Hiking is an incredible way to exercise while experiencing the best that mother nature has to offer. Be it for boosting fitness, improving mental wellbeing, or enhancing social activity, hiking offers all kinds of tangible benefits.
Hiking is an activity that can be fun alone, with friends and family, a hiking buddy or as part of a hiking community group. It allows you to walk through verdant surroundings and marvel at the magnificent rivers, waterfalls and landscapes and it can help take the stress out of daily life. Hiking is also a fantastic way to improve your overall health and fitness.
Easy hiking trails in WA (0-5km)
Located in the Mundy Regional Park in the hills east of Perth, Lesmurdie Falls is one of the most spectacular waterfalls on the Darling Range escarpment. Best walked in winter and spring when the rains swell Lesmurdie Brook, the trail follows the brook until it reaches a bridge at the top of the falls. A lookout allows you to look over the falls and the flat land of coastal plains that sweep over Perth city to Rottnest Island in the west. If you want to extend the trail you can follow it to the base of the falls.
Bells Rapids Walk Trail
One of Perth’s best dog-friendly walks, the Bells Rapids Walk Trail takes you alongside a series of iconic rapids in a 5.5km loop. Follow the river downstream before ascending up the valley slopes to find a sweeping view of the river below, the Swan Coastal Plain to the west and the city. Along the way you’ll find a waterfall, interesting granite formations and lots of furry four-legged friends.
In the heart of the Botanic Gardens in Kings Park, the Law Walk takes you through manicured gardens and views of Kings Park out to natural bush for a bird’s eye view of what Perth would have looked like 200 years ago. One of WA’s premier urban trails, Law Walk is a 2.5km loop that offers unique insight into the biodiversity along the Mount Eliza escarpment. The walk is suitable for people with a moderate fitness level and takes around 45 minutes to complete.
Lesueur Walk Trail
Lesueur National Park is one of the greatest wildflower parks in Australia. Heading through Kwongan heathland up the short Lesueur Trail you’ll find a brilliant display of wildflowers at every turn. A gift of WA’s brilliant biodiversity, walk it in winter or spring and you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty.
Lesueur National Park is relatively clear of dieback, and given its incredible biodiversity, it needs to be protected. As such, it is really important that you use the boot cleaning stations provided along the track.
Moderate hiking trails in WA (5-15km)
The Camel Trail traverses a section of the Chichester Range in Millstream Chichester National Park. One of WA’s top trails, it links the stunning Python Pool to the lookout at Mount Herbert. The historic trail follows part of an old cameleer’s route to the wterhole at McKenzie Spring and it’s the perfect introductory walk for experiencing the Australian outback. A walk in the morning showcases a beautiful landscape of colour changes and is an opportunity to discover some iconic Pilbara wildflowers. Walk 8km one way or 16km return.
Gabby Karniny Bidi
Explore the salt lakes of Rottnest Island with the magnificent 10km Gabbi Karniny Bidi Trail. Starting at the Thomson Bay Settlement, the trail heads inland through Rottnest’s beautiful lakes system before exploring popular beaches like Geordie Bay, The Basin and Pinky Beach. There are some moderate descents and ascents along the coastal sections but the trail is relatively flat otherwise.
The Ghost House Walk
Long considered one of Perth’s top trails, the Ghost House Walk Trail takes you from the manicured shores of Loch McNess to the wilderness areas of Yanchep National Park, a throwback to an earlier era before wilderness values became the overriding principles of park management. The Ghost House Walk Trail explores the more pristine areas of the national park and highlights include wildflowers, bird watching, limestone cliffs and caves and the ruins of an old house.
Eagle View Trail
A 14km circuit that leads you to several of John Forrest National Park’s less explored destinations, the Eagle View Trail is a series of gentle hills that offer fantastic views of the city. More challenging than other walks in the park the Eagle View Trail is well worth it, following the snaking creek to reach the summit where you’ll be rewarded with a view of the Perth Coastal Plains all the way to the coast.
