Mount Solus Walk (Walk #23)
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|On this page:||
1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations
3) 3D map view
7) Waypoint listing and grid references
|Click on map for large version.||
View NW from west slope of Mount Solus, Oct. 2008.
Click on photo for larger version.
Using this map.
|Additional Satellite Imagery|
for larger frame Google Maps image
of the walk area.
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|For Google Earth users|
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Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'
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39 kms SE of Armadale, down Albany Hwy to Solus Road on right, then approx. 6 kms along Solus Road (good condition dirt road).
14 field kms (60% off-track)
|Degree of difficulty :||
MEDIUM (What does this mean?)
|Amount of uphill walking :||
450m (cumulative ascent)
See Google Map for start point on road map.
Caution: Solus Rd is partly mis-labelled as "Thorpe Rd" on Google Map. (Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)
Park on roadside approx. 6 kms along Solus Road near poorly marked River Road track on right and before road crosses Serpentine River (and just before old Thorpe Road track on left).
ALERT - In late Aug. 2011 a large fallen tree was blocking Solus Road about 700m from the Albany Hwy entry. A short 'off-road' detour around the fall is easily managed in a 4WD only. Don't attempt it in on-road vehicles. Presumably the road will soon be cleared.
Also look out for Heavy Vehicles which may be using Solus Road, especially with Alcoa mining activity now advancing into the Mt Solus area.
Important access issue: Walkers need to be aware that this walk area and many others on WalkGPS lie within drinking water catchment areas. In 2007 DoW in effect recommended a prohibition of all traditional off-track bushwalking activities across the entire Perth region catchment areas covering 4500 sq km, far beyond the limits of existing or proposed Reservoir Protection Zones (see map). By March 2008, the DoW had been persuaded to reconsider its published position. The new Policy of 2012 refrains from banning traditional bushwalking in the outer catchments. The community, including visitors to WalkGPS, need to remain vigilant to ensure that commonsense continues to prevail over regulatory zealotry. See also Home page: 'Access' and Related access issues on WalkGPS, and DOW's "Serpentine Dam Catchment Area...Drinking Water Source Protection Plan" of 2007.
|Escape route/s :||
Via Solus Road (through middle of walk area) or Mountain Road to west, or Thorpe Road to east (see map).
This is a nice compact walk which begins at the Serpentine River and features a traverse across Mount Solus (summit elevation 574m) which is one of the higher points in the Darling Range. There are good views from several points including toward Mounts Cooke (582m), Cuthbert and Vincent 10-14 kms to the NE/NNE and to the Windsor Rocks area (7 kms east). The route is mostly through open marri-jarrah forest and across several granite outcrops. It also crosses at least three small streams which should be flowing after mid-winter rains. In spring there is a great diversity of wildflowers on display. The steady climb up Mount Solus is not too demanding and the gradient averages only about 1 in 10 over the last 2-3 kms before the summit is reached.
Controlled burns: See DEC's 6-season indicative burn program.
Timber harvesting: Much of this walk area has been harvested within the past few years since the route was first described here. However only short sections of the original walk route have been affected by the timber waste and land disturbance from the logging operations. Parts of some of the new (or re-cleared) forestry roads have also been incorporated into the amended walk route, reducing the amount of off-track walking from the original 80% to now around 60%). - Also see the indicative 2010-2012 timber harvesting plans.
Impact of bauxite mining: In recent years expanding ALCOA bauxite strip mining operations have encroached on the southern flank of Mount Solus within the Serpentine Dam Catchment area. This expansion will likely impact directly on the walk route on this page and is a depressing reminder of the inexorable spread of State-condoned bauxite mining across much of the forested area of the Darling Range near Perth. (See also Worsley's future operations at Bannister Hill).
