Ihad visited the Porongurups a few times as a kid on different hikes with hiking groups and after a lot of time spent overseas I came home with new eyes wanting to explore my own backyard a little bit more. The Porongurups are the little brother to the higher and more popular Stirling Ranges in the great southern of Western Australia but are just as beautiful and don’t see anywhere near the amount of tourists as their big brother.
Porongurup is a tiny little town with just a general store and a handful of accommodations to cater for tourists visiting the wineries and the national park. The national park is only 26 km2 but there are a number of hiking trails that lead to Nancy’s Peak, Devils Slide and Castle Rock.
Castle Rock is the most touristic hike with a big metal walkway installed so you can walk around the top of the huge rock in relative safety. It also has the best rock climbing in the ranges and brings people from all around to climb on the granite slabs. There is another part to the national park and that is Nancy’s Peak and Devils Slide.
The Devils Slide – Nancy’s Peak circuit is a 7km well marked trail just 2km from the town centre. There is a big parking lot at the bottom and is good for hiking or trail running almost all year round. The temperature is quite mild with even the highest ever temperatures being only around 30 degrees. If you go in the morning or late afternoon the most likely temp would be no more than 20 and absolutely perfect for a lap of the 2 peaks.
I started by going up Nancy’s Peak, descending to the valley and then climbing up Devils Slide, before returning and taking the Wansborough Walk back to the carpark.
The trail up Nancy’s peak begins as a beautiful forest walk before topping out on the huge granite slabs that make up this impressive range. The trail then continues up high along the granite to its high point of Nancy’s Peak. The peak is a collection of huge boulders and the views to Devils Slide and down the range to Castle Rock are amazing. If you are lucky enough to go for sunrise it really is a treat as the sun rises it illuminates the ranges and there is sometimes a mist that gathers in the valley or on the peaks.
From here the way down is quite sleep through the forest once more. You will hit the valley and then there is a sign that will point you in the direction of Devils slide. At this point you can either go up to Devils Slide or just carry on down the Wansborough Walk to the carpark.
The route to Devils Slide is very steep and if the rock is wet it becomes very slippery. Once I went up in a storm and I couldn’t see a thing, the wind was very strong so be wary of the conditions and dress appropriately.
The path to Devils Slide is marked by markers on the rock so just follow these once you pop out of the trees. The summit area is a huge granite slab and you could stay up here for ages exploring. To the east there is a phone tower perched right on top of the boulders.
From here there is no where else to go but down and back to the car. If you’ve decided to run then it is a great, short trail run that has some amazing views. And if you’ve hiked it you could have a snack on one of the summits before heading back to town for a hot coffee from the general store. Be sure to check it out as it is like going back in time.