Nothing beats taking your dog on a good hike. You’re outdoors to enjoy some fresh air and get your legs moving and the heart beating. Here are nine dog friendly walks in the Perth metropolitan area that you and your best friend can enjoy together. Each walk has something different to offer whether it be stunning views, beautiful wildflowers, natural bushland or discovering some of Perth’s history.
#1 Noble Falls – a Loop Bush Walk Around the Falls
High in the hills of Gidgegannup, Noble Falls is a stunning 3.6km waterfall walk. Stroll along Wooroloo Brook to the falls. The falls might be at their best in winter but early spring puts on an impressive display of yellow wattles, blue Leschenaultia, orchids, grevilleas and hakea.
After all the bush walking, enjoy your picnic lunch in a shelter located close to the carpark. If you didn’t bring lunch, you can always head across the road to the dog-friendly Noble Falls Tavern.
#2 Whistlepipe Gully Walk – With House Ruins to Explore
If you aren’t a fan of too many steps on your walk or your dog is getting on in years Whistlepipe Gully is an ideal walk. Located in the Mundy Regional Park in the Shire of Kalamunda, it’s a walk that most people of any level of fitness can do.
Start at Orange Valley Road in Kalamunda and take the path down the hill until you reach a small bridge. Follow the markers along either side of the track to the ruins and back. Its 3.5km length takes you through bushland, past small waterfalls, granite formations and even the remains of a heritage house. Stop and enjoy the views across the coastal plain to Perth.
Whistlepipe is best enjoyed in winter when the waterfalls and creeks are gushing or spring when the wildflowers are out.
#3 Ellis Brook Valley – Be Wowed by the Sixty Foot Falls
Perth doesn’t have too many waterfalls to boast about but Ellis Brook Valley deserves all the adulation it can get. Sixty feet of falling water is impressive for a city as dry as Perth.
Ellis Brook has a trail for everyone (and every dog) from the 500 metre loop Easy Walk Trail that can be done in no time to the moderate Eagle View Trail and the difficult, steep 2 km long Sixty Foot Falls Trail. For those wanting even more of a challenge there is a 9 km walk trail between Ellis Brook and Bickley Reservoir.
The falls trail might test you, but it’s worth the effort because it takes you to the top of the stunning falls with views of the city going up and the old Barrington Quarry coming down.
Keep an eye out for the wildlife. The Wandoo Woodland is a popular nesting and feeding spot for birds and there is a mob of kangaroos that call Ellis Brook Valley home. The Rushton Road area in Martin is one of the richest and best wildflower locations in Perth so a spring visit will impress.
#4 Jorgensen Park Walk – Old Fairways for Furry Friends
When the Kalamunda Golf Course left Kalamunda for its new home in Forrestfield in the 1970s, Jorgensen Park Walk took its place.
The 2.7km walk is graded 2-3 so, while it’s a moderately easy loop walk, it may not be for everyone. At the height of winter there may be a trickle of water in the creek. When the wattle trees are out in flower, their bright yellow display looks magnificent against the bush backdrop.
If you are short on time, the walk starting at Mundaring Weir Road should take you less than an hour but you can always do another loop if your dog still has energy to burn.
#5 Bold Park – City and Sea Views
With 437-hectares of bushland reserve, there is no shortage of space at Bold Park. You will be surprised at just how big the park is considering how close it is to both the City and the beach.
Nestled close to the heart of Perth in Floreat, Bold Park has several walking trails to take on a long dog walk. The trails through the reserve offer stunning views of the city and coast, in particular from the Reabold Hill trail. You can take one longer loop trail which takes most people a few hours or choose do do smaller sections.
For more information about Bold Park and its guided walks, birds and heritage, download the brochures before you go on your walk. The signage and markings are good so it’s easy to find the right car park and the section you want to do. Dogs need to be kept on their leash but it’s a very popular walking area for local dog owners.
An amazing location with great views, Bold Park is worth a visit!
#6 Railway Reserves Heritage Trail – Choose Your Starting Point
You and your dogs will all need to be fit to cover most of the Railway Reserves Heritage Trails. The full loop walk - a massive 41 km - isn’t possible to do with your dog because it passes through the John Forrest National Park where dogs aren’t allowed but there are still plenty of dog friendly walks to be done.
Most parts of the trail are accessible by road so pick up a trail brochure from the Mundaring Visitor Centre and choose your starting point on the map which shows elevation and distance.
There are many reserves along the way with picnic facilities and also plenty of cafes so choose your section of walk if you think it will be a thirsty day. The Railway Reserves trail covers a huge area so check out the map and find a trail that suits you and your dog. You could go back regularly and do a different section every time!
#7 Bells Rapids – River Action on the Avon
Bells Rapids is one of the best known locations in the Avon Descent, WA’s white water race that’s held every August. The Avon River knows how to turn on a show after good winter rains.
