Why should you be looking for dog friendly hikes in Perth? Well there are two things in life that we know make you feel good:
- One is hiking (obviously)
- The second is our dogs!
You’ll often hear us talking about the benefits of hiking. This is because we experience it all the time and we want to share those good vibes with others. Aside from exercise, hiking literally (as in proven by science) reduces stress levels.
We get an endorphin boost from hiking hills. We get a dopamine boost from overcoming a challenge, and we get a serotonin boost just by basking in nature.
Spending time patting and playing with our dogs increases our oxytocin (also known as the love hormone) levels – and theirs! Honestly, who doesn’t get a laugh out of their dog’s goofy playfulness?!
All of these wonderful hormone releases heal our bodies, reduce pain, make us more present and help us sleep better.
So why wouldn’t you want to spend time out on the trail with your four-legged BFF?
DO’s and DON’Ts of Dog Walks in Perth
There are a few things you need to know before you and Fido hit the trails. These do’s and don’ts will keep not only you and your dog safe but also the local wildlife.
Things you should DO
Choose Dog Friendly Trails
Walk your four-legged friend only on approved hiking trails. This will help you and your dog avoid getting into trouble.
There are many dog friendly hikes in Perth and we’ve listed our favourites – plus more – below.
Keep your dog on a leash when hiking
Your dog may be friendly with other walkers and dogs. However, it is best to keep them on the lead at all times – not just in leash areas. This will ensure the safety of your pet and others. Being off lead can get your pooch into some serious trouble including:
- snake bites;
- attacks by kangaroos;
- bites from bobtails (the suckers don’t let go!); and
- most importantly, baits laid out by conservation management.
Keeping Fido on a lead also protects the trail path itself. Free roaming dogs can widen the track and encroach on wildlife habitats. Fido can also track the soil borne bacteria, dieback, into uncontaminated areas and unintentionally kill more trees. Let’s do our best to preserve our amazing bushland!
Pick up poop on your walks
As hikers we all do our bit to keep our landscapes free of rubbish. We “leave no trace” and even pack out our own used toilet paper. We do this for ourselves, so as dog owners why wouldn’t we do the same for our dogs?!
You may think your dog’s poop will decompose and not affect the environment. Unfortunately, your pooch’s poop brings with it microbes and bacteria not naturally found in the micro environments around our trails. This can easily affect/infect the natural microbiome of the area.
Oh and by the way bobtails will eat dog poop! Urrgh!
As responsible owners we have to pick up poop when we walk our dogs at the park or the beach anyway. Trails are just as important, if not more – so pack it out and leave no trace!
Watch for snakes and baits around trails
Having your dog on a lead also stops it from wandering off the trails. Wandering off, they might encounter a snake or worse, 1080 baits.
The Western Shield program uses baiting to reduce fox and feral cat numbers in conservation areas. They lay out dried meat sausage baits containing the poison 1080 which is very attractive and very deadly to dogs. So be aware if you see a 1080 warning sign.
Snakes are a risk any time you walk in the Australian bush, especially during the warmer months. Sticking to the trail path helps you keep an eye out for snakes. Ensuring your dog is on lead you’re in a better position to keep it well away from the bitey end.
Bites usually happen around a dog’s mouth, the head, the front legs, or even the chest. Keep your dog quiet and calm and get it to a vet as soon as possible. If the vet is some distance away, apply a pressure bandage to the wound site if it’s accessible.
Take water for both of you
Water is an essential part of any hikers kit, no matter how short the hike may be. If water is essential for us, it’s essential for your dog! If your pooch is unable to stop panting it can be a sign that he’s too hot and very thirsty.
Grab a bladder for you and a big water bottle for your furry friend. You can find collapsible water bowls that don’t take up much room in your pack.
Things we recommend you DON’T do
Don’t take your dog into National Parks
We can’t stress this point enough: National Parks are a big NO NO!
While we know national parks have some absolutely amazing trails, we just can’t take our dogs on them. There are some good reasons for this:
- The sight, sounds and smells of dogs can cause native animals a lot of stress. This in turn can scare them away from homes leaving their young unprotected.
- Controlling foxes and feral cats often involves laying 1080 baits.
- It is an offence to bring an animal onto Departmental (CALM) land and they have big fines ($2000).
Where can you hike with your dog?
Regional parks are part of the urban landscape, keeping the bush in the city. Perth’s regional park system spans from Joondalup in the north. They stretch down to Port Kennedy in the south, and inland to the Darling Range.
You’ll often find gates and signs on the side of the road signifying a trail on Regional Park land. Most Regional Parks are dog friendly and you’ll find the trails are normally short and easy.
We’d still recommend keeping Fido on a leash. Even if only to prevent kangaroo attacks (assuming Fido decides to give chase), snake bites and 1080 baits.
State forests are government owned land. The government uses this land for timber harvesting estates, water catchment protection areas, and public recreation areas.
Western Australia was the first state to stop logging old growth forests. This resulted in a lot of our State Forests being converted into Conservation Reserves or National Parks.
While it’s ok to take your furry friend to a State Park, just check to make sure it still is! If it’s been changed to a National Park – well, just remember those hefty fines!
But let’s take all the do’s and don’ts out of the equation. We’re going to show you our fave doggy trails where you can take Fido with no worries at all.
