John Forrest National Park is the first national park in Western Australia. It was originally declared Greenmount National Park in 1900 by Western Australia’s Premier John Forrest. The national park was renamed in his honor in 1947.
The park is set in jarrah forest and the vast majority of the nearly 1,600 hectares remains in its natural state. Over 100 species of native animals, including 10 mammals and 91 bird species, call the park home. The park also boasts more than 5,000 species of wildflowers.
John Forrest National Park Trails
The national park has a variety of walking and cycling trails. Trail information and the walkers’ register is located on the verandah outside the National Park Office. It is required to register your walk before setting out and upon returning.
Be sure to bring enough water with you and wear sturdy shoes and sun protection. I walked to Eagle View Lookout in flip flops, but I absolutely recommend proper hiking shoes, because there were some slippery and steep patches. At certain points along the path, we were practically rock climbing. I’m pretty lucky I didn’t end up getting seriously injured.
Also, be sure to stay on the marked paths for your own safety and the health of the park. Below is an overview of the trails in John Forrest National Park. Unless noted otherwise, the trails all start from the main picnic area near the tavern.
Many of the trails in the national park follow portions of the 41 km Railway Reserve Heritage Trail. The trail stretches beyond the park boundaries as it follows the old Eastern Railway. The nation’s main east-west railway passed through the national park from the 1890s until 1966 and had two stations in the park.
John Forrest Heritage Trail follows along a portion of the reserve trail. It is about 10.2 km and takes about three hours return to walk. It is an easy trail with some loose gravel and railway ballast. The path follows the former steam locomotive tracks, passing through historic and scenic areas in the park. Along the way, you’ll pass by the railway construction camp, the tunnel and two waterfalls.
Swan View Tunnel, which was built in 1894, was the only rail tunnel in Western Australia until the completion of Perth Underground in 2007. It is possible to walk or cycle through the 340 meter long tunnel, but advisable to bring along a flashlight. The trail to the tunnel is an easy 5 km return walk from the main picnic area.
National Park Falls Walk is an easy 2.5 km loop. The trail runs along Jane Brook to the National Park Falls. The loop takes about 1 hour. Or continue another 1.8 km via Jane Brook or the Ridge to Eagle View Lookout. But note that this portion of the hike is moderate with steep and slippery sections.
Hovea Falls is an easy 2 km walk from the main picnic area in the opposite direction of National Park Falls. Plan on about 1 hour to complete the loop. Disclaimer, the falls generally only flow during winter and spring.
Jane Brook Promenade is an easy 300 meter loop. The rock-lined trail passes around the Jane Brook Weir to a seating nook constructed during the Great Depression. The path is paved and suitable for wheelchairs and strollers. The loop starts east of the main picnic area off of the Eagle View Walk Trail and Christmas Tree Creek Trail. Allow about 30 minutes to complete the loop, but about 1 hour return from the main picnic area.
Moderate to Difficult Trails
Eagle View Walk Trail is the longest trail in the park and passes through the less explored areas of the northern end of the park. The moderate to difficult 15 km loop has some steep ascents and descents, and uneven, loose and slippery surfaces. The trail also passes by both falls and up to Eagle View Lookout with a spectacular view over the coastal plain and city. If you are lucky, you may get to see a wedge-tail eagle. It takes between 4 and 7 hours to complete the loop depending on your level of fitness.
Christmas Tree Creek Walk is a moderate 10.5 km loop. It follows along the Eagle View Walk Trail, but cuts several kilometers off by passing through the middle of the park. It also has uneven, loose and slippery surfaces with some steep sections. Allow about 4 hours to walk the loop.
Glen Brook Trail is a moderate 2.2 km loop with scenic views over Glen Brook Dam. It crosses over the footbridge where Glen Brook and Jane Brook meet. The path goes up the valley to Glen Brook Dam and has some steps and slippery surfaces. The loop takes about 1 hour to walk.
Wildflower Walk is a moderate 4.5 km loop that passes through the central eastern portion of the park. The trail highlights the colorful diversity of wildflowers found in John Forrest National Park. It takes about 2 hours to complete.
Visiting John Forrest National Park
There is an entry fee of $12 per vehicle, with some discounts available, to visit John Forrest National Park. The park has picnic tables, barbecues, shelters and toilet facilities. The main picnic area also has a tavern and cultivated gardens of native plants.
Dogs, cats, firearms and fires are not permitted in John Forrest National Park. To help keep the flora and fauna thriving in the national park, please be sure to clean up after yourself and refrain from picking wildflowers and feeding animals.
John Forrest National Park is always open. There are three entrances to the park off of the Great Eastern Highway, but the gate at the western end of Park Road is locked at 4 p.m. daily. The park is about a 30 minute drive east of Perth, making it a great day trip from the city.
Which trails will you explore when you visit John Forrest National Park?