Eagle View Walk Trail
Start - John Forrest NP - Rangers Office
Length - 15.1km (Loop)
Rating - Orange
Terrain - Single Track, 4x4 Track
Vertical Climb - 375m
Time - 3-5 hours
Signed - Yes, Follow Yellow Eagle Markers
Entry Fee - National Park Fees Apply
Date Hiked - 25th May 2014
Best Time - Autumn through Late Spring
Directions - Another easy trail to locate, simply take Great Eastern Hwy from Roe Hwy and enter the national park where signed. Follow the signs for the Ranger's Office and park in one of the many car parks. The trail head is well signed and easy to follow.
The Hike - Another week and another opportunity to get out and experience what the Perth Hills have to offer. This week I am off to the John Forrest National Park to hike the Eagle View Walk Trail and to mix things up a bit I was accompanied by two lovely young ladies, Jess & George. Once again I took my Nikon D50 out with me and with no memory card issues I was able to take some great photos of the trail. Check them out in the slideshow at the bottom of the page. The Eagle View Walk Trail is one of the favourite trails for locals as it offers some stunning views of the Perth Coastal Plain and is a great way to get some exercise.
The 15km loop can be tackled by hikers of all experiences and we managed to blitz it in just over three hours without stopping. With a stop for lunch this can quite easily be done as a family activity or with a group of friends. John Forrest National Park is easily accessible from the Great Eastern Highway and only 24km east of the city. The turnoff to the park entrance is well signed and once inside it is a short drive down to the recreation area that serves at the start point for many walks in the area. There is a fee per car to enter the national park and payment can be made by filling out one of the envelopes provided and putting it in the box provided. As the Eagle View Walk Trail is a loop you have a choice in the direction you take. After saying hello to the local guide (right) we chose to go clockwise as this meant the harder, more hilly sections were tackled with early and out of the way. The trail is extremely well sign posted and there is very little chance of losing your way.
The first section follows one of the many creeks in the park and is a combination of narrow, snaking trails and short bursts of scaling rocky outcrops. There is no stuffing about on fire trails in the early part and the narrow trails of the valley soon open up and the climb to the wonderful views this trail has to offer begins. The 250m vertical climb from the valley floor is quite a gradual climb and apart from having to tackle the occasional tricky rock formation it shouldn't present even the most casual hiker any problems. As you climb you get glimpses of the vistas that you will eventually reach and you have to remind yourself to stop and take it all in. Once you reach the summit of the climb (and the weather is good enough) you get to view the Perth Coastal Plains all the way to the coast. The city is just a speck in the distance and you get to see just how spread out Perth really is.
There is a nice grouping of rocks that you can pretend to be a mountain goat on and I'm sure if you were travelling in the opposite direction this would make a great resting spot for lunch. From the summit you head back east and descend down towards the valley floor again. With Perth receiving a large amount of rain in the past couple of weeks the entire place is green with new vegetation sprouting up everywhere and the creeks have started the flow again (normally still dry at this time of year). Trekking our way through the kilometres talking about food, zen and the finer points of life (I lie, the girls were talking about food the whole time) it was not hard to appreciate why so many people enjoy hiking in groups. Admittedly I usually enjoy hiking solo so this was a refreshing break and something I could get used to. As the trail started to climb again, the forest thickened up again and the weather couldn't make up its mind.
Nothing beats a hike in the rain and it was the pleasant type of rain that doesn't bring its mate (the wind) to the party. Distracted by the talk of healthy food recipes and recommendations to buy juicing appliances we had managed to get through 10kms without any struggle so we just decided to keep on hiking until the end. The final section is mostly downhill, wide fire trails and apart from getting rained on it was a relaxing way to finish the hike. Seeing Jess and George looking like Shake and Bake chicken bags in their clear ponchos could only brighten the already upbeat mood. While 15kms sounds like a lot, the time went really quickly and I must be getting my legs back as I didn't feel like I had just hiked for three hours. I did feel bad for George, who had done a legs workout and played netball the day before.
Final Thoughts - With wild weather the previous day putting a delay on this hike I am relieved that we decided to go on the Sunday. The Eagle View Trail Walk has a well earned reputation for a reason and it did not disappoint me one bit. 15km is a perfect length and with the variety of trails you walk on it certainly isn't boring by any stretch of the imagination.
The only criticism one might have about the trail is your peace occasionally get interrupted by an airliner heading to Sydney or Melbourne as the national park is in line with Perth Airport and some of the flight paths to the eastern cities of Australia. That is however a very small price to pay for a trail that otherwise cannot be faulted. Great signage, good variety of trails and scenery and some spectacular views of the Perth Coastal Plain.
A highly recommended trip for hikers with all levels of experience.
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