Serpentine Falls-Kittys Gorge Walk (Walk #10)

 

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On this page:  

1) Walk map - Shows route and waypoint locations

2) Photo from walk  (also see VIDEO & Photos Gallery)

3) 3D map view

4) Google map & Satellite imagery

5) Route profile

6) Walk description

7) Waypoint listing and grid references

 

 Walk map  Photo
Click on map for large version.

Serpentine Falls.  June 2003.

Click on photo for larger version.

More photos & VIDEO.

       3D map view

     

 

  

 Google Map

Using this map.

 

 

 Additional Satellite Imagery
 

Click here

for larger frame Google Maps image

of the walk area.

-Use zoom bar

for road details.

For Google Earth users

Step 1: Left Click here

For fly-in to waypoints and route

 on image of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Step 2: Left Click here

For fly-in to 3D view

 of the walk area.

Or Right Click to

 "Save Target/Link As..."  kml file.

Hint: For enhanced 3D effect, set 'Elevation Exaggeration'

in Google Earth to "3" (via 'Tools' menu, 'Options' & 'View' tab).

 

          Route profile

 

                          

 Walk description  
Location :

60 kms south of Perth.

Length :

17 field kms (40% off-track)

(or see 10-12 km shorter walk options)

Degree of difficulty :

MEDIUM   (What does this mean?). But see Caution below.

Amount of uphill walking : 600m (cumulative ascent)
GPS-preferred : YES
Access  :

See Google Map for start point on road map.

(Use zoom ladder for detail. Select 'Hybrid' to add satellite imagery.)

To reach parking spot at Serpentine Falls car park, follow Kwinana Freeway south, then Mundijong Road east to South Western Highway. Then south on Highway to marked road on left to Serpentine National Park and Serpentine Falls.  Entry fee to the Park at is $11.00 per car. There are public toilets and picnic area a short walk from the car park.

Note: Potential alternative access is via Jarrahdale township and the former Gooralong recreation and  camping area (or Stacey's Trail), at the northern end of the walk route. However, that popular picnic area, owned by the Department of Water and managed by DEC, was closed to all visitors in September 2005 due to safety and other concerns.  Plans for a re-opening appear uncertain.

Escape route/s :

In north, from Gooralong Picnic area by road about 2.5 kms to Jarrahdale Road and Jarrahdale township.

In west, about 2.5kms via Selkirk Road to South Western Hwy. In east, Kittys Gorge Road to Jarrahdale Road.

In south, a short distance to Scrivener Road and then west about 2.5kms to South Western Hwy.

Main features

/Highlights:

There is a lot of variety in scenery and terrain on this walk which takes in most of the established Kitty's Gorge trail (Gooralong Brook) and some of the surrounding hill tops within the Serpentine National Park and Darling Range Regional Park. Splendid views from hills above the Gorge and from south of Serpentine Falls reward two steady climbs of 200-250m on dirt roads. The waterfalls are impressive after winter rains. The sections of road-walking are well broken by the off-track sections.

Part of the walk route follows Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail which was selected by DSR and DEC in late 2008 as one of about 30 bushwalking trails in WA that are to be promoted as TrailsWA "Top Trails".

CAUTIONS:

1) Degree of Difficulty - This walk is a lot more than just the Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail. Walkers with little experience and/or fitness will find the total walk too much of a challenge due to the combination of distance and terrain. A couple of short sections through denser shrublands can be frustrating and uncomfortable if you rush and miss the easy way along worn kangaroo trails! Also the Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail (despite some new signage courtesy of the "Top Trails" program) has become surprisingly neglected and somewhat overgrown in places (in Spring 2010).

2) Serpentine Falls - Walkers should not attempt to descend or climb the 15-20m high cliff at the Falls. Sadly there have been several deaths at the popular Falls (the most recently in Jan. 2011) despite DEC signs giving visitors clear warnings about the dangers of climbing on the cliff or diving into the swimming hole. The WalkGPS walk route described on this page purposely bypasses the top of the Falls due to those risks (as also does the marked Kittys Gorge Trail). 

Note: An intensive weed eradication program is in progress along the section of Gooralong Brook that runs through the former recreation area in the north. Further downstream large sections of the Brook remain severely choked  by four of the worst invasive weeds in the region:   Arum lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica), Blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), Narrow-Leaf Cotton Bush (or Swan Plant; Gomphocarpus fruticosus) and Watsonia spp.  The Cotton Bush has also intensively invaded the former farmland around Spencers' mud cottage along the walk route and now attracts large numbers of Wanderer (Monarch) butterflies (Danaus plexippus) to the area as the larvae feed on the weed (but don't control it). Watsonia is also invading many other areas at the western edge of the Darling Range, especially around the water courses that cut the Darling Scarp.

