Take on the challenge of Bluff Knoll, the highest mountain in Southern WA. Reach the summit and be above the clouds with incredible 360 degree views, a truly one of a kind and jaw-dropping experience.
We’ve put together this guide to let you know everything you need to know about the Bluff Knoll hike trail so that you can conquer it. We share information such as; how long the Bluff Knoll hike is, how hard the Bluff Knoll hike is, the best time to complete the Bluff Knoll hike, how much the Bluff Knoll hike costs, and what facilities are at Bluff Knoll. Keep reading to fully prepare yourself for the Bluff Knoll hike.
How Long is the Bluff Knoll Hike?
The full Bluff Knoll trail is approximately 6.2km return.
How Long Does it Take to Hike Up Bluff Knoll?
The full Bluff Knoll return hike takes around 3-4 hours on average. This will vary depending on your fitness levels, how often you stop to rest or take photos and how long you spend on the summit.
How High is Bluff Knoll?
Bluff Knoll has a height of 1095 metres above sea level.
Is Bluff Knoll the Highest Point in WA?
No, the highest mountain in Western Australia is Mount Meharry at 1253 metres. Bluff Knoll is the highest mountain in Southern Western Australia and the Stirling Range at 1095 metres.
How Steep is the Bluff Knoll Hike?
The Bluff Knoll hike trail is quite steep, despite it feeling deceptively flat at the start. The trail gets steeper the higher you go, besides a brief section near the summit that is relatively flat.
What Grade is the Bluff Knoll Hike?
Bluff Knoll is classified as a grade 4 hike. A grade 4 hike is only recommended for experienced bushwalkers as grade 4 trails can be long, rough and very steep.
How Hard is it to Hike Bluff Knoll?
The Bluff Knoll hike is classified as difficult as it’s a relatively long and steep trail. The Bluff Knoll trail path is well established making it relatively straight-forward to climb as only some sections are rugged and rocky.
Being frequent hikers and having completed all of the other mountain hikes in the Stirling Ranges after Bluff Knoll, we found Bluff Knoll only moderately difficult. Don’t get us wrong, it leaves you puffed out and is definitely a challenge for your fitness and endurance. But, the well established path makes it easy to complete. In comparison to other mountains such as Toolbrunup Peak where you’re rock climbing on all fours to the summit calculating which is the best path to take and avoiding loose rocks.
If you’re not a frequent hiker you will find the Bluff Knoll hike difficult, just make sure to know your own limits and take frequent breaks. It’s not a race to get to the top, enjoy the journey.
Attached below are images of some of the rougher, less well-defined parts of the Bluff Knoll trail.
Can Anyone Climb Bluff Knoll?
Yes, anyone with a moderate to high level of fitness and agility can take on the trail and reach the Bluff Knoll summit. Just know your own limits and take your time. Don’t hesitate to stop frequently for drink breaks and to catch your breath.
Can Kids Climb Bluff Knoll?
Yes, kids can climb Bluff Knoll. As mentioned previously, the Bluff Knoll hike trail is long, steep and at times rough. Therefore, it’s not suitable for very young kids and is only suitable for kids who are comfortable taking on long walks.
We don’t have kids so can’t speak from personal experience however many families with kids took on the hike during our visit and they seemed to love the challenge.
Can Elderly People Climb Bluff Knoll?
Yes, older people can climb Bluff Knoll. As already discussed, the climb up to Bluff Knoll is steep and long so if you have knee or leg issues we wouldn’t recommend taking it on. Just make sure to stay within your own limits and listen to your body.
During our visit a number of older people took on the challenge and were fine.
Can you do the Hike Solo?
Yes the Bluff Knoll hike trail can be done solo. As always, when taking on a hike alone we recommend letting someone else know of your whereabouts. Let them know you are going to take on the Bluff Knoll hike trail and how long you expect it to take.
It’s also quite a busy hike so you’ll have comfort in knowing you’ll have a lot of other people in the area if something was to go wrong.
When is the Best Time of Year to Climb Bluff Knoll?
The Bluff Knoll hike can be done all year round, however the best time to complete the hike is during spring (September-November), as the spring months typically have the best weather conditions. Summer can often be too hot and winter can often be too wet and windy, resulting in reduced visibility and a more dangerous hike as the already steep and rocky path becomes slippery. The Stirling Range National Park also lights up in Spring with colourful wildflowers which make the trail feel vibrant and magical.
