Hancock Gorge is the most breath taking and popular short hiking trail in the Karijni National Park.
Make your war down into the ancient gorge with orange-red jagged rock walls, narrow, twisting passages and thin, deep pools that you’ll need to swim through.
Hancock Gorge is just a short distance from the car park and picnic area at the Weano day use area and once you reach the gorge, you’ll then need to enter via a steep decent before scaling over uneven surfaces with plenty of water crossings. It’s an incredible hiking trail, known to be one of the best short gorge walks in Western Australia where you’ll see chambers and rock formations that are typical of the land, leaving with long lasting memories.
HANCOCK GORGE HIKING TRAIL VIDEO COMING SOON
From the car park to the entrance of Hancock Gorge, it’s an easy walk along a gravel trail.
As you enter Hancock Gorge, you’ll need to go down a steep section, although no climbing is requited. Once you’ve made it inside the gorge, most of the trail is flat and easy to walk over, then at several times, you’ll be required to walk through large, shallow pools of water or if there hasn’t been a lot of rain, it’s possible to scale across the rocks on edge of the water.
There are plenty of areas that are extremely slippery, at times you’ll most likely be required to sit down and shimmy yourself across small sections as the mould won’t allow you to get across it by foot.
To get to the last section of the trail which can’t be missed, you’ll be required to swim, so if you want to take along a camera, be sure to bring a dry bag.
Anyone fit and agile shouldn’t have a problem completing this trail, as long as you’re prepared to get wet! It’s quite short, but allow plenty of time as there’s a lot to see. For something a little bit more accessible, give Weano Gorge a try, where you can either head into the gorge or walk along the top (the start of the Weano Gorge Walk is only several hundred metres from Hancock Gorge).
The entire trail is about 1.5 kms return, which includes a walk for a couple of hundred metres from the car park and day use area to get to the start of the gorge.
Keep in mind that the above distance includes returning back to the car park, whereas you can finish this hike and then head straight over to Weano Gorge, but due to Hancock Gorge being the highlight of the area, it’s recommended to start with Weano.
Other than a small decent to get down into the gorge and a few other very small, steep sections (for a couple of metres or so), there is very little elevation. The majority of the trail is along the base of the gorge.
There’s a large car park with plenty of room and toilet facilities, although there isn’t any drinking water available.
Just next to the car park are barbecues, picnic tables and several shelters to escape the sun.
Closest place to buy food & drinks
Hancock Gorge is inside the Karijni National Park, a very remote area. You won’t find any grocery stores or petrol stations, unless you head back out of the park, but there’s water and some basic snacks at the Karijini Visitor Centre, about 50 minutes away (you’ll also find phone and data service there too).
Dogs aren’t allowed anywhere inside the Kairjini National Park, although there are council operated kennels in Tom Price for just $20 per 24 hours.
Getting to Hancock Gorge
It’s a bit more than an hour’s drive from Tom Price to the Weono Day Use Area, where you’ll find the start of the trail that heads out to both Weano Gorge and Hancock Gorge.
You’ll need to drive out of the south-west of Tom Price, about 10 minutes after exiting the town, turn left at Karijini Drive. You’ll follow this road for a long time, all the way until you reach Banjima Drive, where you’ll again turn left. Keep following Banjima Drive, which will eventually have a sharp turn to the right shortly before Joffre Gorge, although you’ll need to drive straight – the road past the sharp turn is then Weano Road. Drive past the Karijini Eco Retreat and stay on this road all of the way to the Weano Day Use Area.
Although just about any car can get there, large sections of the road inside the Karijini National Park are corrugated dirt tracks, so it’s best to allow a bit of extra time and leave the caravan behind. There’s caravan parking at a large roadside stop about half an hour before you enter the national park, then again at the Karijini Visitor Centre, but during peak periods, they don’t like you leaving it there.
Accommodation & Camping
There’s plenty of places to go camping inside the Karijini National Park, with the closest being the Karijini Eco Retreat.
At the Karijini Eco Retreat, you can find accommodation in the form of cabins and eco tents/glamping tents, some are quite luxurious and others are basic. There area also unpowered camping sites.
One of the most popular large camping areas is Dales Campground, within walking distance from Dales Gorge. Here, you’ll find many unpowered camp sites that are suitable for all types of campers, RVs and caravans. There are toilets and a small info centre, but you’ll need your own water and power.
It can be a good idea to set up base at one campground for several nights and explore the national park by driving to a different area each day. It doesn’t really matter which campground you choose, as the attractions at Karijini are all quite spread out, so a long drive is required. Dales Campground is a good choice as it’s so close to the gorge that has multiple natural pools to take a swim in, after a hot day of exploring.