Shorter walk options (10-12kms): See WalkGPS Blog article "A late spring in the step" (Oct. 2010) which includes a summary of shorter options (mainly Kittys Gorge Trail and Stacey's Trail) which exclude the southern loop to Serpentine Falls. These are more suitable for warmer weather when the full walk will not be comfortably enjoyable.

Controlled burns:  See DEC's current 6-season indicative burn program.

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 & Yaganing 1:50,000 DEC Conservation Operations Graphic (COG) map series  (current) Sheet 2133-3 & 2133-2; 

or Jarrahdale 1:50,000 Sheet 2133-3 (CALM/DOLA, 2001);

or Jarrahdale 1:25,000 2133-III, NW & SW sheets (Dept. of Lands & Survey, 1984; Series R811) -available on DVD.

Other background

 references :

Register of Heritage Places Assessment Documentation Spencer's Cottage by Heritage Council of W.A., ca.1994.   - This contains an excellent summary of the history of this colonial homestead of Joshua Spencer and his descendants who had a long association of around 115 years with the 'Carralong' property beginning in 1860. The cottage dates from that time and was entered on the Register of Heritage Places in 1994.

City of Armadale, 1999. Heritage Country Trails - Bushwalks & Trails in Perth's "Heritage Country", City of Armadale, Armadale, WA. (ISBN 0-646-38397-3). This booklet includes brief descriptions and 'mud maps' for a few trails in the Jarrahdale area, including the 1.7km Stacey's Trail (from Jarrahdale Cemetery on Atkins Street) and the Kitty's Gorge Trail. The latter trails partly overlap with this walk. Stacey's Trail passes through a small area of beautiful virgin jarrah forest. It can easily be added as a variation  of the walk route on this page, especially if you prefer to start from the Cemetery car park at the Jarrahdale end and leave out the southern loop of the route (south of Spencers mud cottage).

Also see WalkGPS Google Map for road location map for start point of Stacey's Trail .

"Kitty's Gorge Walk Trail" (5-14 kms) which partly overlaps with this walk is now summarised on the  Trails WA website as one of the W.A. trails selected by DSR and DEC for promotion under the "TrailsWA Top Trails Project".

'Mud maps' for some of the local trails (including Stacey's and Kitty's Gorge) are also available online from the Jarrahdale Heritage Society or from the combined Jarrahdale General Store & Olde Store Cafe in Jarrahdale township.

Family Walks in Perth Outdoors, CALM, rev. edn. 2000, pp.154-155, includes a mud map and brief description for 'Kittys Track', a 4.5km on-track loop walk.

More Family Walks in Perth Outdoors, CALM, 1994, includes mud maps and brief descriptions for the following:

'The Falls Walktrail', pp.164-165, a very short (400m return) walk to Serpentine Falls from the nearby carpark;

'Baldwins Bluff Nature Trail', pp.122-123, a 6km on-track return walk to a prominent ridge just SW of Serpentine Falls, with good views across the Falls and up the valley.

Serpentine National Park Management Plan 2000-2009  by Dept. of Conservation and Land Management (CALM). - See  which also includes all map figures.  The Plan has summaries of the flora & fauna, geology, history, future park plans, etc.

"Serpentine National Park - Park Guide" and "Serpentine National Park Flora & Fauna Guide" by DEC (undated PDFs) on DEC's website also provides a brief summary of the flora and fauna, and history of Serpentine National Park

 by DEC (undated pdf; 345KB).

"Serpentine National Park"  leaflet by CALM (undated). This includes a brief 'overview' of the park including a summary of the existing trails.  -The leaflet may still be available at the booth at the Park entrance, but is apparently no longer being printed.

Also, "Serpentine National Park"  article by D.Gough et al, in Landscope magazine (CALM), Vol.11, No.2, Summer 1995-96, pp.28-35. 

Travellers guide to the Parks & Reserves of Western Australia by Simon Nevill, 2001, pp. 52-53 (Simon Nevill Publications), also includes a  brief summary of Serpentine National Park. 

