Lions Lookout Walk trail
Korung National Park
Directions - Lions Lookout is located just off Welshpool Road East as you drive up into the Lesmurdie Area. From Roe Highway, take the Welshpool Road East turn off and drive east as you start to ascend. The right turn for Lions Lookout is between the Crystal Brook Road turn and the BP Service Station and the walk trail starts on the southern side of the car park.
The Hike - Continuing a bit of a theme for my hiking in 2022, I have been strategically targeting certain trails to refresh the pictures and provide a new perspective on old favourites. Lions Lookout wasn't on the initial list when I started planning out my to-hike list for the hiking season during the summer but with the old page (that you can view here) lacking detail and not truly showcasing the trail very well, I decided to pay it a visit when dropping off some postcards to the Trails Hub Café at the old Kalamunda Camel Farm (you can purchase one of the six designs there if you're interested).
My previous visit here had been in the winter of 2015 with a few old friends as part of a Lions Lookout/Stahams Quarry dual adventure. Not taking many photos and only writing a couple of paragraphs, my lasting memory of this hike was some lovely Pixie Mops and my friend Robert's magnificent ginger beard. As I'm getting older and these adventures get further in the past, sometimes returning can feel like a whole new trail. This actually worked well for this visit because for some reason, I didn't think this would be a good trail experience thanks to the trail being on old vehicle tracks for the whole loop. I had forgotten about certain sections that provided some spectacular views and having developed a much keener interest in the wildflowers of Western Australia, this would be a much more interesting time for me. Visiting Michelle and dropping off my postcards first, I purchased some Hummingbird Cake for after dinner and drove out to the Lions Lookout car park that people mostly use as a spot to watch the sunset. It was fairly busy for being a few hours from sunset with a few people wandering around the grassed area.
Given it was a wet and cold afternoon in Makuru, I wasn't going to need my backpack so took a lengthy drink before grabbing my camera and set off to find the start. A gobbled up Shire of Kalamunda trail marker indicated the path was along the vehicle track leading away from the car park and this was confirmed a bit later on by another marker. The route you will follow is a short out and back section that connects up to a loop, which you can follow in any direction. Last time we did it clockwise and I remember the steeper sections being downhills so decided to go anti-clockwise this time to make it easier. I was impressed with the wildflowers along the linking trail with Hovea, Foxtails, Wattle, a Silky-leaved Blood Flower, Honey Bush and the white Woolly-flowered Grevillea with different coloured tips that looked pretty funky. There is no denying that wildflower season makes a walk much better but I wasn't expecting to see this much so soon. Continuing along the old vehicle track, there is an open spot where it runs between a couple of granite outcrops and this provides the first of many locations where you get sweeping views overlooking the Swan Coastal Plain towards the Perth CBD.
While it seems to be a drawcard for most people, I've never really found the view from the Darling Scarp looking west particularly nice as it's just a flat space filled in by industrial wasteland for the most part. Having worked from home since March 2020, I have no desire to head back to the clump of buildings that you can see in the distance so that's also a factor. What I was looking forward to was the possibility of spotting some Winter Donkey Orchids that I had seen some of my favourite wildflower accounts showcasing on the Instagram. Continuing along, I reached the end of the linking trail and had to decide which way I wanted to hike the loop section. As previously mentioned, I decided anti-clockwise and this turned out to be the most correct decision. From the intersection, you head downhill for a while, dropping about 50m in elevation and coming across a lovely stretch of Wandoo. I love seeing their golden trunks and with the exposed western side of the trail replaced with a hill, it felt like you were hidden away from the world. The wildflower finds continued with more Woolly-flowered Grevillea and I even found what looks to be an Earthstar fungi hiding away in the undergrowth.
The downhill lasts for 500m and during that time the rains decided they would come and make me a little moist. Having not brought anything other than my camera, I was fortunate that it was just a passing sprinkle and I had some protection under the canopy of the nearby Wandoo trees. Reaching another trail junction, I followed the light blue markers as they pointed me up the hill and towards an area I remember as having some steep parts that required some butt-scooting by the girls. Hiking them uphill meant no butt-scooting for me and in the end they weren't as bad as I remember. While the landscape looked a little bare compared to the valley, there were some exciting finds in the nearby undergrowth thanks to a Fuchsia Grevillea and some Hibbertia. Looking back there were some nice views opening up but I was loving the scenery ahead thanks to a lot of Balgas making up the bulk of the undergrowth. As I wandered along, scanning the sides of the trail, I let out a little squee as I spotted the Winter Donkey Orchids I had been hoping to find. While not uncommon, the Donkey Orchid varieties are one of my favourite orchids so seeing my first one of the season was wonderful.