Your dog will love a good walk and sniff around the river and rocks. The fast flowing water is best seen in winter and spring. Weekends leading-up to the race can get busy with competitors testing their skills.
There are two trail options: the 2.5km River Walk is relatively easy and will only take an hour for most people. The Goat Walk is a 3 km bush walk with a steep ascent and descent so is a harder trail but well worth it for the views if you’re feeling up for it.
Bells Rapids has plenty of picnic areas, lots of parking and good toilet facilities so it’s perfect for a whole day out. Take a picnic to enjoy on the tables or find a warm rock down by the water’s edge.
#8 Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Track – Discover Perth’s Early Transport
Jarrah and wandoo bushland line the disused timber tramway built way back in 1872.
Starting at the corner of Nettleton Rd and Jarrahdale Rd, the 8km Jarrahdale Railway Heritage track takes in views of small creeks, boulders and views of the hills. Start the trail at the information bay 1 km west of Jarrahdale and follow it to the old Balmoral POW Camp.
Look out for old railway sleepers and historic trail markers along the track which forms part of the Munda Biddi Trail.
The Gingagup Brook is a highlight on a warm day - the dog and kids can have a paddle while you stop for lunch. Look out for stunning wildflowers in spring/summer and the beautiful blackbutt trees and tree ferns all year round. This is a great area to take in the stunning Western Australian bush and it’s so close to Perth.
#9 Lesmurdie Falls – Stunning Waterfalls and Views
Another magnificent waterfall, Lesmurdie Falls has to make the list. Following winter rains Lesmurdie Brook falls over the Darling Range Escarpment creating an amazing backdrop for several walks of varying lengths and difficulties. There are a number of different walking options at Lesmurdie Falls:
The Falls Trail is a 45 minute casual walk of 640 metres while the Shoulder Trail is just over double the length and a little more challenging. The popular Lesmurdie Brook Loop is around the same length and takes about an hour. The Foot of the Falls Trail is 2 km return and The Valley Loop Trail is 3 km return.
The Mundy Regional Park is 22 km east of Perth and is an ideal family friendly park for dogs and kids of all ages. Take a picnic along to enjoy at one of the shaded tables.
Tips for Safe Walking
Some of these walks aren’t a stroll in the park. They need a little planning to make sure you and your dog stay safe.
Keep Your Dog on Their Lead
Even if your dog is friendly with other walkers and dogs, it’s best to keep them on the lead at all times. Many of these locations are dog friendly but do require that your dog is on a lead. You never know if you will encounter someone afraid of dogs or another dog that isn’t as well socialised as yours. Don’t forget, even if you’re out in the wilderness, you still need to clean up after your dog.
Watch for Snakes & Baits
A lead also stops your dog wandering off where they are at greater risk of eating a 1080 bait or being bitten by a snake. Both can be deadly to your dog even with emergency vet care. Snakes are a risk any time you walk in the Australian bush, particularly in the warmer months. It’s a good idea to stick to the walking trails and read up on snake bite first aid so you know what to do if a snake bites you or your dog. Ideally carry a snake first aid kit during the warmer times of the year and know how to use it. It’s nothing to stress about but just be aware in case the worst happens.
Hot Weather Walks
Remember to take along water bottles for you and your dog. If it’s a hot day, take care on hot surfaces so your pooch doesn’t burn his paws. Walking on a footpath or stone trail in the middle of the day in summer is probably going to hurt your dog’s feet! Test it with the back of your hand, if it’s too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for a dog’s paws.
Early morning is the best time for summer walks. Walking in the midday sun also puts your dog at risk of sunburn and overheating. Be sure to slip, slop, slap yourself even if it’s an overcast day as you are still at risk of sunburn.
Just because some dog friendly trails border or run through national parks, dogs and other pets aren’t welcome. Pets can disturb the native wildlife and carry disease. Many national parks in WA aren’t safe for dogs because of the Western Shield program that baits the European red fox and feral cat to reintroduce native mammals to areas they have become extinct.
Many regional parks and state forests around WA allow dogs to visit and even camp with their owners. You can use the WA Parks and Wildlife Service Park Finder to search a region for parks that allow dogs.
Enjoy Double the Health Benefits
The health benefits of getting out in nature are well-known and proven by research. Spending time in the outdoors can improve your mood, reduce depression, lower blood pressure and in the long-term lower your risk of cancer and heart disease.
Owning a pet also has its own health benefits. This article lists 10 mental health benefits of caring for a pet. The number one benefit of owning a dog is your increased motivation to get outside and be active. Patting a dog or cat actually reduces anxiety and stress because it releases oxytocin in your brain and having a pet reduces loneliness and isolation - two of the biggest contributors to mental health problems.
So, choose a destination and get out there for a walk with your dog next weekend! They’ll love all the new sights and smells and you’ll feel great as well!