Hard hiking trails in WA (15+km)
Kitty’s Gorge Walk Trail
Accessible from the historic town of Jarrahdale, Kitty’s Gorge Walk Trail follows the Serpentine River and Gooralong Brook past impressive granite outcrops and a number of waterfalls. It has steep loose sections and uneven ground in parts, requiring a good level of fitness. An ideal day trip from Perth, you can combine your hike with a visit to a winery or one of the town’s lovely little cafes.
Railway Reserves Heritage Trail
Following the route of the old Eastern Railway, the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail provides a unique 41km loop trail entirely on railway formations. The extensive trail passes through quaint hill communities and covers a wide range of terrains, with scenic views at numerous points along the way. You can also discover the individual history, story and character of the settlements that came to be on the line. Access to the trail is free, although a national park fee applies for those accessing the trail from John Forrest National Park’s main car park.
Located in the spectacular East Fitzgerald National Park, the Hakea Trail starts at the Cave Point Car Park and extends westward to Quoin Head. Running for 23kms, this rugged coastal trail features a tantalising variety of landscapes, from rolling plains and colourful breakaways to rugged peaks and headlands and stunning bays and inlets. During winter, southern right whales shelter close to shore with their newborn calves.
One of the world’s greatest long distance walk trails, the Bibbulmun Track stretches 1000 km from Kalamunda in the Perth Hills to the historic town of Albany on the south coast. The track offers a range of experiences, including an 8-week adventure staying in the 49 campsites along the way. If you don’t fancy hiking ‘The Bibb’ in one go, you can access day walks from the quaint rural towns that sit on its edge.
10 tips to get ready for hiking in WA
Hiking isn’t just a walk in the woods. It requires strength, balance and a level of fitness that will ensure you stay safe. Most trails are uneven at parts and have at least some elevation gain, so even the easiest of hiking requires balance and strength to avoid injury.
To get ready for hiking you can:
- Run or walk in the sand to build the muscles that will protect your knees and ankles.
- Use a resistance band to strengthen your muscles through their full extension.
- Perform crunches to build your core strength for balance on uneven surfaces.
- Perform squats and lunges to strengthen lower body muscles.
- Perform push ups to support long hikes in which you’ll be carrying a pack.
- Hit the treadmill at your local gym to get up your lung capacity up.
- Fill your backpack and practice wearing it while stepping up on a park bench.
- Take yourself out for a few short walks in the week leading up and make sure to walk briskly to keep your heart rate up.
- Wear your hiking shoes while preparing for your hike as to avoid blisters when the real hike comes.
- Carry a lightly-weighted daypack on your weekday walks to get you used to carrying essential gear.
Health and fitness benefits of hiking
Hiking uphill involves concentric movement (muscle shortening) while hiking downhill involves eccentric movement (muscle lengthening). This requires you to use your whole body and it gives you an all-over workout. Your quads, glutes and hamstrings are continuously engaged and if you’re carrying a pack, you’re going to challenge the strength and endurance of your upper body as well.
Because hiking is an all-over workout, it’s a great activity for losing weight and reducing blood pressure and cholesterol. Just one hour of hiking can help you burn more than 500 calories, depending on the level of incline and the weight of the pack you’re carrying. Head for hilly terrain and a high altitude and you’ll burn significantly more than this. In terms of blood pressure, hiking downhill is highly effective at removing blood sugars and improving glucose tolerance.
Hiking in Western Australia
Western Australia offers a great range of both bush and urban walks. Many hiking tracks, including the world-class Bibbulmun Track can be easily accessed from Perth and feature historic interest as well as intense natural beauty.
At around twice the size of Western Europe, Western Australia is huge. This unique part of the world offers space to not just discover yourself in the wilderness, but local culture, jaw-dropping outback landscapes, pristine white beaches and stunning red gorges.
Whether you choose a bush or urban trail for your hike, you’re in for a memorable experience and a great workout.
Better safe than sorry
The Australian Walking Track Grading System is a nationally consistent system to grade the level of difficulty of the track walking experience. It should be used as a guide only, as it’s speculative on quite a number of conditions and factors. You may find it simpler to look for trails marked easy, moderate or hard, such as our breakdown of WA trails below.
Kick off your fitness journey today
Interested in exploring the more difficult and longer hikes within Western Australia? Bailey Fitness has a variety of fitness classes to ensure that you can smash your hiking goals. Find out more from our team today.