Bluff Knoll, Stirling Range National Park, WA
Where: Bluff Knoll, Stirling Range National Park, West Australia Distance: 6 km (round trip)
Time: 3-4 hrs return, 1.5 hr to summit, 45 min to parking lot Trail Rating: Moderate to the saddle, easy from the saddle to the summit. Views: Immediate
Stirling Range has other bush walks, like Mt. Trio (which did look appealing), however Bluff Knoll provides enough to satisfy a hot weather hike and view envy. Start early in the morning to avoid the heat and humidity. We started at 8 am and returned to the parking lot before noon. On our way down we did pass hikers struggling with the noon heat and humidity, some only carrying a 500 ml water bottle, others with nothing. Tropical rainforest hiking is definitely more taxing! Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, and a hat. Also, be prepared for sudden changes in weather at summit. There are warnings at the trailhead and saddle informing hikers to turn around if unprepared for sudden weather changes at the top.
From the parking lot, the summit of Bluff Knoll towers above, ready to be conquered. Bluff Knoll is not a difficult hike. From the parking lot to the falls/creek the trail gently rolls upwards. From the creek there is a moderate uphill for about 1.5 km to the saddle and stairs make this section of the hike easier, but it is tiring. There are plenty of views of the range along the way, which make for nice rest stops when the humidity and stair climbing become too much. The occasional breeze from the valley is enough to urge you forward. Kilometre markers inform you how far you've walked, which is encouraging, or discouraging (for some). Once you reach the saddle, the hike gets easier and the views of the range and surrounding countryside are eye candy. The breeze coming over the mountain is welcome, cool and refreshing. A few more encouraging km markers (only this time counting down meters to the summit) and information boards about vegetation and wildfires dot the trail to the summit.
The summit to Bluff Knoll is worth the hike up! 1095 m above sea level provides unobstructed views of the entire range and countryside. There is even a good possibility you'll get to sit in a cloud or watch the mist crawl over the top. Maybe you'll even encounter some climbers on the summit wall. Stay and soak in the views before the walk down.
Bluff Knoll is the favourite and most travelled hike of Stirling Range NP and it's clear why. The parking lot for the trailhead is easily accessible from the main highway. The track is well maintained and fairly easy to walk. The views are incredibly rewarding. And really, how awesome is it to stand on top of one of the highest mountains in West Australia?