Best time to climb Bluff Knoll. Trekking WA’s highest peak

When is the best time to Climb Bluff Knoll?

There is no single best time to climb Bluff Knoll and as with most hikes, you can climb Bluff Knoll at any time of year. However, there are certain factors that will impact how enjoyable your hike is. The weather is one of them.

Located in the Stirling Ranges National Park, Bluff Knoll is one of WA’s highest peaks and offers spectacular views of the surrounding landscape. Aboriginals call the Stirling Ranges ‘Koi Kyenunu-ruff’ which means ‘mist moving around the mountains’. The cloud cover around Bluff Knoll and the Stirling Ranges can not only spoil the view, but impair navigation, which may impact the decision of when to climb Bluff Knoll.

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Stirling Ranges trek Atlas Introspective

Best time to climb Bluff Knoll by season

Winter

Heavy rain and strong wind in Winter can make the hike more risky. Rocky sections of the trail is slippery when wet and there’s some precarious cliff edges with sheer drops that can be dangerous if there are sudden strong winds.

Poor visibility due to cloud cover can make navigation more difficult and I’ve experienced white-out where I could only see a few feet in front. If you’re keen to experience the view from the summit, consider whether Winter is the right time to climb Bluff Knoll.

Bluff Knoll is also the only place in Western Australia that experiences alpine conditions. It’s a real novelty in WA and often makes the evening news. For those keen to see snow in WA, Winter may be the perfect time to climb Bluff Knoll.

Check the weather forecast and plan / pack accordingly. Make sure to bring warm layers, and wet weather gear as well as sturdy hiking boots and hiking poles. Hikers climbing Bluff Knoll in Winter may need to allow a bit more time to complete the trek during wet weather.

view from Stirling ridge Atlas Introspective

Autumn

As above, expect and plan for wet weather during Autumn. Note that weather conditions can change suddenly on Bluff Knoll at any time of year, so don’t get complacent outside of the Winter months. The summit of Bluff Knoll is 1098m above sea level, and the weather at the carpark is not always a reliable indicator of the conditions encountered on the trail.

Pack a rain jacket, check the weather and let someone know where you are and when you expect to return. Heavy cloud can make navigation and visibility difficult, so allow a bit more time if you’re hiking on a cloudy day.

The Autumn months are my second favourite time of year to hike Bluff Knoll. You avoid the extreme temperatures of Winter and Summer and it’s less busy than in Spring.

Summer

During the Summer months the temperature soars. I generally avoid hiking in WA during the Summer. It’s just too hot, there’s flies, not to mention the risk of sunburn, bushfires and heat stroke. But if you’re planning on hiking Bluff Knoll in Summer, take more water than you think you’ll need as there’s no reliable water source on the Stirling Ridge. Wear a hat, sunscreen and dress in layers.

Spring

The best time to climb Bluff Knoll is in Spring. The temperature is moderate, winds less severe and the wildflowers are in bloom, many of which are unique to the area. There’s also less chance of cloud cover spoiling your view from the top.

Best time to climb Bluff Knoll is Spring

Best months to climb Bluff Knoll

September to April are the best (and most popular) months to climb Bluff Knoll. Spring and Autumn offer the best weather for hiking.

Best time to climb Bluff Knoll: time of day

A return hike on the Bluff Knoll trail takes 3-4 hours dependent upon fitness and weather conditions. Regardless of the time of year, it’s best to start the hike as early as possible to avoid the midday sun.

Plan to complete the return hike during the daylight hours and avoid trekking in the dark. Some of the cliff edges can be dangerous and visibility is crucial.

Best time to climb Bluff Knoll: weekends & school holidays

The Bluff Knoll trail is very popular, particularly on weekends and during school holidays. Busy periods on the trail times is not necessarily a bad thing, and can be an advantage if you run into trouble. However, hikers who don’t want to share the view with the masses may find the best time to climb Bluff Knoll is during the school term or midweek.

Safety Concerns & risk

In 2019 two people died climbing Bluff Knoll. Please note that Bluff Knoll is a category 4 trail. As this is a popular, well- marked trail, some hikers underestimate the difficulty. At 1km above sea level, weather conditions can change without warning. Rocky edges can be slippery in wet weather and there’s the chance of rock falls. The strong winds can knock you off balance, particularly if you’re wearing a heavy pack. Stay on the designated trail and proceed slowly in strong winds or when the trail is wet and slippery.

As with all hikes, take a personal location beacon if you can and let people know your plans so they can raise an alert if you run into trouble. There isn’t always a reliable phone signal on the trail. A logbook at the Bluff Knoll carpark is regularly monitored by Rangers to assist with response times in case of emergency.

Knowing the best time to climb Bluff Knoll is no substitute for good preparation. Wear decent hiking shoes, dress for the weather and pace yourself. The Bluff Knoll trail is best suited to hikers with a moderate level of fitness and previous hiking experience.

The Arrows Fiona Atlas Introspective

Where to stay

As Bluff Knoll is a half day hike, some people choose to spend a night nearby. The Stirling Range Retreat is close to the Stirling Range National Park and has many accommodation options. They’re also an excellent source of information, offer tours and are well worth a visit. Read on for my top 5 recommendations for accommodation in the region.

Ultimately, the best time to climb Bluff Knoll is the time that suits you. It’s a dynamic hike which changes with the seasons. However, make sure to prepare for the conditions and let people know when you’re leaving and expect to return.

Thinking about hiking Bluff Knoll? You may also be interested in How long does it take to climb Bluff Knoll.

Keen to take on a bigger challenge? The Stirling Ranges Ridge Walk is a 3 day hike along the Stirling Range Ridge beginning (or ending) at Bluff Knoll.