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Sturt Gorge Recreation Park

  • Dogs on Lead
  • Horse Riding
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Cycling

About

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is internationally recognised as an area of conservation and geological significance. The park conserves the nationally threatened greybox grassy woodland vegetation which was once abundant across southern Australia. The park is also home to a rock formation, known as sturt tillite, that is believed to have been formed from glacial material dropped from ice floating in the ocean that covered South Australia 800 million years ago.

The new land addition of Craigburn Farm has increased the park area considerably. It has been developed into a major revegetation site, and a destination for mountain bike riding and hiking with a high class network of new trails which offers the opportunity to observe the oldest rocks in the park and their surrounding grasslands and open woodlands.

You can ride your bike on roads open to the public or use the specific mountain bike trails and tracks on offer in the Sturt Gorge Recreation Park. Or walk among the steep slopes and shrubland, look out for the diverse range of native animals which come to drink at the waterholes along the Sturt River.

Opening hours

Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Contact details

Natural Resources Centre - Black Hill

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901
Email: DEW.AMLRBlackHillOffice@sa.gov.au

After Hours Regional Duty Officer: 0427 556 676

When to visit

Climatically and scenically, autumn and spring are the best times to visit this park. The summer months from December through to February can be very hot and dry. If you're lucky enough to visit the park a few weeks after a soaking rain, you will be rewarded with ephemeral wildflowers and the sound of frogs in flowing creeks.

Getting there

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park is located 13km south of Adelaide. Entry to the park is on foot, with with a number of pedestrian entry points readily available around the perimeter. For example, you can enter from Broadmeadow Drive, Black Road and Bonneyview Road in Flagstaff Hill, The Boulevard in Bellevue Heights and Craigburn Road in Craigburn Farm.

Assistance dogs

Assistance dogs are permitted in most public places and are therefore welcome in South Australia’s parks and reserves. Assistance dogs must be appropriately restrained on a lead and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

As per the dogs in parks and reserves policy, if the dog is not an accredited assistance dog, they must be trained to assist a person with a disability to alleviate that disability and meet standards of hygiene and behaviour appropriate for a dog in a public place. However, refusal may be given if the person with the disability is unable to produce evidence the dog is an assistance dog with the appropriate training.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park that does not normally allow dogs, it is highly recommended that you contact us so we can provide you with the latest information on any potential hazards within specific parks that may affect your dog. Please contact the park via the contact details provided under the contact tab or call the information line on (+61 8) 8204 1910.

Dogs allowed (on lead)

Dogs are welcome in this park.

Please ensure you:

  • Keep your dog under control and on a lead no more than two metres in length.
  • Stick to designated walking trails.
  • Bring disposable bags to clean up your dog’s faeces (please be aware there are no bins in national parks).

Discover other parks you can walk your dog in on our find a park tool or read 12 dog-friendly walks in Adelaide Parks by Good Living for inspiration.

Facilities

There are no facilities in the park. Please ensure you carry sufficient water, food and supplies for your entire visit. It is also a good idea to let a responsible person know of your intended movements and when you expect to return.

Useful information

 

  • Mobile phone coverage is good in most areas of the park.

  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Plants and animals

Flora and fauna species lists

To download flora (plants) and fauna (animals) species lists for this park, use the 'Create Simple Species List' tab under 'Flora Tools' or 'Fauna Tools'  in NatureMaps

Pests and diseases

Phytophthora (fy-TOFF-thora), otherwise known as root-rot fungus, is killing our native plants and threatens the survival of animals depending on plants for food and shelter.

This introduced fungus can be found in plant roots, soil and water. Help stop the spread by using hygiene stations, staying on tracks and trails and by complying with all Phytophthora management signs.

Traditional owners

Aboriginal peoples have occupied, enjoyed and managed the lands and waters of this State for thousands of generations. For Aboriginal first nations, creation ancestors laid down the laws of the Country and bestowed a range of customary rights and obligations to the many Aboriginal Nations across our state. 

There are many places across the State that have great spiritual significance to Aboriginal first nations.  At some of these places Aboriginal cultural protocols, such as restricted access, are promoted and visitors are asked to respect the wishes of Traditional Owners.

In places where protocols are not promoted visitors are asked to show respect by not touching or removing anything, and make sure you take all your rubbish with you when you leave.

Aboriginal peoples continue to play an active role in caring for their Country, including in parks across South Australia. 

