the right trail as there were several blue trail markers along the way. Eventually we crested the hill for more gorgeous views across the valley. At the crest we encountered some mountain bike riders as this area has lots of mountain bike trails.
The map said to leave the main track and take a branch to the right at a large cut log to the right of the track. We found the log in a tree and a trail marker but then found ourselves on a bike track - the bikers are pretty fast but stopped in time to let us know we were on a bike trail not a hiking trail so we backed up and continued along the fire trail.
Eventually we came to an intersection and recognised that we had hiked here on the Hill Street Walk - which also has blue arrow trail markers so that explains some of our confusion. The distances aren't great in this park so we decided to head back along the Hill Street Walk passing behind the houses as on Google Maps we could see where a side trail from this walk heads back towards the Rocky Pool Walk Trail. This is the red section on the map below. Looking at it later we worked out that where we turned left towards Gooseberry Hill we should have turned right and followed that trail. On the map it appears to call this trail Schipp Road but we are none the wiser about this section even though we walked along Schipp Road after finally getting to Rocky Pool, trying to work out where the Rocky Pool Walk Trail emerges onto Shipp Road. This section will remain a mystery until we hike it again.
So we diverted behind Gooseberry Hill and then took the unmarked fire trail heading back into the valley and soon emerged at the water course where we had heard the frogs - they were still croaking! This time we ventured down the narrow side trail. This is not a formal trail as it has no trail markers and was a little overgrown and very rough in some places but it was passable and eventually emerges on to Schipp Road.
Happy to finally get to Schipp Road we walked the short distance to Rocky Pool. There were a few people about, some kids leaping about the rocks and some young men going for a swim in the freezing water - crazy!
Heading back along Schipp Road for about 400 metres we turned onto the well marked Bibbulmun Track section which follows the watercourse back up the valley. We had hiked this section on the Schipp Road Walk as it forms part of that trail. This is still rocky, steep and challenging but it is in good condition as it follows the brook upstream.
At the top where the narrow trail intersects a wider trail we left the Bibbulmun Track and headed to the right - left takes you up into Jorgensen Park on the Bibbulmun. A few hundred metres up hill and we were back at Spring Road.
Even in July there were wildflowers out - not masses but enough to keep us interested.
It didn't really matter that we lost the trail and had to detour as the distances within the park are quite small and we could use Google Maps to support the knowledge we already had of the area. But not everyone has the knowledge or the time to divert so trails should be well marked and have a clear map.
The photos below are from our continuation along Schipp Road which has steep rough sections as you hike out of the Piesse Brook Valley and into Helena Valley. Funnily we had walked this section many years earlier when we were trying to hike Schipp Road Walk but couldn't locate the trail where it diverts from Shipp Road.
So my suggestions for viewing Rocky Pool:
Take the Piesse Brook Interpretive Trail which follows Schipp Rd for an easy walk on a wide well maintained trail with some hills. (Green Trail on Map)
For more adventure head downhill form Spring Road to meet up with the Bibbulmun Track and go there and back that way. (Yellow Trail on Map)
For a more challenging hike do the Bibbulmun Track section and include the massive big hill on the Schipp Road Walk - your choice whether you tackle it up or down! (Orange Trail below with green section the extension to Rocky Pool)
Today we set off to do the Rocky Pook Walk, represented by the grey line below, but missed the turn and ended up walking the red trail which is part of the Hill Street Walk and an unnamed trail back to the water course and then the rough side trail from the water course back to Shipp Road.
On this map the green section is the Bibbulmun Track extension into Jorgensen Park.
No wonder people get confused trying to find Rocky Pool!
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For Kalamunda National Park Hikes in the Rocky Pool Area:
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.