Route notes :

 

Head south from the carpark ('START') and past the toilet block to follow a dirt road (via waypoints 'K1' and 'K2') which soon climbs steeply. Soon after the road crosses the stream, veer eastward off-track at LVROAD. After reaching a rocky slope at K4 turn north and locate a kangaroo trail which descends through quite thick scrub to soon cross a creek at CK1. Continue approx. north, climbing through reasonably open forest and patches of heath to reach a flatter section with good views to the NW (between VU and K7). Veer approx. eastward to reach a dirt road (at RD). Follow the road for only about 50m before veering eastward (to r.h.s. of road and climbing across a rocky laterite surface through open forest to reach (at K9) an old road skirting the northern edge of a grassed paddock.  Follow the road NE to reach a large microwave tower (which can also be seen from the entry road into the park; waypt 'TWR'). Continue NE past the tower, passing initially through a brief patch of low acacia scrub, to descend to the mainly open slope below, with large grass trees (balgas) and excellent broad views across Serpentine River valley and up Gooralong Brook valley.   This is a good spot for a morning rest stop (though no shelter if wet weather). Continue approx NE down the increasingly steep slope via waypt 'K11' (with good view to historic Spencer's mud cottage from rocky prominence) to reach grassed farmland at 'K12' on the SW flank of Carralong Brook valley.  Follow a farm track approx northward downhill to reach a gravelled road. Turn right to pass Spencer's mud cottage at 'K13'.  Soon after the cottage veer left off the road to cross the Serpentine River by a small bridge at 'K14' (and note the nearby historic bridge). Then follow another dirt road (Selkirk Road), skirting a strip of farmland above the western bank of Gooralong Brook. After about 200m veer to the right, off the road, across a grassed area at about K15 to follow the well-trodden Kittys Gorge Track north along the Brook.  After about 800m (at K16) the Track starts to climb and the Brook can be seen on the right cascading over granite outcrops. -Very impressive after winters rain! After another large waterfall (at WVROC) the track flattens out again., When the track reaches an old dirt cross-road (at K18), turn right to cross the Brook at a ford (or walk a little further on the track and cross at a footbridge which is immediately downstream of a water flow gauge station). Then follow the road uphill approx. SSE initially to 'K19', then east (via 'K20' to 'K22'), and finally a short distance north to where the Kittys Gorge track is marked leaving the left hand side of the road (at TRACK).  Follow the track approx. NE (via 'K24' and 'K25', with some good views west across the valley and to the coastal plain from a couple of rock outcrops, plus reasonable spots for  a lunch stop (halfway point on the walk  is approx. at 'K24').  The track veers eastward to meet a dirt road (just before K26).  Head north down the road, then briefly off-track to reach the Gooralong camping ground at 'KGRD'. Cross the bridge and walk approx. west up the road to 'K28', then veer left through the pine plantation to cross two dirt roads (the second at K29), re-entering forest. Then turn SW along the slope and climb slowly to meet another dirt road near the the top of the hill at 'K29'. Follow the road SW (via 'K30' and 'K31') and then west (via 'K32') to a small gully (at K33). Then veer left off the road and after about 200m head approx. south through open forest to 'K35', with views east across the side-valley. (In spring, keep a look out for the White Spider Orchid along this section of the walk.) Then descend a ridge and take time to pick an easy route through thickening scrub (after K35A) to cross a small stream and soon after meet Selkirk Road at 'K36'. Turn left to follow the Road back down to Gooralong Brook ('K15') and past Spencers Cottage again ('K13'). 

[An alternative more interesting route back to the Cottage from 'K36' if energy levels are still high is to turn right and walk about 150m NW up Selkirk Road and then take the dirt road on the left, and follow it south steeply uphill to obtain views to the east, then continue south to 'K36A', 'K36B', 'K36C' along the ridge, with nearby farmland to the west. Then descend quite steeply off-track to 'K36C' and then NNE back to 'K14' to cross the Serpentine River at the footbridge.]

From 'K13' follow the road (via 'K40' and 'K41') and then the marked Kittys Gorge Track (via 'K42'), approx WSW along the south side of the Serpentine River. After about 1km below Spencers Cottage past 'K43' the track veers to the left SW-ward up the hill away from the river  to meet the road again (near 'FENCE'). (Note: Before leaving the river bank the track passes a small, old concrete dam wall across the Serpentine River which forms a swimming hole. On a hot day this can be a great place for a cool dip near the end of the walk!) Then follow the road for only about 100m before following a track on the right (at P-L) steeply downhill  alongside the water pipeline . Then cross the River via the pipeline pedestrian bridge (to 'PIPE') to get back to the Start point at the carpark.  Before leaving the park, make sure you visit Serpentine Falls which is only about a 3 minute walk from the carpark.