Videos and virtual tours

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park - a view from above

See and do

Rangers recommend

We have picked the brains of our park rangers to find out what they would recommend you see and do whilst visiting this park.

  • Hiking along the River Trail through the Sturt River and discovering the rugged beauty of Sturt Gorge.
  • Taking a stroll around the lake away from the hustle and bustle.
  • Getting out with the family and enjoying nature, be sure to look out for the diverse range of native animals.
  • Riding your bike and experiencing a bit of everything the mountain bike trails have to offer. 
  • Exploring significant geological history and discovering rock formations believed to be 800 million years old.
  • Visiting Craigburn Farm and admiring the magnificent views whilst riding your bike or taking a walk.
  • Finding yourself submerged amongst nationally threatened greybox woodland along the Lomandra Trail.
  • Riding your horse along the Surf and Turf Trail and enjoying the views of both the old pastures and of the sea.
  • Walking your dog through the park (remember dogs must be on a lead at all times).
  • Check out 5 things to see and do in Sturt Gorge Recreation Park on Good Living.

     

Bushwalking

Bushwalking is a fantastic way to connect with nature, keep fit and spend time with family and friends. South Australia's national parks feature a range of trails that let you experience a diversity of landscapes.

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Moderate hikes

  • Cow Bones Loop (45 mins, 2km loop)

    A mix of open and twisty trail. Featuring dense acacia forest.

  • Surf and Turf (20 mins, 1.2km)

    An easy trail with views of both the old pastures and of the sea.

  • Craigberms (10 mins, 700m)

    For lovers of bermed corners and big dippers.

  • Sidewinder (1 hour, 2.8km)

    A long trail that hugs the hillside. Great fun in both directions.

  • Stick and Stones (30 mins, 1.5km)

    A challenging trail featuring rock gardens. Try it both ways!

  • Little River (30 mins, 1.5km)

    A gentle trail featuring views of the spring-fed creek. Follow this to the lake.

  • Walk the Dog (40 mins, 1.8km)

    An easy trail for the whole family with sweeping views of the hills and valleys.

  • Lakeview (30 mins, 1.5km)

    A great trail for a stroll around the lake away from the hustle and bustle. Ride bikes at walking pace only.

  • Gunners Run (1 hour, 3km)

    A flowing contour trail with a bit of everything. Great fun in both directions.

  • Horners Corners (45 mins, 2km)

    An easy and fun surfaced trail that links with external council shared-use paths.

Hard hikes

  • River Trail (4 hrs, 8km)

    An adventurous route through the Sturt River valley that explores the rugged beauty of Sturt Gorge. The trail can link Horner’s Bridge with Adam’s Orchard Trail to Main South Road and beyond. Some sections are for walking only. Some steep inclines. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Spring Creek Trail (30 mins, 1km)

    This trail follows Spring Creek along the valley to the Sturt River, and provides challenging sections for both walkers and cyclists. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Wattle Trail (2 hrs, 4km)

    With challenging sections for both walkers and cyclists, this trail explores many of the park’s historic track and trail routes on the southern side of the flood control dam. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Lomandra Trail (2 hrs, 4km)

    Get off the asphalt and back to nature! Ride or walk along this trail that runs parallel to Broadmeadow Drive through sheoak and grey box woodland. For an extended journey, follow the trail all the way down to the gorge; there are several options to get you back to the top. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • de Rose Trail (2 hrs, 4km)

    Named after the de Rose family who settled this land in the 1920s, walk or ride the extended and meandering north-south route across the Sturt River. Spectacular views of the Sturt Gorge and Adelaide Plains appear around every corner. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Tapa Turrungka Trail (1.5 hrs, 3km)

    This is `the path on the ridge’, in the language of the Kaurna people. Walk or ride along the northern boundary of the park amongst grey box grassy woodland, with views across the gorge. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Magpie Creek Trail (30 mins, 1km)

    Follows Magpie Creek to the park boundary where it connects with the City of Mitcham’s Magpie Gully Trail. Some sections are walking only. See Sturt Tillite at the junction with the Sturt River; flat shiny rock that provided the first evidence of glacial activity in the Southern Hemisphere! Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Parrianna Link Trail (15 mins, 400 m)

    A challenging but quick route down to the picturesque spring-fed cascades of Sturt River, this trail is for walking only. Create your own loop walk by using the River Trail and other trails. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

Mountain Biking

You can ride your bike on public roads and any specific cycling trails and tracks on offer in this park. 

