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Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail

Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail


Directions - Located just outside of the small town of Jarrahdale, from South West Highway, take Jarrahdale Road all the way up the hill to the corner of Nettleton Road. There is a small car park located on the north side of the two roads with a large wooden information board at the trail head. There are new metal signs for the full out plus loop trail that have been installed and these are the best reference.

The Hike - The Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail or 1872 Railway Heritage Trail as it's also known as was the second ever trail I did for this website way back in 2014 and has been one that I've been meaning to return to and correct. Originally there was no record of this on TrailsWA (one of the reasons I started the website) and the wooden sign at the trail head suggested it was just a return walk along the railway. Apparently there was a loop section but wasn't well marked so I've always just had this as an out and back. 

Work has been done by the Jarrahdale Heritage Society Walks volunteer group to remedy this (big thanks to them), so with 2022 shaping up to be the year of enjoying old favourites and re-shooting some trails to provide much needed updates, let me tell you about a near perfect day where I headed back to Jarrahdale to hike an OG Life of Py trail. With the cold of winter finally setting in and Perth receiving a moderate amount of rainfall so far, I was extremely happy that the hiking season was well and truly underway. With a visit to the Hill Street Walk the week before, spotting a good variety of wildflowers gave me confidence that this would translate to other trails up and down the Darling Scarp. Having a few wildflowers really helps with providing variety in the photo galleries and I was hoping that there would also be some early season fungi finds. Normally I am an early riser so I can get out on the trails and walk a section in the late golden hour settings of early morning but today I had different plans thanks to this being the time of year where the NBA Finals are on. I've previously made a memorable day out of watching the NBA Finals and then taking in a hike with the best one being my visits to Bald Head Walk Trail (although at different times of year thanks to the pandemic).


With the Golden State Warriors facing off against the Boston Celtics in a crucial Game Four for the Warriors, I cooked up mushrooms on avo toast, brewed a few cups of coffee and enjoyed some puppa cuddles as I watched Steph Curry drop 43 points to level up what had been a weird series for both sides. Feeling elated that the Warriors had tied it up and the series would extend to at least six games, Caris came home with sushi for lunch as a little cherry on top. Having packed my hiking gear during ad breaks, I was ready to go after lunch so loaded up the car and drove out to Jarrahdale, ready to give this page a much needed refresh and also experience the loop trail for the first time. Arriving at the corner of Jarrahdale and Nettleton Roads, I was surprised to see only two cars in the car park given the popularity of this trail thanks to its dog friendly status. Waiting for my Garmin to find GPS signal, I was pleased to see the new green boot trail markers, meaning that finding the path off the main railway onto the loop should be much easier. The first section was familiar territory as I've visited this trail a few times, the most recent one being a clean-up day organised by Tracy from Off the Beaten Track.

It isn't long until you reach the first section of railway as you have to cross over to continue walking along the northern side. No longer in use, it was originally used to transport timber from the forests around Jarrahdale to the jetty at Rockingham and was later used by Alcoa for their mining operations. I like that it's been left in tact instead of being ripped up like a lot of the railway lines around WA as it provides a fun feature for most of the hike. While the trail officially doesn't use the railway line along its route, there are more than enough opportunities to have a play on it where the trail runs close. After the first crossing, the trail teases you and heads away from the railway line as it takes you along Hayes Road. While this isn't ideal as you're walking along a gravel road, there was enough here to keep me entertained. Initially there was a thicket of distinctly smelling Parrot Bush with their lovely yellow flowers and then it transitioned to more traditional Jarrah forest. There were a few good wildflower finds on the edge of the road with Holly-leaved Hovea, Bitter Peas and some native Wattle. I was happy to see a couple of bigger fungi in the leaf litter and got right down to ground level to photograph them. Looking out for the marker pointing me back towards the railway line, I was passed by a couple out with their Golden Retriever, accounting for one of the cars in the car park.

I got a brief pat from the happy puppa and was soon at the set of stairs leading down to the trail running parallel to the railway. Having mostly been walking in natural looking bush, at the bottom of the stairs you are introduced to a different style thanks to many introduced species. While not great, it's to be expected given the proximity to the railway and upcoming private properties that border the trail. Having already visited here, I wasn't expecting anything else so it wasn't a bad thing and some scenes like the narrow tunnels made for some different photos. Hearing the cries of a Black Cockatoo, I found the cheeky culprit hanging around just after the tunnel but getting a photo was hard as the trail contained a few ant hills that were hard to avoid. Having to move on, you dip down into a little valley below the railway line and in this very damp spot were some more lovely fungi finds. Rising up again, you walk right along the edge of the railway and this spot is where my previous cover photos have come from. I love this section of railway line as it curves into the undergrowth and disappears but with many years between visits, it seems nature is well and truly taken over as it was almost unrecognisable, to the point where I was questioning if this was the right spot.