A cloudy afternoon a few months back in late July was a beautiful time to walk the 15km Eagle View Trail in John Forrest National Park, one of the best bush walks in the Perth Hills. The idea was to watch the sun set behind the Perth skyline from Eagle View Lookout, but that didn’t quite happen as we reached the lookout about an hour before sunset. Nevertheless, the scenery was beautiful in the yellowish light late in the afternoon as we neared the lookout and the end of the walk.
Eagle View Trail – Anticlockwise
Distance: 15km circuit
Time: 3.5 to 5 hours. On the walk described and photographed here it took us 4.25 hours with 2 breaks.
Official Trail Brochure With Map: Click here for the PDF to print or save on your phone. or pick up a copy from the Ranger at John Forrest National Park
Registration: Register at the DPAW Ranger’s office at the John Forrest main picnic area at the start and finish of your walk on the Eagle View Trail.
Cost: It costs $12/vehicle to drive your car into the main picnic area in John Forrest, the official start point of the walk.
Detailed Trail Notes and Photos
1. Through the Picnic Area and Along the Heritage Rail Trail Towards Hovea Falls
Walk down hill from the carparks, tavern and DPAW building, through the picnic area and across a small footbridge over the Jane Brook. From here walk up onto the John Forrest Heritage Trail, a raised gravel pathway along what once was a railway line. For an anticlockwise circuit of the Eagle View Trail as described here, turn right (east) and follow the heritage trail a short distance towards Hovea Falls. Look out for Eagle View Trail signage.
2. North Along Management Track
Before you reach the falls, the Eagle View Trail branches off to the left from the Heritage Trail and heads up a short steepish hill. This first section follows wider gravel management tracks through jarrah/marri forest. Although it trends up hill for quite a distance, reaching the highest point on the walk quite early about one-quarter of the way round the circuit, this section is very easy walking. During the wild flower season colourful peaflowers, especially the dark purple hovea, and other wild flowers such as leschenaultia, Swan River myrtle and wattles line the track.
A short way along the first uphill section if you look back and to the right you’ll see the huge expanse of mossy granite that the Hovea Falls cascade over.
Keep an eye out for signage along this section, and look out for the intersection with another track where you turn left. We missed the turn and had to backtrack. The signage is much easier to follow if you instead do the walk in a clockwise direction, especially in this first section along the management track.
3. Point A Sign to Scenic Woodland Viewpoint
By the time you reach the “A” sign (corresponding to A on the official trail map brochure) the track has narrowed into a walking only trail. It enters into mixed open woodland with some beautiful wandoo trees and climbs along a ridge alongside a valley up to a picturesque viewpoint on a corner, where you can see the city skyline framed by the valley and wandoo trunks.
Scenic Viewpoint on the Corner
This is the first of two scenic lookout points where you can see the city (the other one being the Eagle View Lookout towards the end of the circuit). It’s a pleasant spot to stop for a rest, and we sat down on the fallen logs for an afternoon tea break. The weather was hazy and overcast and the distant views faded, but I still tried to get some photos of the Perth skyscrapers.
4. Heading North Along the Ridge and Down the Hill
The trail rounds the corner and climbs slightly before descending quite steeply along the edge of another valley through a picturesque area of wandoo trees and grass trees.
There are some strikingly beautiful wandoo trees along this section of the trail, plus views across the valley to the next ridge (which you’ll be walking along back the other way later on in the hike). Two seasonal muddy tributaries of Christmas Tree Creek are crossed over, and at the second one you take the left fork in the track.
5. Management Track Up Onto the Next Ridge
Down in the valley the trail then rejoins a management track and climbs up the other side of the valley through mainly jarrah/marri forest. There were lots of bright yellow wattle bushes in bloom along the side of the track in late July.
At the T-junction at the top of the track, turn left. This is point B on the trail brochure map, and approximately half way around the Eagle View Trail circuit.
