Start Point: Off Stirling Range Drive, Stirling Range National Park
Distance: 3 kms
Duration: 2 – 3 hours
The Stirling Ranges are definitely one of my favourite places to explore in the South West of WA! At 847m ASL, Mt Hassell is one of the smaller peaks of the Stirlings, which makes it a great candidate as a beginners or even family friendly hike. The Mt Hassell trail is quite open, easy to follow and can be broken into three sections, each with its own summit and impressive views.
This moderately difficult 3km/2-3hr trail starts off gentle as it snakes up a series of scree switchbacks. On the approach to the first summit, the trail begins to steepen and become more of a climb, the scree turns into larger rocky steps and things get even more fun. From here, the trail descends momentarily followed by a steep incline through thick bush and a vast variety of wildflowers unique to the Stirling Range National Park. Arriving at the top of the second peak, you will be rewarded with an impressive view of the final summit and the scramble ahead.
The last section is a tricky scramble up a vertical rock face that requires a lot of caution, especially if the rocks are wet. However if the challenge seems too difficult, I found an alternative route (accidently) by turning left at the rock face and following it around the ridge, there is a small, less tricky climb involved, which was a much more manageable approach with my seven year old daughter joining me on this adventure. From here, you will spot the trail marker on the summit and in a few short minutes arrive at the rock cairn that marks the peak.
Mt Hassell provides spectacular 360 degree views of the Stirling Ranges from the summit, but in particular Mt Toolbrunup, which is so almighty in comparison (and a brilliant day hike). Once you have filled your quota of summit exploration, retrace your steps back down the trail.
It may be short, but it is definitely sweet and what I love most about Mt Hassell is that you are almost always surrounded by amazing views. As we did this trail in the late afternoon, watching the sunset as we made our descent was quite magical, and sharing the experience of climbing a mountain with my daughter definitely made Mt Hassell a memorable hike Off The Beaten Track!