Lewis Road Walk
Start - End of Lewis Road
Length - 4.7km
Grade - Orange
Terrain - Single Path, 4x4 Track, Road
Vertical Climb - 184m
Time - 1-2 hours
Dog Friendly - Yes
Signed - Yes, Follow the Red Markers
Date Hiked - 19th August 2017
Best Time - Autumn to Spring
Directions - Starting at the end of Lewis Rd (fancy that), it can be found by taking the first left after the intersection of Welshpool Rd East and Tonkin Hwy if you are travelling east on Welshpool Rd East. The gravel car park is at the end of Lewis Rd and the trail starts to the left of the car park.
The Hike - After completing two of the hikes planned for the second (Lake Leschenaultia and Whistlepipe Gully), we moved on to the penultimate trail of the day in what was turning out to be a really fun day. Very poor planning meant we had actually visited the Lewis Rd car park on the Whistlepipe Gully hike (it's at the bottom of the hill) but to get there from the car par at the top meant driving out through Lesmurdie, along Welshpool Rd East, down the hill and then backtrack along Lewis Rd (about 15 minutes in total). Finally arriving at the car park we had a laugh at the stupidity of it all and set about finding the start of the trail. Starting to the left of the car park along a 4x4 track that was a little bit flooded, you cross Whistlepipe Gully as it empties into the suburbs below and then begin the first and biggest climb of the hike.
With a couple of hikes under our belts (only one for Clare but she is still a spring chicken) we powered up the hill. When I say powered, I mean we slowly ambled up the hill, admiring the wildflowers, worms and the nice views looking back towards the Swan Coastal Plain. Initially the track is surrounded by low heath and grass trees but as you climb higher you reach the lovely mixed forest of Wandoo and Jarrah. Visiting in spring also brought with it the delight of spotting many different types of wildflowers. Perth is very underrated in spring and I love this city a lot when you can do a pretty basic hike like this right in the middle of suburbia and come across a dozen or so different types of wildflowers without really looking hard.
Each have their own visual character and the shapes and colours they come in are fascinating. The climbing flattens out a little bit and gave me a chance to catch up with Aron and Clare as I'd stopped a few times to take photos of the flowers and views. We reached the top of the hill as the trail turns into a road bash along Ozone Terrace (weird name but sure). This is the compromise of most of these Shire of Kalamunda walks, they haven't created any new trails, just stuck markers on existing trails so sometimes to link them all up it requires a road section. Luckily this wasn't as bad as the road you walk on during the Stathams Quarry hike where there is no shoulder to walk on and it contains a few blind corners.
The good thing about the road walking are the views across the Swan Coastal Plain with the CBD a tiny speck in the distance. I think I've mentioned this in a previous post but I've never seen the appeal of the views from the Darling Scarp as it's mostly an industrial wasteland with views of the place I spend most of my weekdays sitting in an office. I have to say though, it is a really nice place to be when the sun is setting. Having walked this trail as part of the Oxfam Trailwalker just as the sun was setting into the clouds I can confirm that it has the potential to be quite an amazing sight. After about 500m of road walking you see the sign pointing you back onto a gravel trail and back down a hill towards the intersection with Whistlepipe Gully.
As we reached the bottom of the hill where Whistlepipe Gully was located, we spotted a very enthusiastic doggo carrying a stick much too large for its size. Getting a few pats in while he triumphantly showed off his achievement, it was a funny moment we shared with the owner. Crossing the bridge we admired the excellent wildflowers that are found up and down this valley before climbing up the last hill of the hike. Some of the best Wandoo of the walk can be found here along with some thick Jarrah and Marri forest making for some lovely walking. As we reached the top of the hill the weather was rolling in and it started to drizzle.
Not too much that it required the rain jackets to be expedited from the backpacks but a nice shower that really livened up the views across the Swan Coastal Plain. Exiting the forest we arrived out onto a more open section of the track that provides even better views and with the shower now over, things had brightened up. Clare was not very worried about stepping in puddles or muddy spots along here and soon had her boots caked in loamy mud, much to everyone's laughter. Not phased by the extra weight she was now carrying around we continued along the track as white fluffy clouds appeared on the horizon, making for some nice photos with the open heath allowing a wider view.
As we headed down the hill to finish the hike we made a slight detour to check out some old concrete water tanks along a side 4x4 track. These old relics from a bygone era devoid of the heavy duty plastic tanks we now use, they are cool objects to explore and photograph (so good one shot made the cover photo). Having spent a decent amount of time taking photos and having a look around we headed back to the main path towards the finishing point. I can't say the last section of the hike was very easy as the trail seemed to end at various points with no obvious way forward. In the end all three of us stumbled onto Lewis Road right near the car park and finished the hike along the gravel road. Hike over we loaded up again and drove the short distance to the bottom of Lesmurdie Falls for the last hike of what had been a very enjoyable day so far.
Final Thoughts – Another of the Shire of Kalamunda walks under my belt and it wasn't too bad all things considered. Visiting in spring certainly added extra interest with all the wildflowers and the weather made for some different photos.
Unfortunately this does feel like more of a patchwork type trail than something that screams proper hiking trail. The road walking kind of throws you out of the rhythm and crossing Whistlepipe Gully reminds you there is a better alternative in the area.
The old concrete water tanks are fun but these aren't on trail so this walk really only has the views, wildflowers in spring and the fact you can take your dog along (a big plus).
Not bad for an afternoon walk with the dog if you're a local or after something different but I would venture to Whistlepipe Gully if you are looking for a short hike in the area.
Get out there and experience it!
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