Windsor Rocks North Walk overview

This walk located in the Monadnocks Conservation Park provides a relatively easy alternative to the optionally longer and more challenging Windsor Rocks South Walk. The route explores the 5km length of the northern monadnock/s in the Windsor Rocks area, visiting about 8 separated granite outcrops. The walk features excellent views to high points such as Mount Cooke. The forest between the outcrops is mainly open jarrah.

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  • Main features / Highlights

    This walk is located in the Monadnocks Conservation Park and provides a relatively easy alternative to the optionally longer and more challenging Windsor Rocks South Walk which overlaps with the southern part of this route.  The route explores the 5km length of the northern monadnock/s in the Windsor Rocks area, visiting about 8 separated granite outcrops in the area. The walk features excellent views from several of the outcrops to Mount Solus (about 6-7km SW), to Mount Cooke (about 4.5km NE) and to the main Windsor Rocks monadnock (which the Windsor Rocks South Walk route traverses) about 2km east of this walk route. In winter to spring some of the outcrops in this area are especially picturesque with broad coverings of mosses and lichens and small rock pools and rivulets of water on the granite.  The forest between the outcrops is mainly open jarrah.

    Expect some short sections of scratchy heath and scrub around the outcrops. There are a few short outcrop slopes to climb but there is not much uphill walking in this walk.

    For overnighters: If keen to camp overnight in the area consider combining part of this walk with an overnight stay at the Mount Cooke Campsite (which includes a 3-sided shelter) perhaps including an early morning return walk from the campsite to Mount Cooke summit before rejoining part of this walk route. The Mount Cooke campsite is on the opposite side of Albany Highway from this walk area, so crossings of the highway are necessary, but the linkages between the walk route and the campsite can be as short as 4.5-5km. See Route notes and Nearest campsite/s below for more info.