With that being said, we completed the hike during summer in January and the conditions were perfect. We made sure to watch the weather forecast prior to the hike and did it on a day that was forecasted to be sunny with few clouds. This meant that when we reached the summit we were rewarded with 360 degree views of the surrounding area while still being able to experience some clouds passing over the nearby peaks. On other days that week, other people had reported no visibility at the summit as it became enclosed in thick clouds. We would recommend watching the weather forecast leading up to your trip and trying to time the climb on a clearer day so you have better visibility.
What is the Best Time to Hike Bluff Knoll?
You can start the hike at any time, the best time to start will depend on what time of year you’re visiting. If you’re visiting during Summer we’d recommend starting the hike early in the morning (between 5am and 9am) to avoid the intense summer heat that comes along by midday.
Sunrise and sunset hikes are very popular for Bluff Knoll and if you go for one of these you will be rewarded with spectacular views. However, the path is steep and rough making it dangerous to hike outside of daylight hours. We’d only recommend taking on the sunrise or sunset hike if you have prior experience doing so and if the weather conditions are calm (avoid rainy or very windy days). Also note that sunrise and sunset times vary hugely depending on which month you’re visiting so make sure to check in advance what time they’ll be.
If you’re taking on the hike outside of daylight hours make sure to pack a torch, we started the hike up Bluff Knoll around 3:30am and it was pitch black, giving us no visibility of the rough trail in front of us. You definitely could not hike up safely without a torch.
How Cold is it at the Top of Bluff Knoll?
The temperature at the summit of Bluff Knoll depends on what time of year and time of day you visit. The summit can get pretty cold, particularly on windy days. On extremely cold days there can even be snow on the summit.
Does it Snow on Bluff Knoll?
Yes Bluff Knoll is known to experience light snow a couple of times each winter. It’s a pretty rare event that only happens on very cold days.
What Should I Expect on the Bluff Knoll Hike?
Expect a challenging but rewarding hike up the side of a mountain, surrounded by bushland and cliff edge. The trail starts off as a flat sealed path that dips down before becoming a gradual incline. That incline slowly gets steeper and turns into rugged steps.
After some time the path flattens out again until you reach a trail marker of 2.6km to the summit. It feels motivating that you’ve already gone 500 metres but sadly the worst it yet to come! From the marker the trail turns into rugged steps and dirt path again as you continue through the thick bushland.
As you approach the base of Bluff Knoll, if visiting during recent rain, you’ll start to hear running water off in the distance. The path turns rocky as you reach a small waterfall. If you’re lucky (like we were) you’ll spot frogs hopping about in the waterfall, enjoying the running water and croaking very loudly.
After the waterfall the path switches back to the rugged steps and gets steeper and steeper. You’ll eventually start to have cliff edges alongside you and stunning views of the surrounding Stirling Range mountains. Every so often you’ll also pass rugged rock faces that remind you of the natural beauty of Bluff Knoll. As you near the summit you’ll also be faced with a sign that warns you to check the weather conditions before proceeding.
After what feels like never-ending steps you’ll make a sharp left turn as you make your way across a relatively flat path in the final stretch to the summit. At this part of the trail you forget about the never-ending steps and are distracted by the beauty of your surroundings. As a relatively flat area you get stunning views of the landscape surrounding Bluff Knoll and this is the spot where we saw majority of the trail’s wildflowers.
Once making it to the summit you’ll be thankful at the sight of the summit marker which reminds you that you’ve successfully made it 1095 metres above sea level. Take the time to sit down, catch your breath and truly appreciate the jaw-dropping surroundings before making your way back down.
How Much does it Cost to Climb Bluff Knoll?
Park entry fees are required for the Stirling Range National Park which Bluff Knoll is located within. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants). There is a fee collection station at the side of the road when you first turn onto Bluff Knoll Road from Chester Pass Road. Once purchased, put the pass on your dashboard so it’s visible through your vehicles window.
If you’re visiting multiple national parks during your trip we would recommend getting a holiday pass or an annual all parks pass as these will be better value for money. Holiday passes are available for 5 days, 14 days or 4 weeks and annual all parks passes are available for a full year. You can buy these online (here) on the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions website.
Are there Toilets at Bluff Knoll?
