Feel on top of the world on the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock, a truly unique and surreal experience. Take on the challenge of hiking up Castle Rock, a massive granite outcrop, and be rewarded with breathtaking 360 degree views from atop the Granite Skywalk. From the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk you can enjoy impressive panoramic views of the Porongurups, the Stirling Range and the surrounding countryside.
We’ve put together this guide to let you know everything you need to know about the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike so that you can conquer it. We share information such as; how long the hike is, how hard the hike is, the best time to complete the hike, how much the hike costs, and what facilities there are. Keep reading to fully prepare yourself for the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike.
How Long does it Take to Climb the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
The full return trail of the Castle Rock hike (including the Granite Skywalk) takes around 1.5-2 hours on average. This will vary depending on your fitness levels and how often you stop to take rests or to take photos.
How Long is the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Hike?
The full trail is approximately 4.4km return, this includes the main Castle Rock trail, the short walk to the lower look out at Castle Rock and the final scramble to the Granite Skywalk atop Castle Rock.
How High is the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
The Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock sits 670 metres above sea level.
What Grade is the Granite Skywalk Hike?
The Castle Rock walk trail (excluding the granite skywalk) is classified as a grade 4 trail. A grade 4 trail is only recommended for experienced bushwalkers as grade 4 trails can be long, rough and very steep.
The final rock scramble and climb to the Granite Skywalk is classified as a grade 5 trail. A grade 5 trail is only recommended for very experienced bushwalkers as grade 5 trails can be very rough and very steep and rock scrambling may be required.
How Hard is it to Hike Castle Rock and Climb to the Granite Skywalk?
The Castle Rock hike is classed as a difficult walk with long and steep sections, many uneven sized steps and a rugged natural path with rocky sections. The trail starts off relatively flat and open, getting narrower, rougher and steeper the closer you get to the top. A good level of fitness is required to complete this part of the trail to make it to the lower lookout. With a ‘can do attitude’ and moderate fitness majority of people can complete this part of the trail, just know your limits and take rests as often as required.
The final rock scramble and ladder climb to make it to the Granite Skywalk should not be underestimated. A moderate to high level of fitness and agility is required as you’ll need to lift yourself up and over large, rough granite rocks and climb a 7 metre long ladder. You will need to be able to support your own body weight. We’ve added some photos below to show the rock scramble and depict the effort required to take them on. We had to stretch and hold our own body weight to pull ourselves up and over the granite rocks. The final scramble is also not suitable for anyone with a fear of heights.
Can Anyone Climb to the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
Yes, anyone with a moderate to high level of fitness and agility can take on the trail and complete both the Castle Rock hike to the lower lookout and the final rock scramble and climb to the Granite Skywalk.
As noted previously, to reach the Granite Skywalk you will need to be able to hold your body weight as you lift yourself up and over large, rough granite rocks and climb a 7 metre long ladder. Therefore, the hike may not be suitable for very young children or people with knee or leg issues or injuries. Know your limits and only take on what you are comfortable with.
Can Kids Climb the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
Yes, kids can climb the Granite Skywalk. However, as mentioned previously, the final climb up to the Granite Skywalk requires you to lift yourself up and over large, rough granite rocks and climb a 7 metre long ladder. Therefore, it’s not suitable for very young kids and is only suitable for kids who have a decent amount of agility and are able to support their own body weight.
We don’t have kids so can’t speak from personal experience however many families with kids took on the hike during our visit. While very young kids only made it to the lower lookout, kids around the age of 8+ seemed to love the challenge of the final climb and made it up to the Granite Skywalk just fine.
Can Older People Climb the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
Yes, older people can climb the Granite Skywalk. As already discussed, the final climb up to the Granite Skywalk requires you to lift yourself up and over large, rough granite rocks and climb a 7 metre long ladder. During our visit a number of older people took on the challenge and were fine, just make sure to stay within your own limits. If you have knee or leg issues, limited agility or aren’t comfortable supporting your own body weight we don’t recommend taking on the final Granite Skywalk climb. You can still enjoy the incredible views from the lower lookout however.
Can the Castle Rock Hike and Granite Skywalk Climb be Done Solo?
Yes the Castle Rock hike and Granite Skywalk climb 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 Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail and how long you expect it to take.
When is the Best Time of Year to Climb the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike can be done all year round, typically however the best time to complete the hike is during spring (September-November). Spring is the best time of year to take on the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk as the weather typically isn’t too hot (such as in the summer months) and isn’t too wet (such as in the winter months). The Porongurup National Park also comes alive during spring with vibrant wildflowers that light up the trail and make it even more magical.
