Castle Rock Granite Skywalk
Porongurup National Park
Directions - Located 40 mins from Albany, take Chester Pass Rd north and follow this for 36km until you reach the turn-off for Porongurup Rd. Keep going for another 3km until you see the signs for Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. There is ample parking and the trail head is easily located.
The Hike - With a five day stretch on the Bibbulmun Track completed and a couple of days in Albany afterwards spent exploring and relaxing, it was time to head home to Fremantle and resume normal life. With an excellent experience the previous afternoon checking out Bald Head and Peak Head at sunset, I thought I'd continue the theme of revisiting old posts on the website and properly photograph the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. This was one of the first hikes in the South West that I did up for the website in 2015 and on that trip I didn't take many photos and the ones I did take weren't very good. Given this is a very popular destination in the area, I thought I would return and give it an update to truly reflect how great the experience is. If you want to check out the old post then it's still alive and can be accessed here.
I almost didn't stop in as when I arrived, the car park was literally overflowing into the overflow car park and I thought the trail would just be mobbed by people and the photos wouldn't be any good. I actually left but thankfully a kilometre down the road I convinced myself that it would be a while since I would return and with great spring weather, it wouldn't get much better than this. The reasons for the large numbers were that it was a lovely sunny day, it was the first day of the school holidays, it was AFL Grand Final Day that didn't involve a WA team and this hike gets a lot of marketing hype from the tourism accounts (although usually from the unrealistic drone perspective). I have a habit of visiting the Porongurups on Grand Final Day as I did the same thing in 2017 to hike Nancy Peak/Devils Slide, although that area was much quieter than today. I found a parking spot and hoped that everyone was going to be on their way down by the time I reached the Granite Skywalk. On my original post I barely featured any photos of the Karri forest leading up the hill and it looks like the whole hike is fairly easy then you're at the highlights galore region of the granite boulders. In reality the forest section is where you'll spend most of your time and I wanted to truly reflect that with a few more photos from the climb up the hill.
From the trail head near the car park until pretty much the top you are in for a 2km stretch of solid uphill hiking but given it is through some of the best forest type in the state, this only adds to the experience. With spring having most definitely sprung by the time of my visit, there were plenty of pea variety wildflowers in bloom so even though I wanted to finish the hike within an hour, I still found time to stop and admire some of my favourite wildflowers. While the forest does dominate proceedings early on, there are a couple of spots where you can step out onto a granite slab and get some open views of the surrounding landscape. The first of these is quite early on and frames the granite peaks you are climbing up to through the forest. It's fun to see where you'll be hiking but it's apparent how far you have to go and how high you still have to climb. Having done this before I was prepared for the constant uphill to the summit and I was probably in the best hiking shape of my life after a week of 20-30km days. Continuing on I passed a few groups heading up the hill and thankfully a few heading back down. The forest was lovely as always and I mostly had it to myself, able to photograph empty scenes when I wanted to and really settle down to enjoy the experience.