Cumberland State Forest

Australia’s only metropolitan state forest, Cumberland State Forest, is located at only half an hour from Sydney.
Cumberland State Forest contains 40 hectares of native forest. The original privately-owned land was cleared in 1908. In 1938 its management was taken over by the then NSW Forestry Commission and was dedicated as a State forest in 1939. One third of the land was planted as an arboretum while the rest was allowed to regenerate naturally.
Address:
95 Castle Hill road West pennant hills is the main Entrance. There is also a secondary entrance at the corner of Oratava ave and Bryant road that is not open to cars on weekends. I just park on the street near this entrance though and walk the few hundred metres through the forest to get to the other side. 
Opening times are 8.30am – 5.00pm. Daylight saving times  8.30am – 6.00pm.

 

Distance:
Sensory Trail: 350m Loop (Easy) – 30 minutes.
Palm Gully Trail: 1km Loop (Moderate) – 1 hour. 
Forestry Trail: 1.3km Loop (Moderate) – l hour.
I am just copying these numbers from the signs.. In reality I done all three walks in around an hour total and I was not really hurrying. But as always, depends on fitness, enthusiasm and levels of distraction. 
There are also trails starting from the back entrance and zig-zagging around that area or heading towards the main entertaining areas in the Forest. 
There is a lot going on in a small space at Cumberland state forest. Appart from the walks there Is also a plant nursery, tree top adventure park, a cafe or two and gift shops. There is a lot of education material on boards posted everywhere, on the walks and in all the picnic areas. There are plenty of barbecues and play areas and parks and well.. everything you could think to find in a large community reserve. 
https://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/visit/forests/cumberland-state-forest for information on the education programs or anything else. 
It’s quite amazing that this environment exists only about 25km from the steel and glass insanity of Sydney.
A great place to get away fom it all without being too very far from it all at all. 
Some of these short and easy trails go past some rather scenic rain forest like environment.
Easy grades of wooden stairs take you deeper into the forest where bridges cross some picturesque creeks. 
A lot of the trails are flat and easy and the almost constant canopy of tree’s keeps the sun off of your face. 
We also found plenty of logs for the whole dog on a lot thing. Don’t ask why this amuses me so.. I see a log and I feel the need to take a picture of Buffy standing on top of it. She is really quite a tolerant and patient creature 🙂
There are also plenty of pretty spots to sit and watch the world and listen to the sounds of the forest around you. We seen a couple of wild turkeys running around and quite a few colorful parrots as well as other assorted feathered beasties. 
Part of The Forestry trail goes right underneath the treetop adventure playground. So you and your dog can watch all the strange human beings jumping from tree to tree and flying past on the ziplines. 
Cumberland State Forest does get quite busy. Lots of humans and many dogs. Great opportunity for the more social of the puppers to meet some potential friends but it might be a bit of a pain in the but if your doggo is not really a fan of other doggos. 
It’s a great place to hang out a short drive from the Sydney CBD  with plenty of parking once you get there. There are a lot of barbecues and picnic areas and a lovely cafe to get something to eat between your walks. The walks are short and easy and more on the educational side then the serious hiking side but it still makes for a lovely day out, surrounded by some pretty forest and the critters that inhabit it.
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September 2019