Stretch your legs on this delightful, little waterside trail in John Forrest National Park.
Need to know info
Distance: 1.8km loop
Where: John Forrest National Park, Park Road, Hovea
Time: Under an hour
Difficulty: Very easy
Stuff you’ll need: Hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, water, sturdy enclosed shoes
Best time to go: Winter and spring
Where to find it
The Glen Brook Dam Trail
When it comes to nature adventures, some days I want to rack up some serious mileage, walking for hours up hills and over rocks. Other days, I just want to take it easy and meander through the bush; stopping to look at flowers, take in the views and generally pootle about. And it was on one of these lazier days when we discovered the Glen Brook Dam Trail.
I’d passed the Glen Brook Dam Trail many times on my way to tackle the Eagle View Trail or ride along the Railway Reserves Heritage Trail, but I’d never stopped and taken a close look. Located just before the main car park in John Forrest National Park, it’s easy to skip it if you’re heading to the park’s heavy-hitters, like the National Park Falls or Swan View Railway Tunnel. But being in a cruisey mood, we decided to stop and check it out. And I’m glad we did.
The trail is clearly marked with blue signage and starts just beneath a large granite outcrop, next to the dam wall. Recent controlled burns meant we began by walking through blackened trees. Normally this area is quite green and home to the odd pine tree but on our visit it was the typical rust red you see after a bushfire. While it may not have been as lush as usual, it did mean that we could clearly see the hundreds of grasstrees that cover the valley – good to know that there is no chance of these unique plants becoming extinct anytime soon.
The path then took us past the main carpark and over a bridge that crosses a small babbling brook. From here it was uphill back into the green bush. If you don’t already know, I’m a huge wildflower fan, so it was a treat to see masses of yellow wattle, pink petrophiles and white heath in bloom.
Soon enough we were at the dam’s edge. While the tranquil turquoise waters did look enticing, signage told us that the lack of movement meant it wasn’t safe for swimming. Not being fans of water-borne bacteria, we were happy to stay dry and just enjoy the peaceful view.
Upon reaching a second footbridge, we decided to explore a fork in the trail that lead up hill. If you’re visiting soon in spring, I recommend you do the same as the wildflowers along this path were gorgeous. Plus there’s a nice granite outcrop you can sit on and just soak up the sounds of the bush – or repeatedly tell your walking buddy just how lovely all the flowers are.
Back on the official trail we headed up some log steps to catch an view of the valley and dam, and then from here our adventure came to an end. One thing I particularly enjoyed about this trail was the narrowness of the path. Sounds odd to say but there’s something wonderful about having leaves and flowers close up alongside you, definitely nicer than wide fire-trails.
All in all, the Glen Brook Dam Trail is a pleasant little walk, especially in winter and spring. Probably not one for long distance fans or hardcore hikers but it’s a great choice for bushwalking newbies or those days when you just want a gentle wander through the bush.
Alternatively, if you are picnicking at John Forrest, this would be a great way to stretch your legs and walk off all those sandwiches.
So if you’re looking for something short and sweet in the Perth hills this weekend, give the Glen Brook Dam Trail a try.