Bluff Knoll is the highest peak in the Stirling Ranges, located in the southwest of Western Australia. The summit peaks at 1095m above sea level. The views from the summit are just magical.
It is listed as one of Australia’s 25 best hikes ~ Go WA!
It is one of the only places you can experience snow in WA and this year alone we have had the heaviest snowfall seen in recent years.
Location: Chester Pass Rd, Stirling Range National Park, Western Australia 6338
Cost: $12 to enter National Park
Fitness level required: Moderate fitness level, most of the paths are clear and smooth but some are rocky and require climbing. Lots of steps and ascent does get steeper on approach to the summit.
Suitability for children: We decided on hiking Bluff Knoll without our children. It is not pram friendly. Due to sudden weather changes and difficulty of the hike, carrying infants in a carrier could possibly be dangerous. Teenagers with a good level of fitness could perform the hike, accompanied by an adult. Young children simply would not cope with the climb.
The National Park, however, is bursting with other places for children to endlessly explore!
Weather: The weather on Bluff Knoll can change quickly, temperatures are known to drop suddenly and the wind chill can be harsh, especially on approach to the summit.
What to wear: Layers, layers and more layers. We wore thermals as a base, followed by a sweater and then a rain proof jacket to cover us. During the climb you may feel the need to strip down, we recommend bringing a backpack big enough to carry extra clothing.
Wearing a warm hat was luxury, our ears suffer first with the cold and we lose heat through our heads.
Hiking boots are a must, thermal socks are also highly recommended. You will be crossing running streams of fresh mountain water, please ensure boots are waterproof.
What to bring: Backpack, lots of water, snacks and a teaspoon of enthusiasm. Being enthusiastic about reaching that magical summit will make for a more pleasurable hike. We really enjoyed the feeling of personal achievement when climbing that final ridge.
Distance: 3.1km to summit
Duration: Prepare for a 3-4 hour return hike, longer if fitness level is low.
Where to park and toilets: The toilet (yes one toilet) is located at the start of the driveway into Bluff Knoll, located to the right of the Bluff Knoll cafe.
The car park is located at the foot of the mountain and accommodates a large number of cars.
In winter, when snowfall exists, the mountain is suddenly swarmed with people wanting to see the snow. The park rangers advised us that during these times there may be a 2-3 hour wait to enter the car park and the ascent will be very busy with people climbing.
Full of beans and enthusiasm we began our ascent up this magical peak. Before climbing you will take a flat walk down at very long path, leading to the foot of the mountain. It gives you time to reflect and admire the sheer size.
The initial part of the climb is mostly a dirt track, you will cross some rocky streams and may possibly get wet feet (hence why we recommend waterproof hike boots).
Once you start to climb you will start to see steps, lots of steps and quite steep. The paths are marked with yellow markers and at each km you achieve you will see signs advising you the distance to summit
Along the way you will have lots of photo opportunities, the Stirling Ranges will be off to your right and will remind you of how vast this terrain is.
Take as many breaks as you need, as you ascend higher the air becomes thinner and colder. Just stop and relax when needed, enjoy the serenity.
Once you reach the distance of 1km from the summit you will enter the ridge part of the walk, it starts to level off for a while as you approach from the back of the mountain. This is where the wind starts to increase and you really start to feel the effects of the cold. Not long now, and you will be standing at the summit, with feelings of sheer joy and achievement.
Wow, wow and more wow!
The moment you say to yourself “it was SO worth it”
The summit is made up of a large collection of huge rocks. A path will lead you around. If you are feeling brave then we recommend just sitting on one of those rocks and absorbing the sheer beauty of the views. Be very careful not to get too close to the edge, for obvious reasons. Again, the wind can suddenly change and mist can abruptly form.
The descent is less physically demanding but can put more pressure on bones and joints. Take your time and hike down at your own pace. Parts of the descent can be steep and slippery so please take care. I personally had sore knees for the next two days!
We would participate in the hike again in a heartbeat. We thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the thrills. Hiking in a group is a great way to share the experience with others, enjoy some humour and bounce off each other’s energies.
Linds and Tash xx
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