6. South Along the Christmas Tree Creek Valley Ridge
The trail heads south, high up along the opposite side of the valley to before. The track is narrow and fairly level at first, before descending down along the valley before the crossing of Christmas Tree Creek. I really enjoyed this section with its open vistas across this wide and densely forested valley that runs north-south through John Forrested National Park. The views were especially beautiful with the late afternoon sun lighting up the far side of the valley.
7. Along Christmas Tree Creek
When it’s wild flower season, the views just keep getting better and better!
The track turns to the right, crossing the creek and continuing to follow the course of the Christmas Tree Creek Valley. This part of the valley is set on a high plateau of quartzy ground, sparse trees and granite outcrops surrounded by hillsides, covered in a dense meadow of low heath vegetation that in July was already abloom with a good variety of wild flowers. The main flowers at that time of year were the cream coloured Trymalium “karri hazel” and other tiny white flowers that in combination together look like a dusting of light snow across the landscape. Bright indigo-purple hovea peaflowers stood out against the backdrop of dark green foliage and tiny white flowers.
When I did the trail again a month later the wild flower display was more showy and varied with the bright primary colours of yellow wattle and pink peaflowers, but I actually thought it more beautiful in the late afternoon light in July with the millions of tiny white flowers that were very fragrant (gave me allergies, actually!).
The low shrubbery allows for beautiful views of the entire valley while you’re walking through it, with granite outcrops, grasstrees and lone wandoo trees standing out like sculptures.
After a while the trail turns to the left and climbs down then up a short, steep section (back on a wider management trail) leading through some wooded areas to an interesting granite outcrop atop a hill where the trail turns right.
8. Eagle’s View Lookout
Very soon you will round a bend and see the granite tors and boulders of Eagle’s View Lookout on the edge of the escarpment, for which the walk trail gets its name. The lookout is a spectacular spot looking down across the western edge of John Forrest National Park to the foothills and Swan Coastal Plain below. In the far distance you can see the skyscrapers of the Perth CBD, looking very tiny. Perth airport is directly inline with the lookout and it’s interesting to see just how huge and spread out it is. Planes are taking off and landing constantly (and most likely flying overhead), and although most are too far away to see them in detail you get quite a good view of them.
We reached Eagle View Lookout a bit before sunset and we did not end up watching the sunset from the lookout as planned. But even still, the sun was very low in the sky and the light was just starting to take on a golden sunset glow that lit up the granite beautifully. The atmosphere over the city was a bit hazy that day so it was difficult to make out any details in the view.
9. Down to Jane Book Valley
I didn’t enjoy this beautiful section of the walk as much as I should have because we’d been walking for what felt like ages (only 4 hours though!) and it was getting dark. A steep descent down laterite clay and pea gravel plus a few big steps down boulders takes the trail down to the valley floor alongside Jane Brook. It then follows Jane Brook along its north side past huge granite outcrops covered in moss, dense swordgrass and shrubbery that forms tunnels over the trail in places. Here and there you get good views of the brook, which flows downhill to the west in a series of small rapids, cascades and shallow pools.
10. National Park Falls Back to the Start at John Forrest Picnic Area
The trail climbs to the top of the rocks that National Park Falls tumble over in late winter and spring. You can take a couple of short detours to look at the falls from the base of the falls or on top, or cross over to the easy walking John Forrest Heritage Trail that will also take you back to the picnic area. One of the best views of the falls is from a short distance west down the Heritage Trail.
Continue following the Jane Brook back to the start point at the John Forrest picnic area along either the narrow winding Eagle View Trail on the north side of the brook or the broad, flat Heritage Trail on the south side.
More Bush Walks beginning at the John Forrest National Park main picnic area:
- John Forrest Heritage Trail (part of Railway Reserves Trail)
- Walk west to National Park Falls
- Walk west to Swan View Tunnel
- Walk east to Hovea Falls
- Walk east to Parkerville
- Glen Brook Walk Trail
Last Updated: 19th November, 2015.
First posted on 12th September, 2015 by Bonny.
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