Three Mountains – Randall, Cuthbert, Vincent Walk overview

Not surprisingly this walk route within the Monadnocks Conservation Park is one of the most popular. It offers some of the best bushwalking in the northern jarrah forest. It includes ascents of Mounts Randall, Cuthbert and Vincent and some splendid views from these and a less-known extensive granite outcrop. Some other interesting outcrops and boulders ‘hidden’ in the forest lie along the route. The route includes 3.7km walking on the Bibbulmun Track and also visits the Monadnocks Campsite.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk within the Monadnocks Conservation Park is one of the best walks in the northern jarrah forest.  It includes ascents of Mounts Randall, Cuthbert and Vincent and some splendid views from these and a less-known extensive granite outcrop. Some interesting outcrops and boulders ‘hidden’ in the forest also lie along the route. The route visits the Monadnocks Campsite and includes 3.7km walking on the Bibbulmun Track. The walk overlaps 50% with the shorter Two Mountains – Randall, Cuthbert Walk  and in a couple of short sections (totalling about 1.5km) with the Mount Randall Walk.

    Also see WalkGPS video “Three Mountains bushwalking area, Western Australia”  for impressions of the walk area.

    Shortened (13km) walk option: Groups can do a car shuffle at the start of the walk to reduce the walk distance and also include Sullivan Rock on the route which is otherwise bypassed on the main route described here. See Route notes.

    Other shorter (9-9.5km) and/or easier walk options: Suitable for warmer weather when the full walk will not be comfortably enjoyable. See Route notes.

    For overnighters: For those keen to camp overnight in the area: The Monadnocks Campsite (which includes a 3-sided shelter; at waypoint ’26’) on the Bibbulmun Track is located after the initial 5km of the walk. Alternatively the Campsite  provides a useful opportunity for a brief rest stop during the walk. See Nearest campsite/s below for more info.

