Ellen Peak at 1012 m is a remote peak located in Stirling Range National Park. The mountain itself is not too high, but the thing is you need to climb over 800 m from the plain to the summit to get it done. On top of that, the walking track to Ellen Peak in the Stirling Range is not signposted, so you better be experienced in navigating before making an attempt. With that being said, this is a great warm-up before traversing the entire ridge. So if you are planning to do the Stirling Range Ridge Walk in near future, this hike is for you.
ELLEN PEAK: NEED TO KNOW
Ellen Peak in the Stirling Range is a decent, one day hike. If you look at the below map, you will quickly notice that the peak lies at the eastern end of the range. For those doing the entire traverse, Ellen Peak will be the first or the last peak to summit. Since there are literally no signs, previous experience in navigating, and orienteering is absolutely essential. If you have no knowledge about these aspects, don’t throw yourself in at the deep end. Stirling Range National Park has six well-marked walking tracks, so you can start from there. Park entry fees apply. Hikers are required to hold a valid park pass before commencing the walk.
Ellen Peak – map
ELLEN PEAK: TRAIL DIFFICULTY
Don’t let the mountain height mislead you! Ellen Peak in the Stirling Range is dedicated for experienced hikers. The route can be divided into four sections: a walk on a flat track, a little bit of ‘bush bash’, a steep climb towards the summit, and a challenging scramble to the top. The walking track remains unmarked, so you will spend most of the time wondering if you’re heading in the right direction. I know it sounds ridiculous, but this is how it goes. For navigation, I would highly recommend using AllTrails app. It worked really well for me. Although, you can’t take it for granted. The path I took was only 85% accurate with the app recording. That’s the reason why previous experience in navigating is crucial to succeed with this hike.
ELLEN PEAK: ITINERARY
It’s best to start early in the morning, right after sunrise, so that you have heaps of time before it gets dark. The trail has around 24 km both ways, and you need at least 9 hours to accomplish it. I would say that going up takes more or less the same amount of time than going down. Just because a huge effort must be made to stay on the track. I was literally checking the map every 5 minutes as there are many stray paths, and they all look the same. Formally, it’s a class 5 hike that stays unmarked. Trial access is possible for 2WD cars via unsealed road. Detailed information about each section of the hike is included below. Enjoy!
CARPARK – ELLEN PEAK SADDLE
The walking track to Ellen Peak in the Stirling Range starts exactly in this location 34°19’10.2″S 118°23’31.6″E. Just copy and paste those numbers into google maps, and you’ll find the trailhead. Park your car somewhere nearby. The beginning is nice and easy. You will start with a 6 km walk on a flat track. After finishing this section, turn left. Luckily, the turn-off is marked with some rocks left on the ground. From there, the trail goes up to Ellen Peak Saddle, and changes into a rugged ‘bush bash’. Sooner or later, you’ll be given an opportunity to view the entire ridge. That’s where you go for the Stirling Range Ridge Walk.
Walking track: 10 km, 3 hours (one way)
ELLEN PEAK SADDLE – THE RIDGE
There are a couple of small campsites on Ellen Peak Saddle where you can set up a tent and spend the night. They are mostly used by people who do the Stirling Range Ridge Walk, and start their hike late in the day. The path is pretty much intuitive to this point. I would even say it’s almost 100% accurate with the AllTrails recording. The summit seems to be very close, but the truth is that the toughest part is yet to come. The track suddenly becomes very steep, and it’s no longer obvious. From Ellen Peak Saddle, it’s still around 2 km to the summit. As long as the weather holds up for you, keep pushing on towards the exposed ridge.
Walking track: 1,5 km, 2 hour (one way)
THE RIDGE – ELLEN PEAK
No further than 500 m before the summit, I realised that I took one of the stray paths. I found myself in a very dangerous place, and it dawned on me, I wasn’t where I supposed to be. Just to be clear. Following the AllTrails recording didn’t save me from getting lost. Since I had literally no idea how to go up, and felt rather hopeless, I made a decision to turn back. Fun fact is, the moment I started descending, I noticed a well-defined path that took me right up the ridge. What a relief! The last section before the summit requires a bit of technical climbing. You will pass the peak on your left-hand side first, and then scramble up to the top.
Walking track: 0,5 km, 20 minutes (one way)
ELLEN PEAK – CARPARK
Views from the top are simply stunning! Take some time to enjoy them, and don’t forget to sign in to the guest book that can be found on the summit. When ready, start descending the peak carefully, and keep checking the map as often as previously. I would not assume that hiking back to the carpark will be much quicker than going up the mountain. It took me more or less the same amount of time. As a conclusion, it’s worth to say that my intention was to follow the AllTrails recording the whole time, on my way up and down, and I ended up taking two different routes. So as you can see, it gets tricky sometimes. Good luck!
Walking track: 12 km, 4 hours (one way)
This is all you need to know about Ellen Peak in the Stirling Range. Are you experienced in hiking unsignposted trails? Let me know by leaving a comment below!
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