Location: Devils Slide, Porongurup National Park
Distance: 3.4km return
Trail Marker: Blue triangle with yellow footprint
Duration: 2 - 3 hours
Cost: $13 National Park Fees
Date Hiked: 2nd November 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
The Porongurup National Park is my favourite place in the whole of WA. So much so that our walks here usually take twice, sometimes three times as long as it usually would for anyone else.
Our first visit last year was an impromptu one, but was one of the most memorable and spiritual hikes I had ever walked. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it's an extremely ancient mountain range formed over 1200 million years ago.
This visit was a much shorter one and we had our eye set on Devil's Slide as the last time we climbed this section fast changing weather brought in thick cloud and aside from not seeing a thing at the top, we were almost blown off. This time was only slightly better, a light sprinkle of rain almost had us turn back as we didn't want to risk a repeat but we kept on and thankfully the rain dissapated and the clouds played nice, this time covering Nancy Peak a little instead so we had some amazing views.
Because we were a little pressed for time we decided to enter in via the southern side from Waddy's Hut.
The trail up to the start of the Devils Slide Trail is steep, seriously don't underestimate it haha I have climbed many steep hills in my time but this one almost stopped me in my tracks. It's a continuous 900m ascent and the steepness reaked havoc on my calves and I actually got a shooting pain in my heels I hadn't felt since my Camino Hike last year. Not sure what I was thinking but I had my runners on which didn't help so slipped a few times. Make sure your wearing good quality boots to avoid this.
A trail sign can be found at the start of the Devils Slide Trail which continues on left ascending up to Marmabup Rock. The peak is 670m above sea level but the trail is a 730m ascent. The trail begins as a single track through a canopy of trees and then opens up to a section of exposed granite where the climbing begins. It was quite a moody overcast day with some light showers which presented a little degree of difficulty making sure we didn't slip on the smooth granite but it wasn't long before we were welcomed with our first awe inspiring views of the farmland below. The trail was poorly marked but an orange ribbon was tied to trees highlighting the way.
We didn't explore the slope of the Devils Slide as the clouds were rolling in thick and fast and we did not want a repeat of our last trip so we continued on over the purpose built wooden bridge made by the Friends of the Porongurup Range.
After the wooden bridge the trail narrows to single track through thick forest which at times proved a little dangerous with long reeds covering the trail providing a trip hazard but it was quite a beautiful section to walk through, although a few times I did feel a little confined. Thankfully there were a few opportunities to peak out and see the views, giving you some indication of high high you had climbed. Because it had been raining the trail was quite wet and in many areas made the granite ascent quite slippery although it definately was not as wet as it could have been as the stream that flows along side was not running, just a little damp.
Thick carpets of damp moss covered the granite slopes like a big rug and play such a pivotal part of this healthy ecosystem.
But it was the vibrant depth of the green Peat Moss that really captured out attention. It almost gave us a bit of a rainforest like feel as we walked through this next section up to the exposed granite.
Before long we found ourselves as the next exposed rock slope which was quite a steep to scramble over however to the left you will see a trail marker where you can continue on too and walk along a thin edge up and around the large granite boulders where you walk a further short distance through a reedy section up to the summit.
We made it, 670m above sea level and beat the clouds:)
Now the section you see in the pics below has created a bit of confusion as some people had said that the summit of Devils Slide is Marmabup Rock however I had always thought that next major granite peak actually was. The Friends of Porongurup also seem to refer to the same and the map of Porongurup National Park indicates that too with Bates Peak then to the right of Marmabup Rock. The topographical lines on a good map also reflect this but I have confirmed with the Friends of the Porongurup Range that the peak of Devils Slide is Marmabup Rock. Bates Peak is then straight out (shows on LHS on pic below) and Manyat Peak to the west (RHS).
Amazing views from this location but similar to Bluff Knoll the weather can change in an instant. In fact I had read some history on the Porongurups that mentioned that whilst Aboriginal tribes had lived in the plains around the Range for tens of thousands of years before European settlement, it is believed that they never or very rarely moved above the plains, largely because of the often inhospitable weather and the absence of useful resources in the forests of the region or on the often bare peaks.
Because the weather was rolling in we didn't venture past the summit but given we are moving there in a few weeks I will no doubt have plenty of opportunities to explore and will blog accordingly.
On turning around and heading back down the Stirling Ranges are visible to the North and on the right is Morgans View and Nancy Peak which were blanketed with thick cloud within minutes of taking these pics.
As this is a return trail you take the same path back to where you started. The downhill was slower for us, it's funny how you don't notice the big step ups in sections until you have to step down. Some of the granite areas were a lot slipperier going down and then the horrid steep descent back to Waddy's hut, well a piece of cardboard would have been handy about then and you could literally slide right down.
Hopefully I haven't scared you off and this post inspires you to visit and if so, we would love to hear your thoughts on the trail. Please feel free to tag us in your adventures. Don't forget the Devils Slide Trail can be accessed from the Tree in the Rock Carpark on Borongurup Rd and can be added to the Nancy's Peak Circuit Trail so plenty of options there for you all.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Nyoongar people & wish to acknowledge them as traditional owners paying respects to their Elders, past & present, and Elders from other communities who may be here today.