  • Route notes

    From the start point (at waypoint ‘START’) walk 200m back up Herold Road (old vehicle track) and cross Albany Highway at ‘1’. Find an easy way up the roadside embankment to enter the forest off-track. At ‘1-1’ veer northward up the hillside via ‘1-2’. Descend briefly to cross a small gully at ‘2’ at the edge of a large sloping granite outcrop. Climb the outcrop and at ‘3’ veer left (NW) to follow the upper edge along slope to ‘4’. There is a good view 13km southward to Mount Solus from the large sloping granite slab. (You will also see part of the extensive bauxite strip-mining expanding across its flanks, though impact on the terrain and the loss of mature jarrah forest will quickly be masked by Alcoa’s planting of new, juvenile replacement forest.) Turn right to ascend the steep slope up through heath near the right hand edge of the outcrop. Veer left again at ‘5’ along the upper edge of the outcrop to ‘6’, then veer upslope to ‘7’ through quite dense shrubland. Descend gently across the slope to a smaller outcrop. Cross the outcrop and re-enter the quite dense shrubland near ‘8’. Continue through shrubland upslope to ‘9’ and locate a good animal trail to continue northward. The shrubland soon gives way to open forest. Descend a gentle slope ‘via ‘10’ to reach another westward-sloping outcrop at ‘11’ where there are several large boulders. Follow the outcrop along slope and re-enter the fringing shrubland at ‘11-1’. Veer northward at 12’ to follow  the broad ridge northward through pleasant open jarrah-marri forest. Cross a small hilltop on the ridge after ‘13’ and soon descend gently via ‘14’ to a small but prominent outcrop at ‘14-1’. Follow outcrops around the hillside via ‘14-2’ and ‘15’ and then turn right to soon reach a rock ledge upslope at ‘16’. Then follow the outcrop WNW along slope to cross a small gully at ‘16-1’ fringed by quite dense shrubland. Head NW upslope and meet an old W-E forestry track at ‘17’. Turn left (east) and reach a sidetrack entry on the right at ‘18’ opposite a small informal marker cairn. (Or see Option 1 below to explore a nearby area of interesting large boulders after ‘17’.) Follow this quite distinct foot-track northward uphill (via ‘18-1’, ‘19’ and ‘19-1’) through some very nice forest. Pass the foot of a large, steeply sloping outcrop on the left and at ‘20’ turn left (westward) to climb the flank of the outcrop. Turn left again at ‘21’ to reach a marvellous vantage point at ‘22’ at the top of the outcrop just below the summit of Mt Randall. The panoramic view to the SSE across Mounts Cuthbert, Vincent and Cooke is one of the best in the Darling Range and you can see the terrain along much of the walk route from this single location.To leave the Mt Randall summit area, retrace your recent steps back past ‘21’ and continue along the outcrop to ‘23’. Then turn right down the short granite slope and follow another foot-track. The track becomes easier to follow after about ‘23-1’. It continues via ’23-2′ through open forest, initially across a very broad nearly flat area of Mt Randall’s eastern spur ridge. It then descends eastward via ‘23-3’. At ‘24’ cross an open, low-lying area bordered by dense shrubland and at ‘25’ – where the foot-track may be less distinct – pick a way through the fringing shrubland to soon reach At ‘26’ the Monadnocks Campsite (3-sided shelter) which is a good spot for a rest break.   Follow the Track from the campsite via ‘27’ and ‘28’  (The Bibbulmun Track is marked by ‘Waugal’ markers, with black ‘serpent’ on yellow background), then at ‘29’ veer left (ESE) off-track and gently upslope through fairly open, mixed jarrah-marri-banksia forest. Cross a narrow ridge at ‘29-1’ and descend via ‘30’, 30-1’ and ‘30-2’ through a small area of interesting outcrops and large boulders. Then continue ESE-ward via ‘30-3’. At ‘31’ veer left (ENE) to descend more steeply and pick a best route through a short patch (less than 50m) of scratchy shrubland. Then veer right at ‘32’, along slope and pass through another patch of shrubland to reach the edge of an extensive granite outcrop (informally named ‘North Rocks’). Climb the soil-covered edge of the sloping granite slab to ‘34’ from where there are wide views to the east across the Darling Plateau, including 23.5km NNE to the distinctive conical-shaped Mount Dale on the horizon. The route passes a nearby large boulder at ‘34-1’ and follows the upper part of the outcrop SSE for about 500m (via ’34-2′, ’34-3’, ’34-4’, ’35’ and ‘36’  and then re-enters the forest at ‘36-1’ where there is an easy way through a very short section of otherwise scratchy fringing scrub. The route then initially climbs quite steeply via ‘37’ before flattening  (through ‘38’) and veering to the SSW. At ‘39’ reach the  foot of the northern granite slopes of Mt Cuthbert and climb southward up the rock slope via ’39-1′. At the top of the rock slope at ‘39-2’ climb through shrubland to soon meet the Bibbulmun Track at ‘40’. The walk route now follows the Bibbulmun Track for 3.3km across the summits of Mounts Cuthbert and Vincent via ‘41’, ‘41-1’, ‘41-2’ and ‘41-3’. During the southward descent of Mt Vincent there are views 12km SSW to Mt Solus. During the lower part of the descent, at ‘42’, soon after re-entering the forest the Bibbulmun Track bends sharply from westward to SE-ward. At this point leave the Track to continue westward off-track down a ridge to meet a N-S vehicle track at ‘43’. (Or see Option 2  if you have opted to do a car shuffle between the Herold Road start point and an optional Sullivan Rock end point.)  Turn right to follow the vehicle track for 1.5km to the junction with Herold Road at ’44’, then follow Herold Road for about 500m to reach Albany Highway at ’45’. Turn right and walk 60m NW up the Highway then cross to the western continuation of Herold Road to get back to the  start point.

    OR see Option 3 below, for a much shorter 9-9.5km walk, bypassing Mt Randall and suitable for a day that’s too warm for a longer walk;

    OR see Option 4 below, for a walk that bypasses Mt Randall and is entirely on track walking and easier than the route described above.

    Option 1, Short detour to large boulders between ‘17’ and ‘18-1’:  Instead of turning left at ‘17’ you can opt to turn right along the track. Then at ‘17-opt’ veer NE off-track to reach at ’17-opt2’ a cluster of tall ‘sentinal’-like rocks including the striking ‘Fang Rock’. Then head westward to another large rock cluster at ’17-opt3’ and investigate the cave below one of the rocks. Continue WNW to rejoin the main route at ‘18-1’. This very worthwhile small off-track diversion doesn’t significantly add to the total walk distance., also worth a visit. This is a popular area with boulderers.