Yes, there is a toilet block at the start of the Bluff Knoll hike trail, next to the carpark.
What Other Facilities are at Bluff Knoll?
In addition to the toilet block at the start of the Bluff Knoll trail, there are a couple of sheltered picnic benches near the carpark. There’s also a lookout, known as the ‘Eastern Lookout’ which provides spectacular views of Bluff Knoll from below and has a large amount of informational signs so you can learn more about Bluff Knoll.
Do you Need a Map for Bluff Knoll?
No you do not need a map as Bluff Knoll is easy to navigate. The starting point is located close to the car park and is clearly signposted, making it easy to find. Once on the trail it is obvious where to go as the path is clear, it’s also surrounded by bushland and as you get higher up, a cliff face, meaning there are no possible alternative routes. The trail also features numerous trail markers throughout letting you know how far away you are from the summit and on the return, how far away you are from the car park.
Is Bluff Knoll Dog Friendly?
No, unfortunately you’ll have to leave your furry friend at home as dogs aren’t allowed on the Bluff Knoll trail. Dogs (and other pets) are not allowed in the Stirling Range National Park at all.
Is there Phone Reception at Bluff Knoll?
Yes there is. From the car park we had patchy Telstra signal which kept cutting in and out however when we were on the trail and at the summit we had perfect signal.
Is the Road to Bluff Knoll Sealed?
Yes, Bluff Knoll Road (the road that leads up to the Bluff Knoll car park) is sealed, making it suitable for all vehicles to drive on. The car park itself is also sealed.
There is a large dip in the Bluff Knoll Road but this is signposted to warn drivers and we were fine driving over it in our 2WD Mercedes Sprinter, just brake when you see the sign and drive slowly over the dip.
Is there Parking at Bluff Knoll?
Yes there’s a large car park at the base of Bluff Knoll where the trail starts. The car park has parking spots for about 50 cars and has multiple long bays for larger vehicles.
Where is Bluff Knoll?
Bluff Knoll is located in the Stirling Range National Park in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
How do you Get to Bluff Knoll?
You will need to drive to get to Bluff Knoll as there is no public transport nearby. The trail starts from the Bluff Knoll car park so make sure to navigate to ‘Bluff Knoll/Boola Miyal Hiking Trail’ in Google Maps (link is here) which will take you to the car park.
The drive to Bluff Knoll is well signposted. You’ll definitely know you’re at the right spot when you see a sign for Bluff Knoll at the turn from Chester Pass Road onto Bluff Knoll Road (and a huge mountain looming in the background!).
How Far is Bluff Knoll from Perth?
Bluff Knoll is approximately 407km from Perth, which is about a 4.5-5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Far is Bluff Knoll from Albany?
Bluff Knoll is approximately 98km from Albany, which is about a 1-1.5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
Where does the Bluff Knoll Trail Start?
The trail starts close to the Bluff Knoll car park. Upon arriving at the car park there is an elevated platform that leads you to the ‘Eastern Lookout’, continuing on from this there are steps down to the start of the trail. The start of the trail is clearly signposted so is easy to spot. There is a sign at the start of the elevated platform to let you know the Bluff Knoll trail is that way and an informational sign at the end of the platform when the trail starts, sharing details of the trail.
Can you Camp on Top of Bluff Knoll?
No, camping is not allowed on the Bluff Knoll hike trail or on the summit. If you’d like to spend the night camping near the Stirling Range we recommend checking out the caravan parks and campsites listed below.
What Caravan Parks and Campsites are Near Bluff Knoll?
There are 3 caravan parks near Bluff Knoll situated in the Stirling Ranges or Porongurup Range, we have listed these below:
- Stirling Range Retreat – located a 10 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll. The Stirling Range Retreat has powered and unpowered campsites, onsite caravans, cabins, motel style rooms and chalets.
- Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park – located a 25-30 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll. The Mt Trio Bush Camp & Caravan Park has powered and unpowered campsites available.
- The Porongurup Range Tourist Park – located a 50-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll. The Porongurup Range Tourist Park has powered and unpowered campsites available.
Is there Free Camping Near Bluff Knoll?
There are no free camping spots near Bluff Knoll or the Stirling Ranges. If you’d like to hike Bluff Knoll and/or any of the other Stirling Range mountains we’d recommend booking at one of the campsites listed previously.