  • Route notes

    Head about eastward from the start point (at waypoint ‘START’) across a gentle valley floor through open forest with remnants of  timber from logging (in what was once State forest but is now part of the Monadnocks Conservation Park). After about 250m cross an old, overgrown forestry track and continue up a very gentle slope to reach the lower edge of a west-sloping outcrop at ‘3’. Climb the outcrop to ‘3-1’, gaining views back to the west to Mount Solus about 7km SW.  Continue approx. eastward upslope, initially through fringing heathland, before re-entering forest at ‘3-2’. Cross a gentle hilltop and descend for a short distance to reach (at ‘4’) another outcrop. Head SE-ward to the upper edge of the gently sloping outcrop near ‘5’, then pass through heathland via ‘5-1’ and descend westward downslope to another granite outcrop at ‘6’.  This SW-sloping outcrop provides another good view to Mount Solus. Turn right to head SSE across the outcrop. Pass through more heathland via ‘6-1’ and cross another smaller outcrop. Re-enter forest and head along slope through the open forest for about 400m via ‘7’ to reach a small flat outcrop surrounded by heath. Veer southward along the patchy outcrop and through heathland (via ‘8’, ‘9’, ‘9-1’ and ‘9-2’ and ’10’) and re-enter forest at the southern end of this chain of small outcrops to cross a hill top (via ’11’). Veer SW to cross the hill top and then continue down the hillside through forest. Cross an old forestry vehicle track at ’11-1′. Veer southward to soon reach (at ’11-2′) the northern edge of a long (approx. 500m), fairly flat outcrop. Continue southward across the outcrop to about ‘12’, then turn left to walk SE along the outcrop (passing small rock pools and water courses in winter).  At ‘13’ veer approx. south, initially through heath, and gently uphill, to re-enter forest near ’14’. Veer SE through forest (which may include patches of possibly dense parrot bush if there hasn’t been a prescribed burn for some time). Ascend a slight  slope  to cross the crest of a broad ridge then descend via ’14-1’ to reach an eastward-sloping outcrop (at ’15’). This outcrop is about 1.5-2km short of the halfway point on the walk, but is a good spot for a break, unless you are needing some shade. There are excellent views to Mount Cooke, 4.5km NE, and across the valley to the main Windsor Rocks monadnock, 2km east of this walk route. Then head southward, upslope from the outcrop, to re-cross the crest of the narrowed ridge at ‘15-1’. Descend to reach a small outcrop (at ’16’). Veer SE along the outcrop for about 250m to re-enter forest (at ’16-1′). Continue SE to ’17’ through open forest and close to the crest of the stony laterite-capped ridge. Then veer approx. SSW to head down the hill side for over 500m to reach (at ’18’) the valley floor and the overgrown ‘Old Bibbulmun Track’ (which here followed an old logging railway route before being abandoned when the Bibbulmun Track was re-aligned to the eastern side of Albany Highway). Follow the overgrown track SW, close to an area of scattered wandoo trees. The track branches left after about 250m at about ’19’ toward an old timber bridge which is largely concealed behind shrubs partly blocking the north end (- you may need to search a little for the bridge!). Cross the bridge over the stream (a tributary of the Serpentine River), taking special care not to step onto partly rotten timbers (or alternatively you may prefer to cross the stream itself via a track just west of the bridge). Then continue to follow the old track on the south side. After less than 200m (at ’20’) meet a junction with Patens Road (now a vehicle track but originally also part of the old railway system that connected through to Jarrahdale in the late 1880s-early 1900’s during the peak logging days.)  Follow Patens Road westward for about 700m and pass the site of an old timber loading platform on the left hand side of the road (near ’21’. Sadly most of the remaining historic timber structure has been destroyed by burns in recent years). Turn right (NE) to leave the road and find a suitable point to re-cross the nearby stream (previously crossed at the bridge). Then head a short distance upslope through forest to reach a small outcrop (at ’21-1′). Cross the outcrop and pick a NE-ward route upslope through fairly thick low shrubs (check for ticks!), cross another small outcrop and re-enter forest. Reach a cluster of large boulders at ’22’. Veer left and head northward via ‘22-1’ across gently undulating terrain, through fairly open forest, and arrive at the southern edge of a larger outcrop at ‘22-2’. Pass through the fringing heathland onto the outcrop and walk north along the outcrop to ’22-3’. Then veer right to pass through a belt of heathland to reach the upper slope of the outcrop. Head NW along the outcrops and back into forest at ’23-1’. Continue along slope through a short section of forest to reach the start of a large west-sloping outcrop at ’24’.  Walk down and along the outcrop via ’25’. At ‘26 veer right (northward) and descend through mainly heath and scrub to cross a small stream course  at ‘26-1’ on the southern edge of another sloping outcrop. Continue northward via ‘27’ and ‘28’ across the outcrop and another patch of heathland,  taking in the good views over the forest to the west and of Mount Solus, 6km WSW. Re-enter the forest at ‘28-1’  and  continue northward around th hillside and then descend to cross an old overgrown forestry track at ’28-3’. Soon after cross a small gully (at ’29’), then veer left (NNW) through open forest for about 800m, crossing another narrow, deeply incised gully 200m before reaching an old overgrown N-S forestry track at ‘29-2’. Veer right to follow the track northward. The track branches at ‘30’; Follow the left branch westward to cross a N-S stream (another tributary of the Serpentine River) and meet Thorpe Road (at ’31’). Follow Thorpe Road northward for 1km to get back to the start point.

    Optional overnighter: See Nearest campsite/s below for linkages from this walk route to the Mount Cooke Campsite. Linkages between the walk route and the campsite are as short as 4.5-5km. Also see Windsor Rocks South Walk for details of a 20km overnighter walk in the combined Mount Cooke – Windsor Rocks area.

  • Access / Directions

    40km SE of Armadale,  down Albany Hwy to Solus Road on right,  then about 2.5km along Solus Road (good condition gravel road) to Thorpe Road on left. Park just before gate on old Thorpe Road, near the corner with Solus Road.

    Google Map

  • Nearest campsite/s

    Mount Cooke Campsite: on Bibbulmun Track (see waypoint ‘COOKE’). This campsite, which includes a 3-sided shelter, lies to the NE on the opposite side of Albany Hwy from the walk area, but is not difficult to combine the campsite into part of this walk route through various optional linkages. Linkages between sections of the walk route and the campsite can be as short as 4.5-5km by using various combinations of the Old Bibbulmun Track (e.g. via waypoints ‘ OB-1’, ‘OB-2’, ‘OB-3’, and/or ‘OB-4’) and old forestry tracks (e.g. ‘F-1’, ‘F-2’) west of Albany Highway, and Cooke Rd and various tracks through the Cooke Plantation on the east side of the Highway.

    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

    In east, head east to Albany Highway via Old Bibbulmun Track and other old forestry tracks.  In west, head to Thorpe Road and then north back to Start point near Solus Road.

  • Other Info.

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

    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 tile #308-2133-II-SW for relevant map coverage.

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