It is testament to the miners' superb public relations skills and resources that the public and media are generally unaware, disinterested and/or conflicted as to the huge and growing impact of bauxite mining on our forests and environment. As Roger Underwood, a former General Manager of W.A. Department of Conservation and Land Management (CALM), has said: "...there will come a time in the not-too-distant future when West Australians realise what has gone on, and the extent and cost of the ecological damage which has occurred. Then perhaps they will look back on the .... destruction of the jarrah forest by bauxite mining as one of the greatest conservation blunders in our history." (Also see WalkGPS 'Related Land-use Issues' for more information, plus 30 sec WalkGPS video.)
|Additional maps :||
WalkGPS walk map for OziExplorer users: A downloadable OziExplorer format MAP file (*.map) for this walk area is included on the Maps, Waypoints & Track Files page. The zipped folder also includes the associated 'base' topo map image file, plus other attached waypoints, tracks/routes, etc in OxiExplorer file formats.
WalkGPS reconnaissance history: Click here for a map of past WalkGPS test walks in the walk area, plus the final route. The final route was selected only after several visits to the area which aimed to achieve a walk that would be the most rewarding.
Other: Jarrahdale 1:50,000 Sheet (Dept. of CALM, 1990);
or Jarrahdale 1:50,000 Sheet 2133-3 (CALM/DOLA, 2001);
or Jarrahdale & Yaganing 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series (current) Sheet 2133-3 & 2133-2;
or Jarrahdale 1:25,000 2133-III, SE sheet (Dept. of Lands & Survey, 1984; Series R811) -available on DVD.
|Other background references :||
Route notes :
Head initially SW down Solus Road to cross the Serpentine River. Veer southward at waypt '3' to leave the road and walk uphill through forest to reach a granite outcrop on the west flank of a ridge at about waypt '4' (with nearby good wildflower displays in spring). Then continue approximately due south to '10' to reach a stream at the base of a larger granite outcrop, along the way crossing outcrops between waypoints '4' and '6', and between waypoints '7' and '8'. From '10', walk SE along the outcrop to 11' (with westward view of lower north ridge of Mt Solus), then veer NE through forest to cross a very gentle ridge and reach '12' on the eastern flank. Then veer SE and cross a patchy granite outcrop and heath (and a slope of Slender Smokebush in spring). There are good views from here to Mt Cooke (8 kms NE) and to the large outcrop at Windsor Rocks (7 kms due east). Re-enter the forest after '13'. Cross a small ridge, then walk south to cross further patchy outcrops to '14'. Then veer SE again and descend through forest and thickening Water Bush understorey to cross a stream channel at '15' (using the fallen log as a bridge if your balance is OK!) and reach a granite outcrop close by with a small cairn on the lower slope (at 'CRN'). Continue approx. SE up the outcrop and re-enter the forest to reach a ridge at '16'. Walk approx. south uphill. The ridge flattens before arriving at the T-junction of two forestry roads at '17'. Follow the road ahead which heads initially SW-ward. At '17A' when the road veers S-ward, continue straight ahead SW and off-track for about 200m to soon cross a small gully and reach a new forestry road at 'RD-NU'. Turn left to follow the road initially S-ward uphill. Meet the original road again at '18' and turn right to follow it approx. westward quite steeply uphill via '19'. When the road begins veering right, continue straight ahead on an old disused forestry track to cross Solus Road at '20' and follow another recently re-cleared forestry track uphill. The track very soon veers WNW and climbs gently along the narrow, forested SE ridge of Mt Solus. (Note: You will probably notice the strange and striking contrast in vegetation on either side of the track along the ridge. On the south side of the track, a dense new understorey of Water Bush, Bossiaea aquifolium, has become established (by 2008), resulting in a monotonous, 'monoculture' understorey which contrasts with the much more open and diverse understorey on the northern side, more typical of the original jarrah forest understorey. These differences probably reflect variations in the timing of prescribed burning and land disturbance associated with past and recent forestry operations. Water Bush also appears to have become more prevalent in several other parts of the Mt Solus area disturbed by forestry operations in recent years.) After '21' the track veers westward and then briefly SW, giving a good view to distant Boonerring Hill, 18 kms SE. The track then climbs for a short distance and then flattens onto the Mount Solus summit ridge. At '22' it veers sharply left (westward) and descends for 100m to meet another track. Turn right to follow this track on its short steep ascent to the summit area of Mt Solus at waypt '574m', close to a prominent, fenced-off fire lookout tower. (Alternatively, at '22', when the track veers west continue NW off-track in scratchy scrub and forest, and soon climb over or around outcrops to reach the summit area.) The summit area is about the halfway point on the walk and a good spot for a rest stop. There are good views to Mounts Vincent and Cuthbert (14 kms NNE) from rocks near the summit. Descend approx NNW from the summit, passing granite boulders and reaching the top of a granite outcrop at '24'. Follow the outcrop quite steeply downslope to the NW to about '25'(with some good views to the NW). At this point, it is now recommended (2008) you bypass the section between waypts '25' and '30' by heading almost directly for '31'. - See the alternate route segment, in orange on the map. Over the past few years a thickened understorey has developed over some sections of the WalkGPS walk route shown on the map, particularly between '26' and '28' NW of the outcrop (where a quite dense 'invasion' of Water bush/Bossiaea aquifolium and Karri hazel/Trymalium sp. now occurs). For an excellent alternative, bypassing that section, initially head NE-ward from '25' up the outcrop and through patches of shrubland into the relatively open forest along the ridge. Then head approx. due north along the flank of the ridge to reach the top of another large outcrop at 'NU-VU' (with a good view again to the NW). Continue north, picking a route around the large boulders at the top of the outcrop. At the north end of the outcrop re-enter forest, pass a group of large boulders (at 'RT-RK') and soon cross the crest of the ridge. Then continue for almost 1 km down the northern slope of Mt Solus through mainly open forest via 'NTH-1' and 'NTH-2' to rejoin the original route at the small outcrop at '31'. This bypass route cuts about 600m off the original total walk length.
[Alternatively if you wish to stay on the original WalkGPS walk route (in red on map) from '25' to '31', continue NW down the outcrop from waypt '25'. To avoid thicker areas of shrubland covering parts of the outcrop, soon veer westward (to the left) to stay fairly close to the small stream gully along the SW edge of the outcrop to reach '26', near the bottom and close to a stream where the outcrop is partly covered in heath. Soon after '26' re-enter the forest where you will encounter the thickening understorey on a steepish hillside. (which persists for about 300m, but is not too difficult to ). Continue approx NW around the hillside, threading a way slowly through the understorey via '27' to reach '28' on a patchy, partly heath-covered outcrop (with further good views to the NW). Veer approx NNE to pass through a short section of forest and another smaller outcrop at '29'. Continue to '30' and then veer approx. ENE through forest around the NW flank of Mt Solus to reach '31' at the small outcrop.]
From '31' head NNW down the outcrop and meet a nearby new forestry road at 'NU-RD2'. Turn left to follow the road a short way westward to the ridge crest (to partly bypass an area of recently heavily logged forest) and then head northward downhill through forest to reach a larger outcrop at waypt '31A' (with flowering Verticordia in spring). Follow this 400m long outcrop NW downslope to '32'. Veer NNE, soon leaving the outcrop after about 200m and pass initially through scrub and then open forest soon cross a gentle ridge (partly through a thickening understorey of Water Bush) before meeting a forestry road at '33'. (Alternatively, to avoid some of the Water Bush section, before reaching '33', veer NE to descend from the long outcrop, then continue NE to reach the southern end of of the forestry road at 'NU-RD3'. See second orange route segment on the map). Follow the road northward gently downhill until the road bends sharply westward (to left) at 'LVRD. Then head NE-ward off-track to soon reach another outcrop at waypt 'ROK' (with view of Mt Cooke, 10km NE). Veer approx. east and follow the patchy outcrop approx. along slope, partly through open heath, then descend through forest to reach Mountain Road at '35'. Follow the road SE to reach Solus Road at approx. '36'. Finally follow Solus Road to recross Serpentine River and retrun to the Start point.
Right click here and then "Save Target/Link As..." if you wish to download the waypoints and GPS 'track' as a GPX file in the standard format recognised by most devices and programs including Garmin and Magellan units and GPS Mapping Software. If you have a problem uploading the data, please feel free to contact me directly at WalkGPS rather than your users' forum!