    Option 2 (13 km), Car shuffle to reduce walk distance by 1.2km and allow visit to Sullivan Rock:  Instead of heading off-track from the Bibbulmun Track at waypoint ‘42’, stay on the Bibbulmun Track and then at ’43-opt1′ follow the spur track across Sullivan Rock to its exit point at ’43-opt2′ on  Albany Highway. Cross the Highway to reach your car at ’43-opt3′ (see also Access / Directions). Apart from allowing a shorter walk, the car shuffle option also enable walkers to visit Sullivan Rock which is bypassed on the main described route above.

    Option 3,  Short 9-9.5km alternative on track walk, bypassing Mt Randall and suitable for a day that’s too warm for a longer walk: Park at the Sullivan Rock Picnic area (at waypoint ’43-opt2′) and follow the well-marked Bibbulmun Track northward across Mt Vincent to the large granite outcrop on the northern flank of Mt Cuthbert, then either
    i)  turn around and return the same way;  or
    ii) locate and descend (steeply) the old ‘Climbers Track’ down the west side of Mt Cuthbert from near the SW edge of the large granite outcrop (see map), to meet the ‘Old Bibbulmun Track’ (follows Herold Road; an old vehicle track shown on the map) and follow it back to rejoin the Bibbulmun Track near Sullivan Rock to return to the start.

    Option 4 (14.5km), for an alternative, 100% on-track walk that bypasses Mt Randall: Start as in Option 3 and continue on the Bibb. Track north from Mt Cuthbert to Monadnocks Campsite (shelter). Then return via the ‘Old Bibbulmun Track’. That option gives a longer (14.5km) total walk, but the return along the ‘Old Bibb. Track’ is easier, and the walk is all on tracks.
  • Access / Directions

    33km SE of Armadale along Albany Hwy. Good secluded parking at ‘START’ point just off Albany Highway, 200m down Herold Rd (minor, unsigned vehicle track, 7km past Jarrahdale Rd turnoff down Albany Hwy, on right hand side going south).

    Alternatively, if you have a group with two or more cars you can opt to do a car shuffle to reduce the walk distance by 1.2km (see Route notes). Leave one car at Sullivan Rock picnic area, 2.7km further south down Albany Highway from Herold Road, on the right hand side driving south. Note: Preferably for car security, do not park directly off the Highway at Sullivan Rock, but via a short sidetrack off the northern end of the unsealed access road that passes behind the picnic area (near waypoint ‘43-opt3’).  The Sullivan Rock parking/picnic area is opposite the Bibbulmun Track spur track entry at waypoint ‘43-opt2’.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    Monadnocks Campsite: A 3-sided shelter on the Bibbulmun Track (at waypoint ’26’) is located after the initial 5km of the walk. The campsite  provides a useful opportunity for a brief rest stop during the walk.

    NOTE: Bibbulmun Track sleeping shelter restrictions –  Check Overnighting on WalkGPS for info. on access to the Track shelters, especially if planning an overnight or multi-day walk for a group of 8 or more walkers.

  • Escape route/s

    Bear west or southwest to Albany Highway.

  • Other Info.

    “Bibbulmun Track, Guidebook 1, Darling Range”.

    “Monadnocks Conservation Park”, DPAW site – Unfortunately this provides no significant information and no management plan appears to exist for the Park as yet.

    “Perth Rock Climbing Guide”, Climbers’ Association of W.A., 2010 (2nd ed.) – Includes a climbers’ perspective on the granite ‘slabs’ and boulders of Mount Cuthbert, Mount Vincent and Mount Randall.

    “Three Mountains”, ‘nickleth’, 2010, on EveryTrail site.  – Two young ladies report on their experience of an earlier version of the WalkGPS route, with map and photos.

    “Three Mountains bushwalking area, Western Australia” , WalkGPS video – Impressions from the walk area.

    Trivia: What is a “monadnock”? (Click on link for answer.)

    Other map availability

    South West WA 25K Scale Topo Maps”, Greg Harewood & Landgate, 2015.  – Digital raster; ECW format on 16GB USB. See tiles #301-2133-III-NE, #303-2133-III-SE, #306-2133-II-NW and #308-2133-II-SW for relevant map coverage.

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