That being said both of our visits to Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk were in December during Summer. To combat the heat we arrived early in the morning (at 5am) and the weather was perfect. One of the days we stayed at the top of the Granite Skywalk for a long time and ended up leaving late morning (around 11am). Despite this being the busiest time when majority of people were starting the trail it was the hottest, with the sun blaring down on us and making the return trip down uncomfortable. We couldn’t have imagined starting the hike up at this time. Most of the trail is enclosed in trees which provides some shelter and shade from the sun however they don’t have thick canopies so the trail can still get unbearably hot. Remember to also not take on the hike during high fire danger days.
If you’re visiting during winter or autumn just make sure to avoid rainy days and wet weather. The rock scramble and 7 metre ladder at the end of the trail can be extremely slippery and dangerous in wet weather. One of the days we visited it rained for a short period midway through the hike which made the rock scramble and ladder climb to the Granite Skywalk much harder. Visiting on cloudy and rainy days will also hinder your views at the top as you won’t be able to see the surrounding landscape, we’ve attached a photo below of when we took photos during heavy fog and cloud.
When is the Best Time to Hike the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
This depends on what time of year you’re taking on the Castle Rock hike. You can take on the hike any time, if you’re visiting during Summer however we’d recommend starting the hike early in the morning (between 5am and 9am) to avoid the crazy heat that comes along by midday.
The roughness of the path and the difficulty of the final rock scramble means it could be dangerous to take it on outside of daylight hours if you have no prior experience doing so. Therefore, if you’re taking on the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike early in the morning make sure to check what time sunrise is on the day you’re visiting as it varies significantly depending on the month.
What Should I Expect on the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Hike?
Expect a relatively short but challenging hike through the forest, surrounded by lush greenery. The trail starts off as a relatively flat and open dirt path but the closer you get to the top the more the path transforms into steep, rugged and rocky steps.
You’ll know you’re close to the Granite Skywalk when the thick forest opens up into a wide area of open space on a large granite boulder. Once you reach this open space you’ll be greeted with the balancing rock, a true natural wonder. The balancing rock is a giant smooth round/oval shaped boulder that appears to be balancing on top of the granite below.
A little after the balancing rock you reach a sign that splits the trail into two. Taking the trail to the left leads you to the lower lookout while the trail to the right will take you up to the Granite Skywalk.
The walk to the lower lookout is relatively short and flat. At the end of the short walk you can sit down on a bench at the lower lookout and appreciate the beautiful views of the Karri forest around you.
The final stretch to the Granite Skywalk is where things can get tough, you’ll need to climb over two different sets of large granite boulders, holding onto the metal handles as you heave your body up and over the rock. After the rock scrambles you’ll reach a small platform where a 7 metre ladder is the final challenge you need to overcome to reach the Granite Skywalk.
Once up the ladder you’ll be on the Granite Skywalk which wraps around Castle Rock. No matter where you stand on the Granite Skywalk you’ll be rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. With the right weather, off in the distance you’ll be able to see the other peaks of the Porongurups, the Stirling Ranges and the surrounding countryside.
How Much does the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Cost?
Park entry fees are required for the Porongurup National Park which the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk is situated within. At the time of writing this (January 2023) the price is $15 per standard vehicle (with 12 or less occupants). There is a pay station at the car park of the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk where you can buy the day pass to the Porongurup National Park. The pay station does not take cash, you can only pay by card. 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.
Is the Road to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Sealed?
Yes, Castle Rock Road (the road that leads up to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk car park) is sealed, making it suitable for all vehicles to drive on. The car park itself is also sealed.
Is there Parking at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
Yes, there are two large car parks at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk. They are sealed, making them suitable for all vehicles.
The top car park has about 25 to 30 parking spots with 5 long bays for larger vehicles, then there is a second car park with even more spots. We visited twice during the holidays and even on the busiest day when the trail was packed there was still lots of room in the second car park.
Are there Toilets at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
Yes, there is a toilet block at the start of the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail, next to the carpark. There are 3 unisex toilets that are wheelchair accessible. They are drop toilets that were clean and well maintained during our visit. Each stall had multiple rolls of toilet paper and a hand sanitiser dispenser to clean your hands.
What Other Facilities are at the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
In addition to the toilet block at the start of the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail, next to the carpark is a picnic area. This picnic area features a barbecue, benches and an undercover picnic shelter.
At the time of our visit the barbecue looked clean and well maintained.
Do you Need a Map for the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Trail?
No you do not need a map, the Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk trail is easy to navigate. The starting point is clearly signposted and is located close to the car park. Once on the trail it is obvious where to go as the path is clear and is surrounded by trees and plants that prevent you from taking an alternative route. The trail also features numerous trail markers throughout which lets you know how close you are to the summit, on the return those same markers let you know how far you are from the carpark.
