Start - Fred Jacoby Park
Length - 3.3km (Loop)
Grade - Green
Terrain - Single Track, 4x4 Track
Vertical Climb - 112m
Time - 1-2 hours
Signed - Occasional Markers
Date Hiked - 24th July 2016
Best Time - Autumn to Spring
Directions - Fred Jacoby Park is located along Mundaring Weir Rd. There is a one way road that leads through the park and starts at the northern end of the park. The Portagabra Trail starts under the pipeline where you will find ample parking and a small information board.
Update - This trail had previously been marked as dog-friendly (as found on the TrailsWA website) but this has been corrected by Parks and Wildlife. Dogs are permitted on a leash in Fred Jacoby Park where the walk starts but not in the Jarrah forest beyond.
The Hike - The Tour de Wuff continued onto its second destination after a short drive down Mundaring Weir Rd from Kalamunda. Located within the dog friendly confines of Fred Jacoby Park near the Mundaring Weir Hotel, this 3.31km loop is a small taste of the Australian bush you can sample without taking too much time out of your day. After a short drive the dogs realised their day was not over and once again could not contain their excitement when we stopped. The starting point for the trail is the paved path leading you under the giant pipeline but don't get too comfortable as the paving ends quickly and we encountered a small amount of squishy mud.
Not wanting muddy paws and underbellies we quickly moved on and the trail began to climb. On single track paths through the forest you can immerse yourself in the undergrowth as you tackle all 100 vertical metres until you reach the top. Along the way enjoy the tranquil surrounds, the exposed granite sections and don't forget to look back when you near the top as there are glimpses of the Helena River Valley and Mundaring Weir. We stopped for a short break at the formation of granite boulders and the dogs had a little fun exploring off lead while we tried to get them to stay still for photographs. Not being in the best light and having dark coloured dogs meant the photos took a bit of editing to get them right.
It's a short trip up some stairs and you have reached the summit of the climb so take a breath, relax and enjoy the feeling of getting the hardest part out of the way. The trail turns into a 4x4 track as it heads west but keep an eye out for the left turn back into the forest as it isn't marked. The downhill is a welcome relief and the undergrowth keeps getting thicker and greener. A thicket of banksia appears out of nowhere to keep things interesting and there is even an old Portagabra sign decaying in the bushes.
The native forest soon disappears as you come to the bottom of the hill and into a pine plantation. Both the markers and the trail are a bit confusing here so head in the rough direction of the pipeline, keeping an eye out for mountain bikers who have constructed a few jumps in the area. There is a bridge over the pipeline that is amazingly easy to navigate yourself onto and then it's a quick trip down a moist 4x4 track back to the starting point. On your way back admire the words of wisdom scratched into the pipeline along with the gibberish also present. With another trail in the bag it was back in the car and onto the Mundaring bakery for a well earned snack.
Final Thoughts – Trail two for the day was a pleasant walk through the forest and a bit more challenging than Jorgensen Park with that 100m vertical climb to start with. The single track path was the complete opposite to the open fairways of Jorgensen but offers a lovely escape from the world, even it is only for an hour or two.
This isn't a well known or well documented trail but one that given it's close location to both the centre of Mundaring and the Mundaring Weir Hotel make it a perfect way to spend some time with your kids, fur babies or friends (why not all three).
It goes without saying (even though I am) that every responsible owner cleans up after their puppy, kids and themselves to adhere to the Leave No Trace principles.
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