Best summit hikes in South Australia

Hiking up to the summit of a mountain can be a rewarding experience. On the walk up you might wonder why you undertook such an adventure, but often reaching the summit is exhilarating.

We’ve outlined some of the best summit hikes in SA below.

Throughout October we’re celebrating walking with #WalktoberSA. View other lists of Best Walks.

14 of the Best Mountain Hikes in SA

Ridge Trail, Mount George Conservation Park1.

Ridge Trail, Mount George Conservation Park

2.4km, 2 hours

A short hike along fire tracks & walking trails, through a secluded forest to the summit of Mt George, with magnificent views from a rocky outcrop lookout.

Where: Located just off the freeway near Bridgewater, the hike makes an ideal evening adventure.

When to Hike: The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Mount Barker Summit Walking Trail2.

Mount Barker Summit Walking Trail

500m, 1 hour

The short return trail is an easy walk, & passes a lookout area with picnic tables before reaching the summit. Begins at the far end of the summit car park.

Extend the hike by doing the Walking Trail Around Mount Barker Summit.

Where: 45 mins drive down the South Eastern Freeway.

When to Hike: anytime.


St Mary Peak Hike, Wilpena Pound3.

St Mary Peak Hike, Wilpena Pound

19km, 9 hours return

Challenging hike to the summit of St Mary Peak, the highest mountain in the Flinders Ranges. Rewarding panoramic views. Can be done as a two day hike by camping at Cooinda Campsite.

Where: 5.5 hours drive north of Adelaide in Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park.

When to Hike: the trail is closed during hot summer months of December, January and February.


Mount Brown Summit Hike4.

Mount Brown Summit Hike

14.9km, 4-7 hours

A circuit hike along the Heysen Trail up to the summit of Mt Brown. The trail is well marked and gradually climbs the summit, taking in Waukarie Falls and Bald Hill Viewpoint.

Where: 5 hours drive north of Adelaide in Mount Brown Conservation Park.

When to Hike: Summer can be hot. The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Dutchmans Stern Hike5.

Dutchmans Stern Hike

10.6km, 5 hours

Hike the prominent landmark bluff. Explore the rugged landscape by following the interpretive guide & map, featuring plants, animals and geology.

Where: 5 hours drive north of Adelaide in the Dutchmans Stern Conservation Park.

When to Hike: Summer can be hot. The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Devil’s Peak Walking Trail6.

Devil’s Peak Walking Trail

2.4km, 1.5 to 3 hours return

A return bushwalk to the summit of Devil’s Peak, near Quorn and the Pichi Richi Pass. Extensive panoramic views of the Flinders Ranges, Pichi Richi Pass, Port August, Upper Spencer Gulf and beyond to Wilpena Pound.

Where: 4.5 hours drive north of Adelaide, near Quorn.

When to Hike: the walk is closed during the summer Fire Danger Season (generally from 1st November to 15 April).


Rawnsley Bluff Hike and Wilpena Pound Lookout7.

Rawnsley Bluff Hike and Wilpena Pound Lookout

11.3km, 5 hours return

This spectacular hike in Rawnsley Park Station climbs the Wilpena Pound escarpment, providing views into the Pound from the Wilpena Pound Lookout, and views south and east to Chace Range.

Where: 5 hours drive north of Adelaide in Rawnsley Park Station.

When to Hike: summer months can be too warm for such a hike, although setting out very early in the morning may work.


Rosetta Trail, the Bluff8.

Rosetta Trail, the Bluff

800m, 1 hour

Explore the Bluff by walking the 800m Rosetta Trail to the top of the Bluff.

Where: 1.5 hours drive south of Adelaide in Victor Harbor.

When to Hike: anytime, although some summer days may be too hot.


Waite Conservation Reserve & Brownhill Creek Walk9.

Brownhill Summit

Hike up to the top of Brownhill on the Waite Conservation Reserve and Brownhill Creek Walk (9.5km, 3-4 hours). The 9.5km loop takes in some good hills and walking trails within the Waite Conservation Reserve, and the adjoining hills to Brownhill Creek.

Where: close to Adelaide, just out of Mitcham.

When to Hike: anytime, although some summer days may be too hot. Ideal for evening walks in summer.


Black Hill Summit Hike10.

Black Hill Summit Hike

4.2km, 2 hours

An excellent short circuit hike through Black Hill Conservation Park to the summit of Black Hill. The trail is mostly narrow walking track, with some fire track at the top. Views over the Adelaide Plains.

Where: in the north eastern suburbs, at Athelstone, in Black Hill Conservation Park.

When to Hike: The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Mount Cavern Trek11.

Mount Cavern Trek

11.3km, 4-6 hours return

A demanding loop hike over the summit of Mt Cavern and back down into and along Mambray Creek.

This trail is currently closed

Following the Spring 2016 storms, the trail has been closed. Options to restore the trail are still being assessed.

Where: 3 hours drive north of Adelaide in Mambray Creek, in Mount Remarkable National Park.

When to Hike: The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Mount Remarkable Summit Hike12.

Mount Remarkable Summit Hike

13.8km, 5 hours return

Hike along the Heysen Trail up to the summit of Mt Remarkable. The trail is gently graded as it contours up to the summit, and a second route to the summit was opened in 2016 allowing hikers to walk the trail as a loop.

Where: 3 hours drive north of Adelaide near Melrose, in Mount Remarkable National Park.

When to Hike: The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.


Mount Woodroffe13.

Mount Woodroffe (Ngarutjaranya)

At 1,435 metres elevation, Mt Woodroffe is South Australia’s highest peak.

Located in the remote Musgrave Ranges, near the NT border, the only way to access the peak is with a tour group. Generally run only once a year (subject to demand), SEIT Tours and Diverse Travel Australia have permission from the Traditional Aboriginal Owners to hike to the summit.

The tour camps at Ngarutjara, situated at the foot of Ngintaka Pilpirpa (Mt Woodroffe). Meet the traditional custodians of Mt Woodroffe, make camp and settle down to a campfire dinner under the stars while we listen to the elders tell us the creation / law story of Wati Ngintaka, the Giant Perentie Lizard man, armed with this new knowledge you are granted permission to ascend Ngintaka Pilpilpa. Listen also as the Elders explain traditional lifestyle and the history of the region, oral history and story telling is a tradition passed down for thousands of years.

Where: the Musgrave Ranges, near the NT border, in the remote APY Lands in northern South Australia.

When to Hike: winter months and by joining a tour group.

You can read more info about the hike on jez-hiking.blogspot.com.au or peakclimbs.com.


Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike14.

Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike

The list wouldn’t be complete without this ever-popular hike:

A popular walking trail with a cafe at each end, a well made path and regular seating.

This popular walk is short and sweet. With a cafe at each end, a well made path and regular seating, this walk is popular for a reason.

On almost any morning of the year the trail attracts a range of people: some casually walking, others using it as a training walk, some runners, and others with heavy-simulated packs training for distant hiking locations like Nepal. As the walk involves some steep sections, the time taken to walk the trail can vary significantly.

On a busy weekend, car parking at Waterfall Gully can be limited.

Trail distance and duration: 3.9km, 1.5 – 3 hours return. Keen hikers/runners 30-55min up, 25-35min down.

Where: eastern suburbs of Adelaide in Waterfall Gully.

When to Hike: Anytime. The park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.