Please obey signs and use the trail classifications and descriptions, where available, to select trails suitable to your ability. Many trails are shared, so always keep an eye out for others. Generally, cyclists give way to pedestrians. Please be considerate of all trail users at all times.

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Learn more about cycling in SA's parks, including other parks offering cycle tracks, trail classification and read the trail user code of practice for important points to remember when planning your bike ride.

Intermediate

  • Cow Bones Loop (2km loop)

    A mix of open and twisty trail. Featuring dense acacia forest.

  • Surf and Turf (1.2km)

    An easy trail with views of both the old pastures and of the sea.

  • Craigberms (700m)

    For lovers of bermed corners and big dippers.

  • Sidewinder (2.8km)

    A long trail that hugs the hillside. Great fun in both directions.

  • Stick and Stones (1.5km)

    A challenging trail featuring rock gardens. Try it both ways!

  • Little River (1.5km)

    A gentle trail featuring views of the spring-fed creek. Follow this to the lake.

  • Walk the Dog (1.8km)

    An easy trail for the whole family with sweeping views of the hills and valleys.

  • Lakeview (1.5km)

    A great trail for a stroll around the lake away from the hustle and bustle. Ride bikes at walking pace only.

  • Gunners Run (3km)

    A flowing contour trail with a bit of everything. Great fun in both directions.

  • Horners Corners (2km)

    An easy and fun surfaced trail that links with external council shared-use paths.

  • River Trail (8km)

    An adventurous route through the Sturt River valley that explores the rugged beauty of Sturt Gorge. The trail can link Horner’s Bridge with Adam’s Orchard Trail to Main South Road and beyond. Some sections are for walking only. Some steep inclines. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Spring Creek Trail (1km)

    This trail follows Spring Creek along the valley to the Sturt River, and provides challenging sections for both walkers and cyclists. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Wattle Trail (4km)

    With challenging sections for both walkers and cyclists, this trail explores many of the park’s historic track and trail routes on the southern side of the flood control dam. This trail has some particularly steep sections - watch for warning markers. Bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Lomandra Trail (4km)

    Get off the asphalt and back to nature! Ride or walk along this trail that runs parallel to Broadmeadow Drive through sheoak and grey box woodland. For an extended journey, follow the trail all the way down to the gorge; there are several options to get you back to the top. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • de Rose Trail (4km)

    Named after the de Rose family who settled this land in the 1920s, walk or ride the extended and meandering north-south route across the Sturt River. Spectacular views of the Sturt Gorge and Adelaide Plains appear around every corner. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Tapa Turrungka Trail (3km)

    This is `the path on the ridge’, in the language of the Kaurna people. Walk or ride along the northern boundary of the park amongst grey box grassy woodland, with views across the gorge. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Magpie Creek Trail (1km)

    Follows Magpie Creek to the park boundary where it connects with the City of Mitcham’s Magpie Gully Trail. Some sections are walking only. See Sturt Tillite at the junction with the Sturt River; flat shiny rock that provided the first evidence of glacial activity in the Southern Hemisphere! Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

  • Parrianna Link Trail (400 m)

    A challenging but quick route down to the picturesque spring-fed cascades of Sturt River, this trail is for walking only. Create your own loop walk by using the River Trail and other trails. Some steep inclines. Some bushwalking/mountain biking experience and an average level of fitness recommended.

Horse riding

Sturt Gorge has plenty of trails ideal for horse riding. Riders are asked to make a minimal impact on the environment and to be considerate of the flora and fauna, other trail users, property and residents.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.

  • Use Find a Park to discover which parks you can camp in.

Volunteering

Want to help?

To find out how you can help in this park or nearby, please visit Natural Resources Adelaide and Mt Lofty Ranges – Volunteering.

Want to join others and become a Park Friend?

To find out more about Friends of Parks groups please visit Friends of Parks South Australia.

You could join others to help look after a park. You can take part in working bees, training and other events.

 

Million Trees Program

Sturt Gorge Recreation Park recently grew by another 180 ha thanks to the addition of adjacent Craigburn Farm. The inclusion increased the reserve by 70%. The parcel of land, containing patches of grey box woodland with an abundance of sheoak and South Australian blue gum, was once part of Minda Farm at Blackwood. It connects and buffers Sturt Gorge Recreation Park, which contains some of the largest and intact remnant communities of grey box woodland in the Adelaide region. The SA Urban Forest - Million Trees Program is restoring the Craigburn Farm landscape through the control of woody weeds, revegetation with local native species and native grassland management.

