One of my all time favourtite walks is the River Trail in Sturt Gorge Recreation Park. I access the trail from a series of other trails, working my way into the gorge from Flagstaff Hill. The River Trail follows the Sturt River and is a beautiful, peaceful, shady trail, with fun sections which require you to clamber over rocks to continue the trail, culminating in a series of pools. (The pools are not the actual end of the trail, but mark a great point to rest, take some pictures, and head back the way you came.)
The best part about the trail, besides it being a 5-minute drive from my house, is that it is not at all busy. Anyone who’s walked the Mt Lofty and Morialta trails knows how crazy busy they can be, but the beauty of Sturt Gorge is that it is tucked away, and you’ll usually only see a handful of other people (and dogs!) on your walk.
My favourite route to follow is to begin at Flagstaff Hill Kindergarten, then start on the Spring Creek Trail, follow it to the River Trail, then follow the River Trail east towards Craigburn Farm, stopping when you get to the set of rock pools that will culminate in a natural end. As mentioned, this is not the end of the River Trail, but a great place to stop and enjoy your surroundings before heading back. Depending on your pace, it will take around 40–50 minutes to walk from the start to the rock pools (around 1.5–2 hours round trip). For an extra challenge, you can follow the River Trail to the Parriana Link trail, which will take you steeply up out of the gorge, then follow the Lomandra Track back to the Spring Creek Trail where you started. This route will take a little longer, and the steep Parianna trail can be challenging, but the view helps ease the pain.
Have you been to Sturt Gorge? What are your favourite trails? Tell us about any other hidden gems you love.