The well-known and popular Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike is good – short and sweet (code for good, but steep).
There are eight other ways to hike up to the summit of Mt Lofty, outlined below. Some are gentler, some just as steep. Expect to see fewer people but more koalas and kangaroos.
Explore more walks in the 765 walks in our Find a Place to Walk directory.
Nine Ways to Hike Up Mt Lofty
Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike
3.9km, 1.5 – 3 hours return.
The most well known and popular walking trail up Mt Lofty, with a cafe at each end, a well made path and regular seating. It’s a great trail, but can be very busy.
We’ve outlined some alternatives below.
Steub Trail to Mt Lofty Summit
7km return, 3 hours
The Steub Trail gently climbs through heathy forest woodland communities from the Cleland Wildlife Park to Mount Lofty Summit. The trail is suitable for walking, prams, trail-running and mountain bikers. The trail has gentle, low-gradient access making it possible for those with reduced mobility to reach the summit.
Mt Lofty Summit from Chambers Gully
15km return, 3-5 hours
This is our favourite alternate way to hike up Mt Lofty. Enjoy the cool sanctuary of Chambers Gully. This route joins the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike 600m from the top.
Heysen Trail Mt Lofty circuit
7.5km, 3-5 hours
Experience a Heysen Trail highlight on this 7.5km loop hike. The hike includes the summit of Mt Lofty, quaint cottages and small-scale farming in Piccadilly Valley, a walk through the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, and the stringybark forests of Cleland Conservation Park.
We suggest walking clockwise for the easier gradients.
You could begin by parking in Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens (parking fees apply), or at a small parking area near Bus Stop 25 Summit Rd.
Mount Lofty to Bridgewater on the Heysen Trail
7.5km, 2-3 hours one way (15km return, 4-6 hours return)
Walk to Mt Lofty Summit from Bridgewater along the Heysen Trail. Walk through two tunnels, the Fairy Garden in Deanery Reserve, and through the tall forested Mt George Conservation Park. The final approach up the summit is steep, but the trail here is well made. Use Adelaide Metro bus services to walk one way, and catch the bus back.
Loop from Measdays Lookout along Adventure Trail and Measdays Hike
6.8km, 2-3 hours
This route is serene. A walk from Measdays Lookout, along the Measdays Hike, an unnamed single track walking trail that passes a waterfall, and descend through the forest along Chinamans Hut Track on the Adventure Hike.
When you reach Attunga Track, continue along Chinamans Track to join the Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty summit hike 600m from the top.
Wine Shanty Hike
10km, 4 hours
A circuit bushwalk in Cleland Conservation Park, meandering through stringbark forest, some steep climbs with gentler sections. Hike past Keirs Ruin, an old farm house abandoned in the 1900s.
Use the Lodge Track to access Mt Lofty Summit, adding an extra 1.4km one way to the hike.
Adventure Trail from Waterfall Gully to Mt Lofty Summit
10km return, 3 hours
This hike provides an alternative route to Mt Lofty Summit from Waterfall Gully. Enjoy the forests as the fire track follows the ridges up Chinamans Hut Track.
Main St Crafers to Mt Lofty Summit
4.5km, 2 hours one-way
The 4.5km walking track from Crafers to the Mt Lofty summit takes a different approach. Starting in Main Street Crafers, you are already high up. This gentle trail follows the backstreets through Crafers, past historic homes, then quiet walking paths winding through the forest. Option to use Adelaide Metro bus to hike one way, and return by bus.