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If you like your hikes to take you through stretches of unspoiled wilderness, you need to visit the Southern Forests region. With so many national parks, the Southern Forests offer a range of landscapes, flora and fauna to discover. Whether you want to surround yourself with towering trees, explore dramatic coastline or see incredible views, you’ll find a Southern Forest hike that will take you there. Read on to find our five favourite hikes in the region.



1. Warren River Loop, Pemberton

Time: Half Day

Distance: 10.5km loop can be walked in either direction

Difficulty: Grade 3 - Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

Trail Start:  Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, Old Vasse Road, Pemberton which is 330km (4 hours) south of Perth.

 

Number one on the list is one of our favourite Top Trails, The Warren River Loop. This 10.5km hike meanders through the Warren National Park, taking in some of the park’s best features, including the Dave Evans Bicentennial climbing tree, beautiful mirror-like river pools, old growth Karri trees and glorious lookouts. In the particular, the Warren Lookout offers a view of the forest valley that is so perfect; it will take your breath away. The Heartbreak Drive Trail follows a similar path to Warren River Loop, which means there are plenty of access points along the way. 

 Warren River Loop: Trails WA

2. The Gloucester Tree to Cascades Walk, Gloucester NP

Time: Half Day

Distance: 12km return, or 6 km one way

Difficulty: Grade 3 -Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

Trail Start: Gloucester Tree, Gloucester National Park, Pemberton, which is 330km (4 hours) south of Perth.

The Gloucester Tree to Cascades Walk is a chance to immerse yourself in some of Pemberton’s lushest Karri forest. The trail begins at the Gloucester Tree, a 61m tall climbing tree, and then leads you deep into the forest, passing babbling brooks, over narrow log bridges and under a tramway, before reaching the Cascades. During the wetter months, the Cascades are an impressive series of waterfalls that can be viewed from a handy boardwalk that crosses the brook. At the Cascades you can either end your hike, or retrace your steps back to start – and if you’re brave enough, have a go at climbing the Gloucester Tree!

Cascades: Trails WA

3. Great Forrest Trees Walk, Shannon NP

Time: 2-4hrs

Distance: 8km return

Difficulty: Grade 3 - Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

Trail Start: Shannon National Park: Which Tree is That? TheNational Park is 33km east of Northcliffe via Middleton Road, 55km south of Manjimup and 65km north of Walpole on the South Western Highway.

 

The Great Forrest Trees Walk is a walk amongst giants. This 8km hike wanders through the Shannon National Park, giving you an up close view of spectacular old-growth karri, jarrah and marri trees.  Along the way, interpretive signage gives you a deeper understanding of these ancient trees and the surrounding plants and wildlife. The trail follows an old forestry track that crosses the Shannon River. It can be steep in places, so take care, particularly in the wet. While you’re in the Shannon National Park, it’s also worth checking out the Rocks Walk, another challenging yet scenic trail that takes you past Shannon Dam and Mokare Rock.

 

Photo by Department of Parks and Wildlife

4. Mount Frankland, Walpole

Time: 1 - 1.5 hours

Distance 1km walk to summit. 1.5km loop around base.

Degree of Difficulty: Grade 4 - Bushwalking experience recommended.
Trail Start: Mount Frankland car park, 28km from Walpole, which is 420km (6 hours) south of Perth


Despite its short length, the Mount Frankland trail is one of the more challenging hikes on the list. Starting amongst Karri trees, this loop walk takes you around the base of the granite dome, before leading you up to the peak of Mount Frankland. To reach the top, you’ll need to climb many stone steps and a short ladder, but it’s definitely worth it, as you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of the Walpole Wilderness Area and Frankland River below. And if it’s a clear day, you might even catch glimpse of the southern coastline.


Mount Frankland: Pelusey Photography

5. Giant Tingle Tree to Coalmine Beach, Walpole

Distance: 13.8km return walk in the beautiful Walpole Wilderness Area

Difficulty: Grade 3 -Suitable for most ages and fitness levels

Trail Start: Giant Tingle Tree, Walpole, 420km (6 hours) south of Perth

 

Part of the Bibbulmun Track, the Giant Tingle Tree to Coalmine Beach Walk combines the best of the bush and the beach. The trail begins at the Giant Tingle Tree, which is the largest-girthed living eucalypt in the world. After you’ve marveled at this living legend, the trail then heads down to Hilltop Lookout for an excellent view of Nornalup Inlet and the Southern Ocean. From here you’ll pass through dense karri and red tingle forest, before reaching Coalmine Beach. Here you can enjoy a swim or a picnic, or turn back for the homeward climb. Flower lovers take note, if you visit during spring, you’ll be spoiled with an abundance of colourful wildflowers along the way.

Dwarfed by Giants: Photo by the Silvertops

If you walk any of these trails please rate and review them on trailswa.com.au.  You can also download the App  here.  iPhone only at the moment but Android version is in the pipeline.

Hashtag your trail photos #trailswa  and we'll share them on Instagram and/or Facebook.  You can also upload a blog and photos to Trailtalk.com.au.  

Share your experiences and inspire others to discover WA's great trails!

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