Western Australia is home to some of the country's best walking trails - and luckily for your furry friend, many of them cater to dogs.
Speckled with wildflowers, native fauna and stunning natural attractions, there's plenty for both you and your dog to explore along WA's many bushwalking, hiking or general walking trails - and for city-slickers, there are also many dog-friendly walk trails around Perth.
Just remember, unless you're in a designated off-leash area, always keep your dog safely restrained and stay away from areas with 1080 baits. These poisonous baits, intended for foxes and feral cats, can be lethal for domestic pets. Look out for signs warning about baits and also check the location of vets nearby so you know where to go in an emergency. To be certain, contact local shires, especially when travelling in regional areas, and also check the Western Shield Program 1080 bait location map.
Grab the pooch, the leash and your walking shoes and check out these dog-friendly walking trails from Port Denison to Pemberton.
1. The Valley Loop Trail, Lesmurdie
As one of the more secluded trails in the Lesmurdie area, the Valley Loop Trail leads you to an idyllic vantage point for the Lesmurdie Falls. On the trail you'll pass lush vegetation, patches of wildflowers, and a picturesque picnic area at the base of the falls.
It's best to explore the trail in winter or spring when Lesmurdie Brook and the stunning Lesmurdie Falls are in full flow.
2. Whistlepipe Gully, Kalamunda
Whistlepipe Gully is a reasonably easy walk within the Mundy Regional Park in Kalamunda that follows the flowing waters of its namesake gully. Starting on Lewis Road in Forrestfield, the winding path through the forest passes sets of rapids, a few rocky obstacles and an abundance of wildflowers if you complete it in late autumn or spring.
This trail is situated in the middle of residential suburbs, so there is no large parking lot for trail visitors. As such, it's important to be respectful of residents, obey the parking signs and only park where permitted - not doing so can land you a fine from the rangers who regularly patrol the area. Be prepared to park a little farther away from the trailhead if needed, and consider timing your visit on a weekday if possible, when it's a little quieter.
3. Bicentennial Walk, Boyup Brook
The Bicentennial Walk passes through bush reserves along the banks of the Blackwood River and the Boyup Brook, close to the boundaries of the Boyup Brook township. The 6 kilometre loop trail can be started from behind the old railway station, which has plenty of parking and amenities.
Expect to see plenty of wildflowers in spring along this well-kept path, and remember to pack a picnic - best enjoyed on the banks of the Blackwood River.
4. Erskine Nature Trail, Len Howard Conservation Park, Mandurah
Located on the north-western side of Peel, the 6 kilometre return Erskine Nature Trail is abundant with local flora and fauna, features boardwalks over wetland areas and also passes through the Mandurah Quays Residential Resort. The trail skirts the Peel Inlet, and offers fantastic birdwatching opportunities all year round.
Start the trail from Mandurah Quays or from Glandart Court, Erskine.
5. Luke Pen Walk, Kalgan
The Luke Pen Walk closely follows the Kalgan River and is 16 kilometres from Albany. This return walk is 12 kilometres, and offers a great mix of vegetation; with everything from marri trees to farming pastures on display.
Along the way, you can enjoy views over vineyards, pastures and bushlands. If you complete it during summer, there are some great swimming spots where the trail gently descends to river level.
6. Thungara Trail 5 - The Full Circuit, Port Denison
Thungara Trail 5 is one of several trails in the Dongara-Port Denison area. This 9 kilometre loop trail starts at the Fisherman’s Lookout, heads down to the marina in Port Denison, then along the river into Dongara.
This is a great trail for history buffs, as you'll pass the site of an 1865 Flour Mill, which is now known as Denison House and used by local arts and crafts groups. The trail also joins the Estuary boardwalk, which provides a great vantage point to spot an array of birdlife including black swans, ibises and pelicans.
7. Hill View Trail, Balingup
The Hill View Trail takes you through part of Balingup’s heritage-listed Golden Valley Tree Park. The landscaped park features collections of flora, including rare specimens, from Australia and around the world - a notable inclusion being a planted bottled tree from Queensland, which you can view atop the Bottle Tree Lookout.
The 1.5 kilometre route begins on Old Padbury Road, and a good pair of walking shoes is recommended due to a moderately steep section of the trail.
8. Big Brook Dam Walk Track, Pemberton
Just 5 kilometres from Pemberton, the easy Big Brook Dam Walk Track is 4 kilometres long and follows the dam’s shores. The dam's regrowth forest is now 60 years old and provides pure water, animal homes and a picturesque backdrop for visitors.
Access the trail via Karri Forest Explorer Drive along Golf Links Road from Pemberton. Dogs are not permitted around the beach area.
9. Collie River Walk, Collie
The Collie River Walk is a well-marked, 10 kilometre loop track that follows the picturesque Collie River. Throughout the trail you'll find great picnic facilities and information shelters, as well as a swinging suspension bridge with great views over the river.
Parking is available at the Soldiers Memorial Park, and provides easy access to the trail.
10. Karri Lake Trail, Quinninup
The 3.3km Karri Lake Trail loop traces the perimeter of Karri Lake, weaving in and out of lush forest that bursts with wildflowers each spring.
On one side of the lake is plenty of fallen logs, moss and towering Karri trees, whereas the other houses a collection of cottages that are often visited by kangaroos. Visiting at dawn or dusk will guarantee gorgeous lighting of the water seemingly blending with the trees.
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Last updated June 2021