The waypoints in the alternative listing below are given as UTM coordinates with datum to match the Walk Map. NOTE: If you wish to manually enter these into your GPS unit you must first set your unit to the correct Datum. Caution: An incorrect datum can result in an approximate 200m location error! (This is a very slow, error-prone method compared to using the above downloadable file and is not recommended.)
Route list :
Projection : UTM Datum : Australian Geodetic 1966 Zone : 50
Waypt name Easting Northing Comments
START 427559 6410527 Park car. Head SW down Solus Road.
2 427421 6410233 On Solus Road.
3 427137 6410147 Veer S-ward off road to begin off-track.
4 427109 6409964 Start of granite outcrops.
5 427241 6409854 On outcrop.
5A 427250 6409761 On rocky ridge.
6 427183 6409671 Approx. end of outcrop and re-enter forest.
7 427198 6409318 On outcrop.
8 427156 6409233 Re-enter forest.
9 427231 6408817 Cross old forestry track, SW-sloping hillside.
10 427181 6408672 Outcrop. View west to north ridge of Mt Solus.
11 427467 6408516 Leave granite outcrop.
12 427652 6408716 Start of section of patchy outcrops.
13 427831 6408560 On north flank of small spur ridge.
14 427850 6408267 Leave patchy outcrops.
15 428088 6408178 Cross stream channel (possibly via large fallen tree).
CRN 428123 6408162 Small rock cairn on lower slope of outcrop.
16 428349 6407945 In forest on north-sloping ridge.
17 428290 6407210 On fairly flat hillside.
17A 428110 6406972 Leave forestry road to re-enter forest.
RD-NU 427953 6406869 Meet forestry road.
18 427735 6406503 Meet foresty road at T-junction.
19 427382 6406675 On forestry road.
20 427073 6406628 Cross Solus Road.
21 426375 6406910 On forestry road on SE ridge of Mt Solus.
22 426133 6406926 At bend in forestry road.
574M 426004 6407083 Close to firetower on Mt Solus summit.
24 425919 6407227 Nr. start of outcrops NW of summit area.
25 425812 6407379 On granite outcrop NW of Mt Solus summit.
26 425552 6407510 Near stream near base of granite outcrop.
27 425363 6407760 On steepish slope in forest.
28 425303 6407947 On partly scrub-covered outcrop.
29 425390 6408151 Start of small outcrop.
30 425364 6408309 In forest.
31 425905 6408629 On small outcrop.
31A 425772 6408901 Start of larger outcrop.
NU-RD2 425879 6408710 Meet forestry road.
32 425519 6409168 Near end of outcrop.On ridge.
33 425897 6409816 Meet forestry road.
LVRD 426110 6410373 At bend in forestry road.
ROK 426173 6410415 On granite outcrop.
35 426703 6410388 Meet Mountain Road.
36 427006 6410142 Mountain Road meets Solus Road.
END1 427563 6410531 End walk back at car.
Additional waypoints on map :
NU-VU 425887 6407580 On granite outcrop on north ridge, good view NW.
NU-RK 425849 6407610 Near granite ledge at top of outcrop. West flank.
RT-RK 425861 6407707 Marri tree trunk grown around boulder. North ridge.
NTH-1 425868 6407860 On forested north slope of Mt Solus.
NTH-2 425917 6408094 On forested north slope of Mt Solus.
NU-RD3 426010 6409433 Southern end of forestry road.
VU-RK 426082 6407657 On steep granite slab on east flank, Mt Solus.
38 428178 6409441 On track, east side of Serpentine River.
39 429035 6408658 On Thorpe Road in east.
40 425019 6407874 On Mountain Road, in west.
41 425427 6409605 Also on Mountain Road, in west.
42 426209 6410747 On Mountain Road, in north.
43 426665 6409193 Granite outcrop just west of Solus Road.
44 426921 6409534 On Solus Rd., close to junction with old track.
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This page was last updated : 24 March, 2017
Site authored by David Osborne. Photographs and text are copyright © 2003-2013 David Osborne.