IMG 4276 Hallett Cove
IMG 4276 Hallett Cove

Discover Adelaide’s top running trails

03 Jun. 2024 4 min read

If you’re looking to spend more time in nature and improve your fitness, trail running might be perfect for you. It's gaining popularity, and starting on easy trails is a great way to dive in without feeling overwhelmed.

Ready to give it a try? Trail Running SA offers free social trail runs that are fun, inclusive, and informal:

Discover Adelaide’s top running trails
Social runs in Belair National Park

We recently spoke to Claire, who helped found Trail Running SA, a completely volunteer-run, not-for-profit trail running club that organises regular social runs and a series of events each year.

Check out some top tips from Claire below:

What advice would you give for someone looking to start running?

Find a group to run with. Especially with these darker, colder mornings and evenings it helps to have a group to run with to help get you out of bed or out the door after work. It also means you have people to look out for you and lead the way.

Park runs are also a great way to try out running and the 5km courses are accessible for runners and walkers or run-walkers alike. They are free and happen on Saturday mornings starting at 8am at locations across Adelaide and throughout SA. Finally, so many people are not sure about trail running because of the hills but trail runners love to walk, especially on the hills. If you’re worried about getting lost, there are excellent, easy to use mapping apps now to help with navigation via your phone or running watch. These apps show you where you are (like Google Maps) and if you’ve plotted out a route, you can upload it to the app and follow along. If you’re still worried about navigation, join a group run and remember trail runners don’t get lost, they go exploring (and they don’t leave anyone behind).

What is your favourite running trail?

My favourite trail is through Waite Conversation Reserve along the Wild Dogs Loop, Sheoak Loop and onto the Yurrebilla Trail, but I also love Waterfall Loop in Belair National Park and any of the trails in the smaller parks in the hills including Mark Oliphant Conservation Park and Mount George Conversation Park. If I’m after hills, Black Hill Conservation Park is my go-to, and further afield, Deep Creek National Park offers some amazing running along the Heysen Trail.

Discover Adelaide’s top running trails
Cleland National Park

Is there any essential gear required for trail running?

It’s worth getting advice on a good pair of shoes (which will inevitably end up being multiple pairs of shoes). Trail running shoes really are worth it if you want to run on trails as they have more grip and are designed to offer the foot support you need. It’s also worth investing in a running pack or vest to carry your water and food, along with a snake bandage in summer and an emergency blanket year-round. Always go for a bigger capacity as you don’t have to fill the pack and it gives you more options if you eventually start running events with mandatory gear requirements. A headtorch is also a good investment for running early in the morning or at night – we run all year round!

Can anyone join a social run? What level of fitness is needed?

Absolutely. Social runs are a great way to try out trail running and the trail running community is super friendly and welcoming. Introduce yourself to the leader who will start the run by asking if anyone plans to walk and what sort of pace people would like to go if they’re running. We find small groups tend to self-organise around pace and the emphasis is on the social element, meeting like-minded people and enjoying being outdoors. Trail runners also love any excuse to eat so when we have time like on the weekends, we head out for breakfast and coffee after the run and the final Tuesday of the month is pub night for our TRSA Tuesday running groups.

Discover Adelaide’s top running trails
Social runs in Belair National Park

Keen to get started?

You can find out all the details about the social runs on the Trail Running SA website and on the Trail Running SA Facebook page.

Learn more about the top national parks in Adelaide for trail running.

Header image of Hallett Cove Conservation Park.


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