Serpentine and Jarradale, small country towns are approximately an hours drive from Perth in a south east direction. Kitty’s Gorge is a scenic walking trail through Jarrah forest linking these two areas.The trail can be started or finished in Jararadale opposite the cemetery or at the picnic area within the Serpentine National Park.
With other short walks and mountain bike trails, this area is an ideal spot to explore over a few days. There is BnB accommodation along with the Serpentine Holiday Park.
Facilities in Jarradale consist of a petrol station, general store, hotel and public ablutions block. Whereas at Serpentine there is a petrol station, general store, bottle shop, medical clinic and a public ablutions block. Within the NP there is a grassed picnic area and ablutions block along with the local kangaroos!!!
Being around 8.5 kms in distance there is opportunity to return walk (17kms) the trail or park cars at either end and walk one way. If parking in the National Park a NP pass is required as the gates close at 5pm.
There is adequate signage but with the trail being well walked it is very distinct making it easy to follow. Information boards outlining the history of the area are also scattered along the trail. Trails WA can be googled for a map or a printed map can be obtained from the Old Post Office Museum in Jarradale.
Bridges and steps have been constructed along the way where necessary. Depending on which direction you are walking the ascent out of or decent into Serpentine NP is steep with loose gravel covering the trail. The granite outcrops decorated in patches of moss along the way make for some enjoyable rock scrabbling anytime of year but are very slippery when wet.
Following the Serpentine River and Gooralong Brook the terrain is fairly easy to transverse. There are a couple of undulating areas that are more challenging and the trail surface does have some rocky sections, tree roots across the trail and loose gravel.
In addition Stacy’s Loop is 1.9 kms through Jarrah woodland following and crossing the Gooralong Brook at the Jarradale end.
Baldwins Bluff, a 6km return walk leaves from the picnic area in the Serpentine NP. The clearly defined trail elevates steeply over fairly rough terrain. At the summit the views of the Serpentine River Valley awaits walkers.
The trail can be walked all year round. During the summer months the river, waterfalls and brook will most probably be dry. On total fire ban days expect the trail to be closed. Generally in autumn there is no water flowing unless there has been late rainfall in the season. The dry river and brook beds give opportunity to explore and appreciate the rock structure and colours. For full appreciation of the raging water flowing through the river, brook and waterfalls then winter is the season to visit. During the spring the bush is a wildflower paradise and generally water is still flowing.
*Stacys Loop/Kittys Gorge to Serpentine NP/Waterfalls
Starting from Jarradale after the information board we veered off along Stacy’s Loop following the Gooralong Brook. Walking through Jarrah forest some fallen trees left us marveling at the trunk girth and root structure. Continuing on, the trail entered a sparse open area that was originally a popular campground. Now only remnants of old buildings remain standing. Passing through a section of pine trees the trail continued on through the forest. Being a warmish day we appreciated the canopy of branches with dense foliage filtering the sun rays.
Crossing over the Gooralong Brook on a wooden bridge we paused for a moment and viewed the dry brook featuring rocks of varying sizes and shapes. We could only imagine the spectacular cascade of water raging through crashing in amongst the rocks. Alighting the steps taking us to higher ground our gaze fell on many granite outcrops.
On reaching the dry waterfall area we scrambled down into the gorge and perused the rock formations, the effects of natural erosion caused by flowing water was evident. Weaving along the trail climbing up and down the moderate ascents we stopped frequently to allow ourselves to be caught up in the flora, fauna, rocks and nature in general. The bird life certainly put on a harmonious performance as little creatures darted amongst the rocks.
With the Brook merging into the Serpentine River we left the dense forest behind for more open spaces. Once across the river the historical Spencer Cottage came into view. A heritage listed early settlers cottage. Continuing on following the river the trail passed by some working farmland as we moved towards Serpentine NP. Looking for a shady spot to stop for lunch we ended up perching on a fallen tree trunk in the dry river bed.
Leaving the river bank the trail ascended to higher ground where views from above of the river valley below could be seen. Now following the pipeline for a short distance the unexpected steep descent to the NP park took us by surprise. Carefully walking down over the loose gravel we were relieved to step onto the sealed path. Wandering down to the waterfall we discovered only a trickle of water flowing over. Making our way to the picnic area we took a break before walking back to Jarradale.
Departing from the picnic area within the Serpentine NP we paused to study the information board before following along the gravel trail. A couple of trail markers pointed us in the right direction but the trail was obvious. Lying between two hills the trail ascended fairly steeply over rough rocky terrain through Wandoo forest.
On reaching the T intersection the trail marker indicated right to follow along the flat ridge to the Bluff summit. A pleasant short distance had us arriving at the lookout point where we viewed the river valley below. Other views of the Serpentine country side could be seen from the other side of the Bluff.
Making our way back we continued straight ahead at the T intersection and enjoyed the walk along gravel vehicle tracks to the NP boundary. After exploring beyond the NP boundary for awhile we headed back being aware the ranger would be locking the NP gates at 5pm.
Albeit a short day on the walking track it was relaxing and pleasant. We agreed to revisit and explore some of the other trails within the area.
Until next yarn, happy hiking
Bernadette and Ian