Route: Cape le Grand Coastal Trail

Submitted by Grant Landers on Sun, 01/08/2023 - 08:02pm
Western Australia, AU
20.4 km
Vertical Gain
819 m

The Cape Le Grand Coastal Trail is a 20 km trail with over 800m of elevation passing through an ancient rugged coastline of stunning scenery; over pristine white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, granite outcrops and views to many islands (Recherche Archipelago). Depending on the time of year, you can be spoilt with beautiful wildflowers and amazing fauna such as kangaroos, emus, dolphins and whales. The trail traverses through the Cape Le Grand National Park, which was ranked 8th in the South Pacific best beaches 2022 Traveller’s Choice Awards. It is suggested that this trail be completed over multiple days when walking and attracts thousands of tourists each year.

The national park is approximately 45 minute from the town of Esperance. There are campsites at Lucky Bay and Cape Le Grand beaches, which must be booked in advanced. There is water available at these campsites, however it is recommended that is boiled before drinking. Toilets are available along the route at Lucky Bay, Helfire Bay and Cape Le Grand.

Vehicle access along the route is available at the main beaches Rossiter bay, Lucky Bay, Thistle Cove, Helfire Bay and Cape Le Grand.

The route can be completed in either direction. The trails in WA are graded 1-5 for level of difficulty with 1 being easy to 5 difficult.

Rossiter Bay to Lucky Bay – Class 4, 6.8 km. The first 4 km is up and over Mississippi Hill, which offers amazing views of Rossiter Bay, Lucky Bay and the surrounding islands. Most of this trail is single track. The trail then descends onto the beach at Lucky Bay where the sand is so fine it squeaks beneath your feet. If the tide is out this is a comfortable and beautiful run along the beach. Towards the end of western end of Lucky Bay you can head off the beach to the toilets if required.

Lucky Bay to Thistle Cove – Class 3, 2.2 km. This is probably the easiest part of the route with a wide and relatively even trail. Still some undulations and great views of the powerful southern ocean and the islands.

Thistle Cove to Hellfire Bay – Class 5, 5.1 km. Leaving the carpark at Thistle Cove you descend onto the beach for almost the last bit of flat running. At about the half-way point of the trail (10.2 km) you leave the beach and head up a steep granite rock before another steep descent to the ocean. Much of this will be uneven and challenging to traverse. Again you climb to a vista of spectacular vies back to Thistle Cove or forward to Hellfire Bay. Before reaching Helfire Bay you will pass by the tranquil “Little Helfire” beach a beautiful spot for fishing or snorkelling for Abalone.

Hellfire Bay to Le Grand Beach – Class 5, 6.3 km. After running along the 700 m of beach, this last section of the trail heads back up a steep (~20% gradient) granite rock. Although the path appears to flatten out for a while, it is still technically very demanding, requiring a great concentration. With about 3 km to go, you catch a glimpse of the amazing Le Grand beach – 22 km of coastline stretching back towards the town of Esperance. After ~19.2 km you cross a small creek (quite dry in summer) before one last climb and then down to the end of the trail. This section is the most difficult of the course.


I recognise and acknowledge Wudjari Nyungar people as the traditional custodians of Cape Le Grand National Park and the surrounding waters and lands. I pay my respects to Elders past, present & emerging.


Point to point trail, follows the Cape Le Grand coastal trail in the Cape Le Grand National Park, Esperance, Western Australia

  • trail starts at southern end of the Rossiter Bay car park ( -33.96761356, 122.26731525 ) 
  • trail ends at the bottom of the hill adjoining the Cape le Grand car park ( -33.97968652, 122.11953884 )
  • the trail can be completed in either direction and is well marked.


More details of the trail can be found here at Trails WA


More details (and some amazing images) can be found here

GPS Track