Mt Cooke is the highest peak in the Darling Ranges and is definitely my favourite! Unlike its buddies Mt Cuthbert and Mt Vincent, Mt Cooke features around 3km of trail along the main ridge of the summit and spectacular views in all directions. Within the first 5 minutes of this trail you will find yourself ascending up the South side of the monadock and will be immediately impressed by large sloping granite outcrops and giant boulders. If you are lucky enough you will even find the elusive Mt Cooke Cave and be able to leave a note in the ‘Cave Book’ like we did (hot tip: the cave is on the South side of the ridge, look for the ‘split boulders’ that face East).
This 10.5km/4hr loop trail will take you along the Bibbulmun Track over the peak until you reach the Mt Cooke Campsite, from there it is a relatively flat 6km through Jarrah Forest back to the start point. Be prepared for possible changes in weather; the summit ridge (especially on the south) is quite exposed and can get quite cold and windy.
The Mt Cooke Loop Trail was a real surprise, with so much to discover along the ridge of the summit, I will definitely be back to explore more!
Directions to start point: Heading South, 16.5kms past the Jarrahdale Rd turn off along Albany Hwy turn left into the Mt Cooke Pine Plantation down a gravel track. When you get to the end (T-junction) turn right and follow this gravel road (Cooke Rd) for 1km. There is a small carpark on the left, park your car here.