Deep Creek Circuit Hike

Walking Trail Facts
12 km circuit
4-7 hour hike
Suitable for
Hiking, Trail Running
Trail Class
Grade 4, Hard Hike
Park (national park, conservation park, forest, reserve)
Deep Creek Conservation Park
Fleurieu Peninsula
Download maps & GPS files
  1. 2 GPS files
  2. 1 website link
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7 photos
Travel options
  1. Car
Travel time from Adelaide
1-2 hours
Deep Creek Circuit Hike

About the Walking Trail

There are four things, in my mind, that make a hike a good one. Hills – where would the fun be in hiking without them; views – which one can so often naturally find at the top of those hills; ecosystem diversity; and water – to look at, to swim in. The Deep Creek Circuit hike in Deep Creek Conservation Park has all those elements, all along some nicely maintained trails.

The diversity of ecosystems throughout this circuit hike make it all the more enjoyable. From the Xanthorrhoea hillsides, the grassy hill tops, to the closed-in humid valley nooks, and the stands of tall eucalypts, the ecosystems offer a variety that stands in contrast to the cleared farmland further inland. Kangaroos, echindas and blue tongue lizards are plentiful, as unfortunately, are the flies when there’s no breeze.

The hike is made up of four components, which can be hiked by themselves as shorter hikes:


Download KML/KMZ file
Download GPX file


Walk Contributor

Notes from a Trailhead

I love nothing more then experiencing life outdoors by man power - hiking, cycling and paddling. Camping along the way in remote and beautiful locations. And I like the share what I find, so enjoy! Most trips have great photos, topo & walk maps and detailed track notes with them, and GPS files.

Track Notes

The Circuit can be done clockwise or anti-clockwise, from either Trig Campground, the nearby Deep Creek Waterfall trailhead, or Tapanappa Campground. Each start locations are at the top of a hill.

The hike ventures down to the valley bottom before returning to the hill tops – once on the way over via the northern route, then back again via the southern route.

I prefer clockwise because the gradients are easier, the steep sections are downhill, the uphill sections on the better contoured made trails.

0.0km, Tapanappa Campground to Deep Creek Cove

Segment length: 2.3km
From Tapanappa Campground the views from the grassy hilltop over the headlands and long beaches of the South Coast are delightful, and who could object to sharing the view with the grazing kangaroos.

First on the hike it’s down to the coast, so heading clockwise around the circuit. Later it’s up to Trig Campground, before returning via the waterfall. The first up-close glimpse of the rugged coastline is breathtaking, seeing the wild waves crashing into the base of the rocky cliffs.

The trek down to Deep Creek Cove is quick, which means, quite simply, it’s a very steep trek down. The little beach in the cove is wild, the rough seas crash into the collection of large rocks interspersed with driftwood. The estuary behind the rocky beach, the outlet of Deep Creek, is calm and sandy, and not a bad place for an impromptu game of cricket (truly, I’ve seen it).

2.3km, Deep Creek Cove to Trig Campground

Segment length: 3.6km
The hike out up to Trig Campground is gentler. Recent fires have cleared much of the landscape. The hillside is regenerating with towering Xanthorrhoea shoots rising from blackened stumps. The Xanthorrhoea, or Yackas, are an ancient plant that withstands fire well. It would want to, when the plants can easily be between 200 and 600 years old. Half way up the hill there are the ruins of an old one-roomed cottage, with thick stone walls and a fireplace. The doors faces the vast valley, away from the coast. It’s hard to imagine quite what was in the mind of the original settlers, or what activity they were undertaking in this dense, rugged area. Nearby are the remnants of a large walled garden.

The trail enters Trig Campground at the picnic area, with a nice shelter and rain water tank. The toilets is close by, in campground is just north of the picnic area.

5.9km, Trig Campground to the Deep Creek Waterfall hike Trailhead

Segment length: 700m
Following the road north about one kilometre through the campsite one finds the long distance hiking trail, the Heysen Trail, as it crosses the road. It’s also our route back down the valley, to Deep Creek Waterfall. There is a small roadside carpark here.

6.6km, Deep Creek Waterfall hike Trailhead to Deep Creek Waterfall

Segment length: 2.6km
It’s a steep descent, but not as steep as it was from Tapanappa Campground down to Deep Creek Cove. This time the trail is well stepped, and there’s usually plenty of people to encounter on this popular section. Down in the valley, Deep Creek Waterfall with its waterhole can be found. The creek doesn’t always flow, as seasons vary, but can sometimes be found flowing in summer. The waterhole is, by South Australian standards, a good one. Lying in the sun on the large rocks beside the pool forms part of the essential rest-time here.

9.2km, Deep Creek Waterfall to Tapanappa Campground

Segment length: 3.2km
Walking out from the waterfall and valley, the track up to Tapanappa Campground is new and very well graded. It’s a welcome track, an easy climb as it contours around the hillsides.