Not once during this trail were we confused about where to go. You definitely don’t need a map as it’s very clear.
Where is Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk?
Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk is located in the Porongurup National Park in Porongurup, Western Australia. Situated within the Great Southern Region, Castle Rock and the Granite Skywalk is just 20-30 minutes south of the Stirling Range and 30-40 minutes North of Albany.
Where does the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Trail Start?
The trail starts close to the Granite Skywalk and Castle Rock car park. Upon arriving at the car park the start of the trail is to the left, after the pay station. The start of the trail is clearly signposted so is easy to spot.
How do you get to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
You will need to drive to get to the Granite Skywalk and Castle Rock as there is no public transport nearby. There are a couple of listings on Google Maps for Castle Rock. Make sure to navigate to ‘Granite Skywalk & Castle Rock Parking’ on Google Maps (link to this here). One of the other Castle Rock listings has an incorrect address and takes users away from Castle Rock and onto private property so make sure you’re navigating to the correct listing or you may end up at the wrong spot.
The drive to Castle Rock is well signposted, with a sign for Castle Rock at the turn from Chester Pass Road onto Porongurup Road and the turn from Porongurup Road onto Castle Rock Road.
How Far is the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk from Perth?
The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk is approximately 395km from Perth, which is about a 4-5 hour drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
How Far is Castle Rock Granite Skywalk from Albany?
The Castle Rock Granite Skywalk is approximately 44km from Albany, which is about a 30-40 minute drive away (depending on traffic and which route you take).
What Should you Wear When Climbing the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk?
Wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for climbing and hiking in. We would recommend wearing multiple layers that can be adjusted with sudden weather changes. Stay sun smart; wear a hat, cover up and put sunscreen on.
Make sure to also wear sturdy and comfortable footwear, such as trainers or hiking boots. It’s important you have sturdy footwear, especially as you climb over the rocks to make it to the Granite Skywalk.
During our visit to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk we switched layers a couple of times as the weather changed; our hike started off cold and foggy, it then started raining midway through our hike and on the return trip back the sky had cleared and the sun was high in the sky, making the trail extremely hot. Wearing layers helped us stay comfortable through all of the sudden weather changes.
What Should you Pack When Climbing the Granite Skywalk at Castle Rock?
As a short 1.5-2 hour hike we recommend packing the following for the Castle Rock and Granite Skywalk Trail:
- Water – 1L per person per hour is the recommended amount to take.
- Snacks – it’s always a good idea to pack snacks just in case. 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 at the top of the Granite Skywalk so make sure to pack your camera or phone to take pictures.
Are there Kangaroos at Castle Rock?
Yes we visited Castle Rock and completed the Granite Skywalk hike twice and both times we saw kangaroos. When we arrived early in the morning (around 5-6am) we saw multiple kangaroos grazing in the picnic area and at the start of the trail. The kangaroos were friendly and moved along when we walked by them.
Are there any Other Trails in the Area?
Yes there are multiple other trails in the area if you’ve finished the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail and want to take on another trail.
Directly next to the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail, near the carpark, is the start of the Walitj Meil walk trail. This is a 1km loop that takes around an hour to complete (if you’re taking it at a leisurely pace). The walk takes you through surrounding Karri and Marri trees to a lookout point that provides stunning views of the Stirling Range. If you’re looking for a short, leisurely walk this is the trail for you.
In the Porongurup National Park, just 10 minutes away from the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk trail is the Nancy Peak and Devil’s Slide trail. It’s a lesser known but equally amazing hike. With such varied terrain and so much to see, people often describe the trail by saying it felt as though they were walking through a terrarium. We agree and found it to be one of the most underrated hikes of the Great Southern region. At the top of the summit you’ll also be rewarded with stunning 360 degree views of the surrounding area. The trail is 7.58km long and takes around 3-5 hours to complete. If you’d like to learn more about the Nancy Peak and Devils Slide hike check out our post; Nancy Peak and Devils Slide Hike: Everything You Need to Know.
If you’re looking for more of a challenge we recommend making the 30 minute drive out to the Stirling Ranges. The Stirling Ranges feature six different mountain trails; the Bluff Knoll summit trail, Talyuberlup Peak trail, Mount Hassell hike, Mount Magog trail, Toolbrunup Peak trail and Mount trio Trail. Each trail is incredible in their own way, providing their own unique experience.
Enjoy the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock Hike
That’s our full guide on everything you need to know about the Granite Skywalk Castle Rock hike. We hope you enjoy the hike and the incredible views on the Granite Skywalk.
Watch Our Experience Doing the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk Hike
If you’d like to you can watch us do the Castle Rock Granite Skywalk hike in our YouTube video below.