 

Safety

Bushwalking

Generally both cyclists and walkers give way to horses, and cyclists give way to walkers.

Ensure that you:

  • when hiking, wear sturdy shoes, a hat and sunscreen
  • be aware of weather conditions and avoid walking during the hottest part of the day
  • make sure you have appropriate weather proof clothing
  • carry enough water to be self-sufficient
  • please be respectful of other users at all times
  • stay on the designated trails and connector tracks for your own safety, and prevent the spread of declared weeds to other areas in the park
  • ensure someone knows your approximate location and expected time of return
  • take appropriate maps.
  • Walk, hike or trek - what's the difference?

Mountain biking

Trail Users Code of Practice

To protect the surrounding environment and to ensure the safety of all riders and shared trail users, please be aware of the international Trail Users Code of Practice when using shared trails. Important points to remember include:

  • plan your ride
  • comply with all signs
  • ride only on formed tracks/trails
  • share the trail - obey give way rules
  • avoid riding in wet, muddy conditions
  • ride lightly and leave no trace or rubbish
  • control your bike within your limits
  • clean your bike to avoid the spread of weeds or plant diseases
  • carry sufficient food and drinking water
  • respect the rights of others
  • tell others about the code

Know before you go

Every national park is different, each has its own unique environment, it is important to be responsible while enjoying all the park has to offer.

  • keep your dog on a lead at all times and check if there are areas of the park where dogs are not allowed
  • fishing and yabbying is not permitted anywhere within the park
  • do not feed birds or other animals, it promotes aggressive behaviour and an unbalanced ecology
  • do not bring generators (except where permitted), chainsaws or firearms into the park
  • leave the park as you found it - place rubbish in the bins provided or take it with you
  • abide by the road rules (maintain the speed limit)
  • respect geological and heritage sites
  • do not remove native plants
  • are considerate of other park users.
  • Important: Collection of firewood within National Parks is prohibited.

Fire

This park is closed on days of Catastrophic Fire Danger and may be closed on days of Extreme Fire Danger.

Listen to the local area radio station for the latest updates and information on fire safety. 

Fire restrictions

  • Wood fires, gas fires and solid fuel fires are prohibited throughout the year.
  • Ensure you are familiar with the fire restrictions for this park.

Water

Heavy rainfall can cause creeks to rise and flow rapidly. Please do not cross rapidly flowing creeks as there is a risk of slipping and falling.

Dogs

Why does my dog need to be on a lead?

If your dog is off lead, it is more likely to impact on native wildlife and other visitors in a park and be at risk itself.

Risks to wildlife:

  • Dogs off tracks will leave a scent in the bush that will keep wildlife away.
  • Uncontrolled dogs may frighten wildlife and disrupt their natural behaviour.
  • Some dogs will kill or injure wildlife.

Risks to other park visitors

  • Dogs may be aggressive to other park visitors.
  • Even friendly dogs can knock people over causing injury.
  • Some people want to enjoy parks without dogs.

Risks to your dog

  • Poison baits may be laid to control foxes. Baits can be fatal to dogs.
  • Even if your dog is friendly, other dogs may not be.
  • Your dog can catch parasites (such as fleas and ticks) from wildlife.
  • Snake bites are a real risk in natural areas such as parks.
  • Wildlife such as kangaroos and koalas will defend themselves if threatened by a dog and can cause significant injury to or the death of your dog.

Maps

Park maps

Maps on your mobile

If you have a smartphone or tablet you can download the free Avenza PDF Map app and have interactive national park maps on hand when you need them.

The app uses your device's built-in GPS to plot your real-time location within the park onto a map. The app can be used without a network connection and without roaming charges. You can also measure area and distance, plot photos and drop placemark pins. 

How to get it working on your device:

1. Download the Avenza PDF maps app from the app store whilst you are still in range (its free!).
2. Open up the app and click the shopping cart icon.
3. Click ‘Find’ and type the name of the national park or reserve you are looking for.
4. Click on the map you are after and install it (all our maps are free).
5. You will now find a list of your installed maps on the home page of the Avenza app.
6. Use our maps through the Avenza PDF map app while in the park and never take a wrong turn again.

Fees

Entry fees

Come and enjoy this park for free. 

Park pass

This park is not included in the park pass system. 

Camping and accommodation

There is no camping or accommodation available within this park. 

Other fees and permits

There are no other fees or permits associated with this park. 

PDF Park Brochure