Location: Glen Brook Trail, John Forrest National Park
Distance: 2.2km loop
Trail Marker: Blue Triangle
Duration: 45 minutes - 1 hour
Cost: $12 per car, park entrance fee
Date Hiked: 3rd January 2018
Kml Map File: Please click here.
I have been a frequent visitor to John Forrest National Park since I was a child but I had never explored the area surrounding the Glen Brook Dam. Santa gave me the 'Family Walks in Perth Outdoors' book for Christmas and this trail is the first one under the Perth Hills section so my daughter Sophie and I decided to hike it as part of our Mother/Daughter adventure day. With the heat coming on quite early on these hot summer days we made sure we got to the park by 7am and were surprised to find many others had the same idea, although they were exploring the more popular trails such as the Eagle View Trail, so we were super lucky to have the Glen Brook one all to our selves. Now, you do have to be cautious heading to the park out of hours as one of the entry points has a gate blocking it which leaves people thinking the whole park is closed but there are two other main entrances you can enter from so just be aware. If your heading towards the park from Midland, it's the first entrance that is gate locked, the other two further up are accessible at all times though. The park entrance station is very rarely manned, (usually only on weekends) but they have a self serve ticket machine where you can pay your entry fee. Only $12 per car with all fees going towards the up keep of the park, and they sure are doing a great job at improving the area.
The Glen Brook Trail starts and finishes at the main picnic area opposite the Jane Brook Bridge and is marked with a blue triangle. Leaving from the north-west corner you cross over Glen Brook via a stone footbridge and head along side the brook. Being summer, there was no water in the brook, in fact I don’t think there would have been much water in there at all this year as even Jane Brook was dry for most parts. We hadn’t been hiking for too long before we came across an old 1930’s picnic shelter. These shelters are nestled throughout John Forrest National Park, this one was overlooking another picnic area on the other side of the brook, accessed by a small bridge.
We continued on the narrow windy paths rising slowly up towards the dam, nothing too strenuous, just a beautiful hike through the woodland of marri, jarrah, wandoo and the Balga trees were in abundance. I still can’t believe I had never visited this area before, such a lovely trail to walk along, so vibrant and tranquil.
We then reached the Glen Brook Dam wall and were welcomed with crystal clear water, apparently no good for swimming though due to bacteria. The Glen Brook Dam was built in the 1960’s to provide additional water supplies for the park, I believe it still serves the parks water requirements but has also been used to fight local fires. Following along the western side of the dam we came across a beautiful granite outcrop set right back amongst the trees. We spent some time here admiring the beauty wondering how many thousands of years old the outcrop must be.
Continuing on to the southern end of the dam we crossed over Glen Brook via a small bridge, although Sophie had fun jumping across the stepping posts that would have been previously used. We stumbled across a couple of small kangaroos, heard plenty of much larger ones but we were clearly too noisy as we only ever heard them jumping away. The trail then rises again over a small ridge as we make our way back to the dam wall. Offering elevated views of the dam, this little section was really quite special to walk through. Once again Balga Trees lined the path as it meandered closely to the dams edges. We paused here for awhile perched by the dam edge on some rocks, immersing ourselves in our surroundings, in awe of the serenity of the area.
We reached the dam wall, which could also be a starting point for anyone wanting an even smaller walk, and Sophie tested her rock climbing skills on another beautiful granite outcrop before we then descended down back onto the trail again through burnt jarrah forrest, a result of some recent burn offs. I actually really love walking through areas like this. The variety of colours in the regrowth is always quite spectacular. Made our way over a few more small bridges and we were back at the start. It took us 1 and half hours but we really immerse ourselves in nature so our time is always longer then most.
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this trail, nothing too strenuous, just an easy going short hike, great for families and beginners. The ideal time to visit would be in late winter, early spring when the brook is flowing and wildflowers are out in abundance but honestly I feel that it has so much to offer that anytime of year would be just as beautiful.
Hopefully 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.
We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we walk, the traditional lands of the Whadjuk 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.