Dales Gorge Loop

1 h 30 min to 2 h 30 min

3.1 km
circuit

↑ 131 m
↓ -131 m

Very challenging
Starting from the Fortescue Falls Carpark on Dales Road, Karijini, this walk takes you on a circuit around Dales Gorge via the Gorge Rim Walk and Fortescue Falls Track. One of the most satisfying walks in Karijini National Park, this walk combines all the trails in Dales Gorge into a scenic loop. The first of many viewpoints is a short walk from the car park and shows off the views down towards Fortescue Falls. From there, the trail snakes its way along the edge of the gorge walls, providing spectacular views across the landscape to the distant hills. After passing the Dales Gorge Lookout, the trail descends steeply to a wide expanse at the bottom of the gorge, where you can take a short detour and visit the Circular Pool. The pool is not very large, but the massive amphitheatre-like space, lush green ferns and trickling water make it a truly magical spot. After visiting Circular Pool the trail widens, contracts, skirts and snakes its way through the gorge with plenty to see and photograph on the way to Fortescue Falls. Fed by a spring, Fortescue Falls is one of the few permanent waterfalls in the park, flowing even in drier years. As this place is in a spacious natural amphitheatre, you won't have problems finding a scenic place to sit. The trail continues past Fortescue Falls, crossing a series of stepping stones to reach the other side of the gorge's watercourse, where the trail forks off to either Fern Pool or up the stairs to the car park. One of the most beautiful pools in the park, Fern Pool features a small waterfall and a wooden deck platform that allows visitors easy access for swimming. From Fern Pool, the trail heads back towards Fortescue Falls and up the metal staircase towards the car park. As the longest gorge hike in Karijini, Dales Gorge is a true delight to explore thanks to the many different side trails and swimming spots, and the full loop experience provides excellent coverage of both the gorge rim and valley floor. The trail is well-marked and requires minor rock hopping and water crossings. Dales Gorge features a few seams of blue asbestos along its walls, and while it is safe in its unprocessed natural state, visitors are advised not to break off or touch any of these formations. Keep in mind that the gorges are at high risk for flash floods. Let us begin by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we travel today, and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.
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Warning
This journey requires significant bushwalking experience, specialised equipment and navigation skills.
Please ensure you and your group well prepared and equiped for this journey.

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Safer Bushwalks
Tips on staying safe on track
Before you start any bushwalk ensure you;
• Tell someone you trust where you are going and what to do if you are overdue
• Have adequate equipment, supplies, skills & knowledge for the whole journey
• Consider the impact of weather forecasts, park/track closures & fire dangers
• Can respond to emergencies & call for help at any point
• Are healthy and fit enough for this journey
If not, change plans and stay safe. It is okay to delay and ask people for help.
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Getting There
Transport options and directions
Start (-22.475577,118.5518424)
Mode Car
DirectionsFrom Great Northern Highway, 95
  • Turn on to Karijini Drive then drive for 29.4 km
  • Turn right onto Banjima Drive and drive for another 8.4 km
  • Turn right onto Dales Road and drive for another 9.4 km
  • Turn right and drive for another 100 m
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Track Notes
Turn by turn instructions & maps
Getting started
From the Fortescue Falls Carpark on Dales Road, Karijini, head along the main trail located to the left of the toilet block, passing a 'Fortescue Falls - Jubula' sign and a 'Blue Asbestos Risk' sign shortly ahead. The trail eventually reaches the Fortescue Falls Lookout, where you'll find a pair of benches and a staircase leading down to Fortescue Falls. Take a left turn at the lookout, passing a 'Walking at Dales Gorge' sign, and head along the Gorge Rim Walk to continue the Dales Gorge Loop(clockwise). This is the described direction of travel.....
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
Find the toilet at the start.
After another 140 m turn left.
After another 510 m veer left.
After another 30 m continue straight.
After another 25 m continue straight.
After another 360 m veer right.
After another 65 m continue straight.
After another 15 m come to the "Dales Gorge".
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This optional little side trip takes you to the Three Ways Lookout, where you can get some impressive southeasterly views over the land. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn left when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
Dales Gorge turn right.
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. A highly recommended side trip to the Circular Pool. You'll be met by an amphitheatre-like space and lush green ferns with the water soothingly trickling into the pool, as mentioned in the description. To start this optional side trip turn left here. On returning from this side trip continue straight when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
After another 155 m turn right, to head along Fortescue Falls Track.
After another 900 m cross the ford.
After another 440 m cross the ford.
After another 65 m pass the "Fortescue Falls" (40 m on your left).
The starting point of an optional sidetrip. This recommended side trip takes you the Fern Pool which features a small waterfall and a wooden deck platform for easy access, as mentioned in the description. To start this optional side trip continue straight here. On returning from this side trip turn right when you get back to this intersection. Details below.
Turn sharp right.
Then head down the surface|gravel steps (about 195 m long)
After another 35 m come to the "Fortescue Falls Lookout" (10 m on your right).
After another 2 m veer left.
After another 145 m come to the end.

This optional little side trip takes you to the Three Ways Lookout, where you can get some impressive southeasterly views over the land.
Turn map Directions & comments
Dales Gorge Start (a walking track).
After another 45 m come to "Three Ways Lookout".
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 45 m to the main route.

A highly recommended side trip to the Circular Pool. You'll be met by an amphitheatre-like space and lush green ferns with the water soothingly trickling into the pool, as mentioned in the description.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 340 m come to "Circular Pool".
Circular Pool
Circular Pool

An amphitheatre-like space and lush green ferns with the water soothingly trickling into the rock pool.
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An amphitheatre-like space and lush green ferns with the water soothingly trickling into the rock pool.

The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 340 m to the main route.

This recommended side trip takes you the Fern Pool which features a small waterfall and a wooden deck platform for easy access, as mentioned in the description.
Turn map Directions & comments
Start.
After another 270 m come to a waterfall.
The end.
Turn around and retrace your steps back the 270 m to the main route.
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Terrain
Know the Hills, grading & facilities

Dales Gorge Loop


Grading
Class 5/6
Very challenging
Length 3.1 km
Time 1 h 30 min to 2 h 30 min
Quality of track Rough unclear track (5/6)
Gradient Short steep hills (3/6)
Signage Clearly signposted (2/6)
Infrastructure Limited facilities (such as cliffs not fenced, significant creeks not bridged) (4/6)
Experience Required Moderate level of bushwalking experience recommended (4/6)
Weather Foretasted & unexpected storms and severe weather may impact on navigation and safety (4/6)

Some facilities on route
Toilet: There is one 6 m from the start.


Order of key facilities on route
ItemFrom StartName & link to notes
Toilet
6 m[toilet]
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Articles
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