Start - Welshpool Rd East
Length - 4km (Loop)
Grade - Orange
Terrain - 4x4 Track, Some Steep Sections
Vertical Climb - 154m
Time - 1-2 hours
Signed - Occasional Markers
Date Hiked - 2nd August 2015
Best Time - Autumn to Spring
Directions - Getting out there is simple - take Welshpool Rd East off Roe Hwy and head up to the top of the hill. The car park is 20m past the turn for Sawyers Valley Rd on the south side and across the road from the service station.
The Hike - Apart from being the location of one end of the 1,000km Bibbulmun Track, Kalamunda also is home to many smaller trails for those seeking a shorter walk in the bush. One such trail is Lion's Lookout - located just off Welshpool Rd East, it offers a bit of climbing, some sweeping views of the Perth Coastal Plain and if you visit in late winter/spring then the colours on display are amazing. Joining me on my hike today were a few friends including ZZ Tormund (the bearded Robert of Oxfam Extraordinaire fame) and Shannelen (Shanelle & Helen). The trail markers for this trail are light blue and the first one can be found on the gravel track leading south from the car park. The first section is a gentle downhill to where the loop begins and soon the noise from Welshpool Rd East disappears as you immerse yourself in the sounds of the bushland around you. Once you reach the T junction, take a left turn and the biggest climb of the trail begins, taking you all the way up to a cleared area that is perfect for gazing upon the plains.
While it's not a big climb, the average ascent is 13% for 600m, all the way up to the top. The reward for when you get up there is even better views than what you get at the car park. Snapping a few photos is a great excuse for a breather and a splash of water. Following the light blue trail markers, head back into the forest and towards the edge of the Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre. By now there should be a vast array of wildflowers bordering the trail with a variety of colours on display. As the trail exits the forest and into more open country, it descends whilst still providing open views. Instead of the orange gravel of the 4x4 tracks, the trail turns a golden yellow colour providing a nice contrast to the wildflowers in the shrubbery.
A sharp right turn punctuated with a significant puddle of water blocking the trail greeted us next but with a bit of tip-toeing on the edge of the trail we got through. The next challenge was a rocky descent on an old 4x4 track (good luck to anyone who attempts to use it now). The girls carefully made their way down the hill, punctuated by the sounds of slipping footwear and odd noises as they fell on their butts. Robert and I were fine and went off exploring a bit on the granite outcrop before joining the girls at the bottom of the hill. The remainder of the trail is a slight uphill journey to the T Junction that forms the loop part of the walk. From there it is a stroll back to the car park and you have completed a relaxing 4km hike through some lovely bushland with city views.
Final Thoughts – A lot of the trails I have covered so far are a decent length and may be a bit daunting for a beginner or family. With Shannelen interested in doing some hiking training (Shanelle is off to do the Inca Trail soon) but not wanting to start with some of the harder hikes, I checked my list of smaller hikes I had yet to cover.
Lion's Lookout fitted the bill perfectly as it was relatively close to the city, a short but still challenging length and still had some hills. Given its proximity to the well populated suburbs of Lesmurdie and Kalamunda, I was happily surprised to find that within 100m you lost all feeling that you were near civilisation.
I love a good trail that is easily accessible and if I lived in the Perth Hills then Lion's Lookout would make for a favourite after work hike to clear the mind and wind down. If you take care on the slippery downhill sections then this trail shouldn't be a problem for anyone so get out there and enjoy the sights, smells and sounds of a wildflower covered landscape.
Be sure to tag any Lion's Lookout photos with #thelifeofpy and if you enjoyed this hike then feel free to share this page on Facebook with your friends.