Four Aces Walk
Donnelly River Nature Reserve
Directions - From the centre of Manjimup, head north on South Western Highway and turn left onto Graphite Road. Follow this for 20km until you reach One Tree Bridge. There is parking on the western side of the river and the trail starts from the gazebo overlooking the suspension bridge.
The Hike - One Tree Bridge is a meeting place that every Bibbulmun Track hiker and Munda Biddi rider will know thanks to the cool suspension bridge over the Donnelly River, along with being a good resting spot. Having passed through here plenty of times doing both trails, the wooden sign for the Four Aces Walk always intrigued me. I had planned to do this earlier in the year when my podcast partner and I rode from Donnybrook to Northcliffe over Easter but the weather wasn't favourable on the day we passed through here and I decided not to carry my DSLR on that trip anyway.
With a South West road trip planned for the springtime in 2023, I didn't actually have this on the itinerary but had to change my plans after a setback. Initially for this day I was planning on exploring the walk trails at Perup Guesthouse but for reasons unknown, DBCA have decided to close the area, with access forbidden even if you just want to walk the trails and not stay there. Adjusting my day in Manjimup while I enjoyed a mushroom toastie, I figured that maybe the Four Aces Walk might be worth a visit and if it wasn't then no big deal. It's a short drive from Manjimup along Graphite Road and I was soon parked up at One Tree Bridge to see what the Four Aces had in store for me. It was a great comfort gazing out over the suspension bridge that allows hikers and riders to cross the Donnelly River safely away from car traffic. Thinking back on all my previous adventures was a nice trip down memory lane and I was excited to add another one. Deciding to do the walk out to Four Aces first, I wandered out onto the suspension bridge first to enjoy the views of the river before doubling back and heading under the traffic bridge to get to the official One Tree Bridge.
The remnants of the first bridge over the Donnelly River, it was dragged up the hill after storm damage caused it to collapse into the river. Now it resides behind a wooden fence for all to see, and you can certainly understand why it was called One Tree Bridge. Heading away from the Donnelly River, the trail continues behind the remnants of One Tree Bridge, where the wooden sign for the Four Aces is located next to a Karri Tree. When I first came through here on the Bibb in 2017, it was lush paradise but between then and riding through on the Munda Biddi in 2021, there has been a fire up the hill from the river. As a result, the undergrowth looks a lot scrappier than it once did. Being spring, the regrowth that has occurred seems to include a lot of Native Wisteria and Coral Vine given the blankets of red, pink and purple flowers growing everywhere, seemingly strangling the forest floor and anything that wants to grow upward. The walk to the Four Aces is about a kilometre and although you walk pretty close to Graphite Road at times, the stunning Karri Forest you meander through more than makes up for this.