Paten's Brook Walk Trail
Directions - The start of the hike begins at the Perth Hills Discovery Centre in Mundaring. From Great Eastern Hwy take Mundaring Weir Rd south until you reach Allen Rd. Turn left and follow this until you reach the car park. Look for the Bibbulmun Track sign for the start of the trail.
Warning/Update - DPaW have removed the trail markers for this trail because it falls within the water catchment area for Mundaring Weir Dam. It is sad to lose a hiking trail that has existed for many years, especially such an enjoyable one like Paten's Brook, but please do not attempt to hike this trail as it will be quite easy to get lost without markers. Hopefully there are more hiking trails planned for the future to replace it but for now we must respect the decision made by DPaW. I am leaving my original post on here to preserve the memory of the trail and so people still have access to photos from the area that they can connect with their own experiences.
Original Post - Mundaring is a fantastic little town out in the hills and is made famous by the mighty dam located not far from the centre of town. Normally I would see Mundaring Weir after 16km of hiking from the start of the Bibbulmun Track but this time I decided to head out there by car and check out some of the many small hiking trails in the area. One trail I had found that was top of my list was the 8km Paten's Brook Walk Trail that was set to provide great views over Lake C.Y O'Connor along with a challenging enough length.
Getting out there is simple, get onto Great Eastern Highway until you reach Mundaring and turn right at the set of traffic lights. Follow the signs leading you to Mundaring Weir and the start point for the trail is in the car park of the Perth Hills National Park Centre on Allen Rd. Being a loop you can go either way but the trail leading anti-clockwise isn't that apparent when you are in the car park (it is down past the white boom gates of the gravel section of Allen Rd and marked with an arrow to the right). I started at the Bibbulmun Track sign and headed uphill to start the 8.33km hike.
Section One - Bibbulmun Beauty - Perth hikers will be at home in this first section as you gradually climb through the classic Australian bush scene of Jarrah forest, grass trees and orange gravel paths. When I arrived there was a small amount of fog hanging around and it created a really cool effect with the dappled sunlight streaming between the trees. The first 2-3km follows the famous Bibbulmun Track so along with the white and green trail markers of the Paten's Brook Trail, you get a familiar yellow Wagyl right next to it. The track deviation from the Bibbulmun is well sign posted (see gallery below) so unless you aren't really paying much attention you will be fine.
The turn-off takes you down to the Paten's Brook campsite but before you reach it there are a few cool little areas to explore. One photo opportunity is a hollowed out tree that is right on the trail with its fantastic grey/black colouring. Soon after the hollow tree, the trail makes a bit of a turn onto narrow tracks once again and you come across what I think is the best section of forest on the trail. Just above the Paten's Brook Campsite you get to see down into a little valley and the way the sun was positioned, it lit up the forest with golden light.
It was one of those moments on a trail where you just stop and smile. A quick descent down some steps and you find the toilet block of the campsite (I didn't explore the area to see if there was a camp shelter) before heading off on a 4x4 track down towards the crumbly remains of Allen Rd. When you reach the half tarmac, half gravel Allen Rd you are greeted with tree blocked views across the valley. There is a rocky outcrop you can reach to get a better view before heading off towards the next section.