 

 

 Waypoint listing

 

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!

Also see WalkGPS Maps, Waypoints & Tracks page for downloadable MAP files, plus GPX and Google Earth (KMZ) files. Also see explanatory notes on file formats and how to upload to your unit.

If you require another format you will need to convert the downloaded file using GPS Visualiser (online) or freeware such as GPSBabel.

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        406496  6418131   Start point. Serpentine Falls carpark.

K1           406428  6417970   Onto dirt road south.

K2           406584  6417540   On dirt road.

LVROAD       406646  6416797   Leave road to commence off-track.

K4           406867  6416770   On rocky, scrub-covered slope.

CK1          406868  6416849   Cross creek.

VU           406921  6417219   View to NW.  

THYPT        407036  6417354   Patch of Thryptomene heath.

K7           407141  6417495    

RD           407405  6417548   Meet dirt road. Turn left onto road.

K9           407604  6417557   Meet another dirt road at edge of paddock.

TWR          407844  6417738   Microwave tower.

K11          408018  6418043   On steep south flank of Serpentine River valley.

K12          408257  6418178   Meet farm road.

K13          408011  6418739   Spencers mud cottage.

K14          407992  6418944   Cross Serpentine River (footbridge).

K15          408051  6419040   On dirt road.(Kittys Gorge trail soon on right).

K16          407917  6419874   On Kittys Gorge Trail. Cascades come into view.  

WVROC        408439  6420083   Waterfall over large granite rock. 

K18          408922  6420434   Cross Gooralong Brook at ford.

K19          408712  6419793   On dirt road.

K20          408507  6419680   On dirt road.

K21          408660  6419632   On dirt road.

K22          408971  6419698   On dirt road.

TRACK        408984  6419758   Kittys Gorge Trail on left hand side of road.

K24          408925  6419962   On Kittys Gorge Trail.

K25          409313  6420338   On Kittys Gorge Trail.

K26          409641  6420430   On dirt road (road turns north).

KGRD         409595  6421209   At Cooralong camping ground. Cross bridge.

K28          409548  6421317   Leave dirt road.   

K29          409301  6421204   Cross dirt road.   

K29A         408995  6420968   Reach another dirt road.

K30          408759  6420758   On dirt road.

K31          408510  6420643   On dirt road.

K32          408230  6420759   On dirt road.

K33          407928  6420787   Leave road.

K34          407721  6420734    

K35          407616  6420278   Veer downhill.

K35A         407730  6419985   In scrub/heath above side-creek.

K36          407687  6419845   Meet Selkirk Road. Turn left (SE).    

K37          407845  6419665   On Selkirk Road.

K15          408051  6419040   On Selkirk Road.

K14          407992  6418944   Re-cross Serpentine River at footbridge.

K13          408011  6418739   Pass Spencers mud cottage again.

K40          407883  6418388   On gravel road.

K41          407667  6418355   On gravel road.

K42          407318  6418484   On Kittys Gorge Trail, near Serpentine River.

K43          407049  6418192   Turn left to follow track uphill near fenceline.

FENCE        407047  6418121   Fenceline meets road.

P-L          406913  6418107   Leave road to follow pipeline downhill.

PIPE         406610  6418168   Arrive at carpark after crossing pipe bridge. 

Additional waypoints on map:

PICNIC       409733  6421492   Gooralong Picnic area (now closed).

K_NTH        409732  6421420   Alternate northern start point for walk.

ROCS         409345  6420838   Rock outcrop in Kittys Gorge.   

ROK          407778  6420567   Outcrop on narrow ridge(nr'K34',K35')

SELKRK       407002  6420255   On Selkirk Road in west.   

K36A         407512  6419264   On dirt road on ridge west of Gooralong Brook.

K36B         407621  6419077   On dirt road on ridge west of G. Brook.

K36C         407625  6418902   South point on dirt road west of G. Brook.

K36D         407807  6418626   Just north of Serpentine River.

FALLS        406840  6418199   Approx. position of Serpentine Falls.

SCR_A        406802  6416531   Dirt road sth of Falls meets Scrivener Rd.

SCR_B        407083  6416758   On Scrivener Road in south.

SCR_C        407384  6416845   On Scrivener Road in south.

 

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This page was last updated  :   15 June, 2013

 Site authored by David Osborne.  Photographs and text are copyright  2003-2013 David Osborne.