OTBTs Favourite Doggy Trails
Fave #1 – Whistlepipe Gully
Located in Mundy Regional Park in the Perth Hills, is the Whistlepipe Gully Trail. This is a stunning 3.5km hiking trail that commences at the end of Lewis Rd in Forrestfield. There is only a small car park here and in Winter and Spring the trail is very popular. Unless you’re early, expect to be parking a couple of hundred metres down the street.
The scenery on this hike is very pretty. Lush green foliage, paper-bark trees and a variety of wildflowers line the banks of the gully.
Enjoy the sound of the water cascading downstream. Here you will come across a granite outcrop and the ruins of an old house. This house has been built right on the edge of the gully. These ruins are quite intriguing and definitely make this short family friendly & dog friendly trail very unique!
Fave #2 – Jarrahdale Railway Heritage Trail
The 1872 Heritage Railway Trails is 10km return trail starting from Information Bay on the corner of Nettleton and Jarrahdale Roads. The trail features old railway sleepers, historic trail markers, vistas and picnic spots. There are lovely views through the valley as it follows the creek. And of course, it’s dog friendly.
Fave #3 – Sixty Foot Falls
This 2.1Km loop trail is perfect for the beginner hikers and it’s also dog friendly.
The trail is short but steep to the top of Sixty Foot Falls. On a clear day you will be blessed with views of the Perth city skyline in the distance.
A short walk through the bushland will lead you to the Old Barrington Quarry. Here, huge granite cliffs surround a manmade lake and despite a bit of graffiti it is quite picturesque! The start point is on Rushton Rd, in Ellis Brook Valley.
Fave #4 – Point Peron Coastal Trail
The Point Peron Loop Trail can be accessed from the carpark at the end of Point Peron Road in Rockingham.
This is a 2.5km loop trail with some beautiful coves and look-out points to explore. You will also find the ruins of WWII batteries and bunkers originally built to defend the coastline and Garden Island. This walking trail is family and dog friendly.
Other Dog Friendly Trails
There are 5 walking trails you can explore here to get your dose of waterfalls and cascades. These trails vary from 640m to 3kms, with the Valley Loop Trail being the longest.
Setting off from Falls Rd car park there is a fantastic trail information board. This provides a map and list of the trails, with duration and level of difficulty. Dogs are welcome on all of them.
Bells Rapids, Brigadoon
Bells Rapids is a great beginner trail and is both family friendly and dog friendly! This hike provides spectacular scenery with views over the Darling Scarp, Swan Coastal Plain and into Walyunga National Park. In winter, lush green riverbanks and rocky rapids are the perfect place to stop for a picnic.
This 4.5Km loop trail commences at the end of Cathedral Ave. The trail links the 1.5Km Riverwalk Trail and the 3Km Goat Trail.
The official start point is just after you cross the bridge over the Swan River. Make sure you stop and admire the fierce waters churning during the winter months. From here, turn left for the gentle Riverwalk Trail, or turn right to tackle the steep but rewarding Goat Trail. We highly recommend the Goat Trail.
Noble Falls Walk Trail, Gidgegannup
This 3.6 kilometre walk along the Wooroloo Brook is pretty all year round. The wildflowers are in bloom in the spring and the waterfall is stunning in winter. The walk adjoins a reserve, which is home to many birds and other wildlife.
The trail starts from the Noble Falls Tavern on Toodyay Road and follows along Wooroloo Brook past some stunning waterfalls. Noble Falls trail is dog friendly and there are also picnic facilities, public toilets and car parking available.
Kwinana Loop Trail
A winding 21km loop trail, the Kwinana Loop Trail makes its way around the outskirts of Kwinana. This trail has amazing views of Cockburn Sound. There are a few hills if you and your fur friend need some challenging exercise.
Don’t miss the Chalk Lookout either. It has almost a 360-degree view of the Kwinana Industrial Strip, the city, and lush surrounding bushland.
The Loop Trail has numerous entry points throughout Kwinana, making it easily accessible for all who visit. There are several walk/cycle access trailheads along the trail. Car parking is available at Thomas Oval, Sloan’s Reserve, WellaRoad Park, Kwinana Train Station and Sandringham Park.
The hills and twists of the Loop Trail make it perfect for mountain bike riding as well. So be sure you keep your dog on a lead in case of overtaking bikers.
Lake Gwelup Walk Trail
The Lake Gwelup Walk Trail begins at the Lake Gwelup Regional Open Space on Lagonda Drive and then leads through bushland.
The 2.5km off-lead, dog-friendly walk trail is shared with cyclists and other walkers. For this reason, be sure to give them plenty of distance if they need to pass you and your dog. The water in the lake can be hazardous, so make sure your dog doesn’t ingest any on your loop.
Spectacles Aboriginal Heritage Trail, Kwinana
The Spectacles have great opportunities for bird watching. Along the way you will find interpretive signs which explain the story of traditional life as told by a Nyoongar elder. There is also a bird hide located in the wetlands.
The 4.7km long Aboriginal Heritage Trail is a loop trail that circuits a wetland lake.
The Biara Boardwalk Trail starts from the McLaughlain Road car park (on the eastern side of the lake system). Walk along this trail to the Biara Bird Hide. The trail then heads to a 130m boardwalk that leads into the centre of a shady paperbark forest.
Dogs on leads are welcome but care needs to be taken. Snakes are occasionally seen on the path so watch for these.
Most of these trails are short hikes that can be done in a morning or afternoon. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be packing essentials, even for the trails closer to the city.
Grab your small backpack to store water, sunscreen, snake bite kit – and don’t forget the doggy water bowl and treats.
Happy furry hiking 🙂