Directions - The start point for the trail is a gravel car park located on Lascelle's Parade in Gooseberry Hill (see the Shire of Kalamunda trail notes for exact location). As the trail is a loop and the first section is a walk along Lascelle's Parade, you can alter your starting point to any of the car parks before the Zig Zag.
The Hike - Stathams Quarry is a popular location for Perth outdoors people as it provides a great setting for rock climbing & abseiling and is right on some highly frequented walking trails. Located right in the heart of the Perth Hills suburbs of Gooseberry Hill & Kalamunda, the Stathams Quarry trail is a hilly 7km hike along sealed roads, gravel paths and narrow bush tracks. For me this was hike #2 for the day after visiting Lion's Lookout in the morning with some friends before driving the short distance to the start of the Stathams Quarry trail.
A word of warning if you plan on doing this trail, it's not that easy to follow and can get quite confusing in places. There are multiple places where trails intersect/deviate and the grey trail markers are woefully placed, if placed at all. I covered myself in glory whilst leading the group in the wrong direction twice (my Runkeeper map isn't pretty) and was constantly checking the Shire of Kalamunda trail notes/map against my live GPS location. Once you have completed the first km along Lascelle's Parade the trail turns off onto one of the many gravel tracks located along the famous Zig Zag. This was the first time I took a wrong turn. I knew the trail headed north from the Zig Zag so took the group on one of the gravel tracks leading north after we had crossed the last paved section of the Zig Zag but alas this was the wrong path and after 100m I decided this wasn't it and turned back. After heading west for just over 100m the trail then turns north again and on to the top of Stathams Quarry. About 2km in there is a fence to your left that will lead you to the area above the quarry. When we arrived there was a group of kids getting ready to abseil down the rock face. I remembered back to when I was a kid and realised I too had abseiled down this rock face without knowing it was Stathams Quarry. We had a bit of an exploration and took some photos looking down the rock face. Knowing we would return to the quarry, albeit at the bottom next time, we soldiered on and devoured the next 500m section that led to the quarry entrance.
Apart from my junior abseiling visit, this wasn't my first time visiting Stathams Quarry. The last time I was here it was very dark, freezing cold and I had been hiking for over 19 hours straight. Stathams Quarry was the penultimate checkpoint of the 2014 Perth Oxfam Trailwalker and the only checkpoint where we were unable to have contact with our support crew. So it was fitting that Robert aka Man Candy was on the hike today as this was the only checkpoint that he didn't see us at. Being daytime I was curious to see what the place looked like when I could see everything and it has an appealing quality about it if you ignore the rubbish and graffiti. Most of our time was spent photographing the rock face and watching the people abseil down. With sore necks and our fill of photos we set off back to the entrance of the quarry. Take care to follow the trail notes here as the next section is not straight ahead as you would think but to the south and past some boulders. This next section back down to the Zig Zag is a snug path channeled into the landscape complete with what I assume is the run down old accommodation of quarry workers. It is now fenced off and covered in graffiti but is an interesting focal point of the trail.
When you join the Zig Zag again follow one of the few trail markers and when you reach the first hairpin bend, go straight on instead of left and the trail becomes a familiar gravel track. From here you need to follow the trail notes very carefully as there are a number of criss-crossing gravel tracks that can make you doubt where to go next. At about this time the sun came out from behind the clouds and the colours of the bush improved immensely. Although you occasionally find yourself staring right into someone's backyard, it is still your typical Australian bush landscape. About the time when the trail starts heading back uphill I made my second navigation error and kept going on the wide gravel trail at about 5.5km. The trail is meant to take a left onto a narrow uphill path and the trail marker is well hidden on a tree to the right. The final 1.5km stretch is a testing uphill section broken up by a few downhill stretches. If you follow the trail notes carefully then you will eventually stumble across a bridge over one of the many streams in the area. The finish is a steep-ish climb back up to the gravel car park from which you started from.
Final Thoughts – Stathams Quarry is a very interesting place to visit and makes for a great feature for an enjoyable hike close to suburbia. We need more trails like this in the Perth Hills to provide short but interesting places for everyone to enjoy and experience the Australian bushland. Unfortunately what lets this trail down is the lack of trail markers letting you know where to go at key places. The Shire of Kalamunda have done a commendable job documenting all the trails they have but extensive notes wouldn't be necessary if the trails were marked correctly.
If anyone from the Shire of Kalamunda is reading this then invest in a set of different coloured trail markers for each trail and put them in key points. It shouldn't take much investment and it would make the experience infinitely better if hikers don't have to reference trail notes/maps every time there is a key turning point.
My words of advice if you are planning a trip to this area is to download the trail notes and map from the Shire of Kalamunda website and reference back to it if you aren't quite sure. It's worth the trouble for some of the features you get to see on the trail.
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