- 7.5 km one way
- 2-3 hours one way (15km return, 4-6 hours return)
- Suitable for
- Hiking, Trail Running
- Grade 4, Hard Hike
- Park (national park, conservation park, forest, reserve)
- Mount George Conservation Park
- Adelaide Hills
- Download maps & GPS files
- 1 map PDF
- 2 GPS files
- 36 photosJump to Photos section
- Travel options
- Travel time from Adelaide
- 1 hour or less
About the Walking Trail
This highlight walk of the Heysen Trail starts from Mount Lofty Summit. Descending the summit, see views over Piccadilly Valley and its orchards and vineyards, before walking past Piccadilly houses. The trail passes through the Scout’s Woodhouse Activity Centre and the Stirling Golf Course before entering the forest in Mount George Conservation Park. After passing through the first of two tunnels, the trail passes the Fairy Garden in Deanery Reserve, and follows Cox Creek to Old Bridgewater Mill.
The full Heysen Trail is 1,200km long, from Cape Jervis in the south, to the Flinders Ranges in the north. Bridgewater is 175km from the Cape Jervis trailhead.
The directions are written from Mount Lofty Summit to Bridgewater, but of course the walk could be walked in the opposite direction too.
- Begin this hike at the carpark at the entrance to Mt Lofty Summit. Parking here is free, but limited. Walk east, and downhill, following the Heysen Trail
- After 1km, the Heysen Trail reaches the bitumen road, Sprigg Road. Follow this road.
- After 800m, Sprigg Road reaches a T-junction with Lambert Road. This is also where the Heysen Trail continues in two directions, so ensure you turn left towards Bridgwater, and not right to Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens.
- Crossing Piccadilly Road follow the opposite road, Hanson Road, which shortly ends and becomes a walking track in a road reserve
- After coming out of the road reserve, almost immediately climb the stile and enter the Scout’s Woodhouse Adventure Centre. Continue through the centre following the Heysen Trail markers
- Leaving the Woodhouse Adventure Centre, cross Carey Gully Road and enter the Stirling Golf Course. Watch out for golf buggies
- Follow the trail through the avenue of trees in to Mount George Conservation Park
- In the park, continue along the Heysen Trail, crossing the Davenport Bridge
- Pass by the junction of Timbercutters Track
- Pass over the Tiersman Bridge. The bridge commemorates the tiersman of the Adelaide Hills, the first white settlers who mostly worked logging the area,
- After the bridge there is a carpark and picnic area
- The trail passes through a tunnel under the freeway
- After the tunnel under the freeway, the trail follows the freeway for a short distance, before entering a carpark, where there is a Fairy Garden, in Deanery Reserve
- The road here is Old Mount Barker Road, and it is the original road. Built in the 1840s as a bullock track, the Great Eastern Road wen through the hills to Melbourne. The bridge here is one of the few structures in South Australia that was build by convicts, as South Australia was settled by free settlers. In the 1850s the bridge and road here were bypassed by the current Mount Barker Road in Bridgewater (which in turn were superseded by the South Eastern Freeway in the 1970s).
- The trail then passes through the Arbury Park Outdoor School parklands, following Cox Creek in a tunnel under railway. The railway here originally crossed Cox Creek on a large bridge. The bridge was replaced by an embankment in the 1920s, and the original bridge buttresses and pillars were buried in to the embankment, and can still be seen today.
- The Heysen Trail then follows the original water race, which fed water from Cox Creek into the water wheel at Bridgewater Mill. At the Mill, there is a Heysen Trail trailhead near the playground, which is the end of this hike. The Heysen Trail continues further 175km through the Adelaide Hills to Victor Harbor and Cape Jervis
Options to do this Hike Differently
It’s possible to do this walk in other ways:
Start at Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens
Start from the upper carpark at the Mount Lofty Botanic Gardens, and follow the alternative Heysen Trail down through the Gardens (the Heysen Trail has two routes around Mount Lofty). Or just walk down any of the quiet cool gullies to the lower carpark, then follow the Heysen Trail to the intersection of Sprigg Road and Lambert Road (3).
A Child Friendly Walk from Bridgewater to the Fairy Garden
1km each way.
Begin from Old Bridgewater Mill, and walk in reverse through the tunnel under the railway, through Arbury Park Outdoor School parklands to the Fairy Garden at Deanery Reserve. Return to Old Bridgewater Mill.
Bridgewater to Mount George Conservation Park
1.8km each way.
Begin from Old Bridgewater Mill, and walk in reverse through the tunnel under the railway, through Arbury Park Outdoor School parklands, past the Fairy Garden at Deanery Reserve and into the picnic area at Mount George Conservation Park. Dogs are permitted through all this, including the picnic area. The picnic area is 1.8km one-way from Bridgewater.
2.7km each way.
Optionally, continue on through the forests of Mount George Conservation Park, turning around at Davenport Bridge, which is 2.7km from Bridgewater.
Although this is a one-way hike, public transport can be easily used to avoid returning by the same route, or to avoid using two cars. Catch the Adelaide Metro public transport bus, route 864, from bus stop 46 on Mount Barker Road Summit Road to Crafers, where you can transfer to an 823 bus service to Mount Lofty Summit. The 823 bus only runs 3-4 times a day, so be sure to check out the timetable first.