If you are fatigued and need to stop there is an abundance of rest stops along Chester Pass Road (which is the main road leading to the Stirling Ranges and Bluff Knoll). However, please note that these 24-hour rest areas are not intended for camping. If you do stop at a rest stop remember these are crucial for truck drivers who need breaks so make sure to be considerate of other drivers and leave as much space as possible so trucks can pull in.
Where to Stay Near Bluff Knoll?
In addition to the three caravan parks listed previously, below are some additional accommodation options near Bluff Knoll:
- The Lily – located a 15-20 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Gnowanegerup Hotel – located a 45-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- The Travellers Rest Bed and Breakfast – located a 60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Onegum Bed and Breakfast – located a 60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Kendenup Cottages and Lodge – located a 60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Plantagenet Hotel – located a 50-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- 101 Oatlands – located a 55-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Manyat Peak Cottages and Gallery – located a 50-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Porongurup Inn – located a 45-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Karribank – located a 45-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Cloud Nine Spa Chalets – located a 40 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Bolganup Homestead – located a 45-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- Porongurup Chalets – located a 45-60 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
- The Sleeping Lady Private Retreat – located a 40 minute drive away from Bluff Knoll.
Why is Bluff Knoll Called Bluff Knoll?
Bluff Knoll was supposedly given its name by Governor James Stirling.
What is the Aboriginal Name for Bluff Knoll?
The Noongar name for Bluff Knoll is ‘Bular Mial’ (which means many eyes). The term ‘Bala Mial’ (which means his eyes) may also be used when referring to the eyes of an ancestral spirit you can see in the mountain.
What is Buff on the Bluff?
Buff on the bluff is a social media trend where visitors who reach the summit of Bluff Knoll take a nude picture there. To be honest we find it disgusting and disrespectful. Bluff Knoll is an important location for the Noongar people, it is a well respected and sacred place that should be treated with utmost respect. We’re lucky to be able to visit such a beautiful spot, people who engage in ‘Buff on the Bluff’ have no respect for it’s history.
How was Bluff Knoll Formed?
The Stirling Range was formed by layers of sand, silt and clay that were settled at the bottom of an ancient shallow sea. These became compressed into layers of rock which were thrust upwards when part of the Earth’s crust buckled to form the incredible mountain range it is today.
What Should you Pack When Climbing Bluff Knoll?
We recommend packing the following for the Bluff Knoll trail:
- Water – take at least 1L per person per hour.
- Snacks – it’s always a good idea to pack snacks for a ‘refuel’ along the way. Make sure to also pack lunch if you’d like to stay for a picnic after the hike.
- A first aid kit – we always recommend packing a small first aid kit with some basic supplies no matter the length of the hike. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
- A hat – stay sun smart and protect your face, head, neck and ears with a hat.
- Sunscreen – protect yourself and stay sun smart.
- A camera – you’ll want to photograph the incredible views of the Bluff Knoll trail and the surrounding mountains so make sure to pack your camera or phone to take pictures.
What Should you Wear When Climbing Bluff Knoll?
Wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for climbing and hiking in. Bluff Knoll is known for sudden weather changes. Therefore, we would recommend wearing multiple layers that can be adjusted with weather changes.
As with any hike make sure to be sun smart; wear a hat, cover up and put sunscreen on. Also wear sturdy and comfortable footwear, such as trainers or hiking boots. It’s important you have sturdy footwear that you are able to hike long distances in.
Are there any Other Trails near Bluff Knoll?
Yes there are lots of other trails in the area if you’ve finished the Bluff Knoll hike trail and are looking for another challenge.
The Stirling Range has five other mountains trails; Talyuberlup Peak trail, Mount Hassell hike, Mount Magog trail, Toolbrunup Peak walk trail and Mount Trio Trail. Each of which is unique and incredible in their own right.
30 minutes South of the Stirling Range is another mountain range, the Porongurup Range. The Porongurup Range features some amazing hikes such as the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail and the Nancy Peak and Devils Slide hike.
Enjoy the Bluff Knoll Hike!
That’s the end of our full guide on everything you need to know about the Bluff Knoll hike. We hope you have an amazing time and enjoy the jaw-dropping views from the summit.
Watch Our Experience Hiking Bluff Knoll
If you’re interested you can watch our experience hiking Bluff Knoll in our YouTube video below.