By: Tatum Stafford
Luckily for local dog-owners, Perth is home to an array of beautiful walking trails, tracks and loops that are begging to be explored by four-legged friends.
Spanning from easy inner-city strolls to epic hikes in the Perth Hills, there's a trail suitable for dogs of every breed across our capital city – as well as plenty of dog-friendly walks in WA.
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 check the location of vets nearby so you know where to go in an emergency. To be certain, contact local councils and shires and also check the Western Shield Program 1080 bait location map.
So if you’re keen to hit a trail a little closer to the city, here are 10 of our favourite dog-friendly walking trails in and around Perth.
1. Noble Falls Walk Trail, Gidgegannup
Located in Gidgegannup, this pleasant 3.6-kilometre loop starts at the Noble Falls picnic area (with plenty of parking available), and follows the Wooroloo Brook past Noble Falls. The best time to complete this walk is in winter or spring, when local wildflowers are in full bloom or winter rains keep the falls flowing.
It should take around 45 minutes to complete the well-marked trail, and no bushwalking experience is required – so it’s a great spot for young kids or families. Plus, dogs are allowed off-lead, as long as you’re watching them at all times.
After your walk, stop in at the popular Noble Falls Tavern or head on to Toodyay, a quaint country town perfect for a pub lunch or afternoon stroll. Or if you’d rather relax by the water, bring a packed lunch to enjoy in the Noble Falls picnic area.
2. Kwinana Loop Trail
This winding, 21-kilometre loop trail makes its way around the outskirts of Kwinana with brilliant views of Cockburn Sound. As there are a few hills and twists on the trail, it’s a great option if you’re hoping to give your dog some challenging exercise. The Chalk Lookout is a noteworthy attraction on the trail, with almost 360-degree views of the Kwinana Industrial Strip, the city, and lush surrounding bushland.
As the trail was originally designed for walkers and mountain bikers, you’ll need to keep a close eye (and a leash) on your dog to ensure it isn’t in the way of anyone wanting to pass. Also, keep an eye out for snakes near the wetlands area.
3. Zamia Trail in Bold Park, City Beach
Leading through natural bushland with epic views of both the city and the ocean, this 5.1-kilometre loop can be accessed via the Reabold Hill carpark on Scenic Drive in City Beach. Comprised of compacted limestone, the trail has a few hills and features beautiful wildflowers in springtime. There are plenty of benches dotted along the trail that are perfectly positioned to display incredible views.
The trail should take around an hour and a half to complete, and dogs must be kept on a leash at all times. The trail partially overlaps a horse-riding trail, so keep a close eye on your dog when you see horse-riding signposts.
If your pup’s eager to cool off post-walk, there happens to be a dog beach a mere five-minute drive away at South City Beach on Challenger Parade. There are dog water bowls, plenty of sand to run around on, and a few beachside restaurants and cafes perfect for a drink or bite to eat.
RELATED: 7 of Perth's best dog beaches »
4. Whistlepipe Gully Trail, Kalamunda
This 3.5-kilometre loop follows a flowing river that runs along large granite outcrops, offering superb views of the Perth CBD in the distance. Nestled within the town of Kalamunda, it’s a beautiful track from July to November when the river is fast-flowing and local wildflowers are in bloom. Begin the walk at the northern end of Lewis Road in Forrestfield, where you’ll walk along the right-hand side of the creek, continue up a hill, and then return the way you came.
The track has a few steep hill sections, rough surfaces and steps, so a bit of bushwalking experience is recommended. Keep your dog on its leash, and given the trail-head is in a suburban street with no designated parking lot, make sure you only park where permitted. There are rangers who regularly patrol the residential area around the trail, so to guarantee yourself a spot, consider visiting on a weekday when it’s quieter, or prepare to park a little further away from the trail-head.
5. Star Swamp Heritage Trail, North Beach
The vast Star Swamp Bushland is a 96-hectare reserve – and the popular 1.4-kilometre walking trail within it is a popular option for dog-owners and walkers. Leading through dense conservation bushland, this on-lead route winds through bird-watching hotspots, a diverse range of plant life and picturesque wetlands.
If you’re completing the trail in summer, try and visit early as there isn’t a lot of shade cover along the track. Also, keep an eye out for snakes, and make sure your dog is on a leash at all times.
6. Bells Rapids Walk Trail, Brigadoon
Known for being one of the best vantage points for the annual Avon Descent, the 2.5-kilometre looped river walk at Bells Rapids combines countryside views and coastal plains on a picturesque, dog-friendly trail. Along the way, you’ll spot stunning wildflowers (notably, fuchsia grevilleas), plenty of vibrant birdlife and perhaps a few grey kangaroos.
As with other trails that pass falls, it’s best to visit after winter rains when the rapids are in full flow. Alternatively, if you’re visiting on a hot day, bring spare clothes and a towel to have a splash in the peaceful river. There are a few off-lead sections of this trail – so keep an eye on signposts to ensure you’re following the trail rules.
7. Sixty Footy Falls Walk Trail in Ellis Brook Valley Reserve, Gosnells
The 2.1-kilometre looped climb to the top of the stunning Sixty Foot Falls provides magnificent views of the city and the picturesque Ellis Brook Valley. A visit to the falls in late winter or spring will reveal why the reserve is so renowned for its wildflowers – and if you’re hoping to catch the falls in full flow, be sure to visit after a heavy period of rain.
This is a Grade 4 hike (and the toughest walking trail within the reserve), so bushwalking experience is recommended. Tracks are long, rough and quite steep, and directional signage is limited, so do your research on the route before arriving. If you’ve got a smaller dog, be prepared to carry them over particularly steep or muddy sections.
8. Lake Gwelup Walk Trail
Located in the picturesque Lake Gwelup Reserve, the off-lead, dog-friendly walk trail around the lake is around 2.5-kilometres long. The starting point of the track is limestone and bitumen, and there are a few grassy areas along the way that are perfect for playing fetch or letting your dog have a run around (under your close supervision).
The trail will be shared with cyclists and other walkers, so be sure to give them plenty of distance if they need to pass you and your dog.
9. Lake Monger, Wembley
The 3.5-kilometre loop around Lake Monger is a great, dog-friendly option for those who live a little closer to the city. The picturesque lake has rich historical ties to the Noongar people who were the traditional custodians of the lake – and today, you can learn more about this historical significance by reading the interpretative plaques places around the lake.
There are several trail entry points (and car parks) located around the lake. There’s a dedicated off-lead dog exercise area on the edge of the lake closest to Leederville, but your dog will need to be kept on-lead for other sections of the lake’s walking trail. When on the trail, make sure your dog doesn’t drink the lake water as it is quite contaminated – if your dog is thirsty, you'll find a water fountain and dog bowl on the west side of the lake.
In warmer months, keep an eye out for snakes around the lake. If you see one, stand still and if possible, lift your dog. If your dog is too big, hold its leash tight to make sure it can't run in front of you. Keep a careful eye on the snake to make sure it has left the pathway before you continue walking.
10. Trigg Bushland Reserve
If you’d prefer to walk a little closer to the coast, opt for the 3.5-kilometre loop trail through the Trigg Bushland Reserve. This off-lead, well-established trail is surrounded by dense bushland that is filled with native plants and beautiful wildflowers in springtime. It’ll take you close to 40 minutes to complete the trail.
Though it’s currently an off-lead trail, it’s essential to pick up your dog’s droppings, stay on the track to protect the bushland and natural environment, and keep your dog under control at all times.
Want to tackle some dog-friendly walking trails further afield?
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Last updated: July 2021