Blackwood Forest Recreation Park

  • Dogs on Lead
  • Horse Riding
  • Walking Trails
  • Bird Watching
  • Cycling
PDF Park Brochure
Blackwood Forest SA map

This picturesque suburban park is a popular spot for taking a stroll with you dog and is available for weddings and wedding photos.


This small forested recreation park provides valuable open-space in a suburban setting. The park is highly valued by the local community and is popular for walking, jogging, horse riding, cycling, and dog exercising. 

Opening hours

This park is open seven days a week from sunrise to sunset (except Christmas Day).

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 Resource Centre - Black Hill

Phone: (+61 8) 8336 0901

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. 

Getting there

Blackwood Forest Recreation Park is located 12 kilometres south of Adelaide in the Mount Lofty Ranges suburb of Hawthorndene.

Dogs allowed

This recreation park is the only national park in the state in which you can exercise your dog off a lead. Please ensure your dog is under your control and be respectful of other park users.

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.

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 and remain under your effective control at all times while in a park or reserve.

Before taking your assistance dog into a park or reserve, other than those listed above, 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.


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.

European history

This petite Recreation Park was first acquired by the government in 1908 for use as an experimental orchard and continued to be used for horticultural research until the 1960s. Sustained public concern over a period of more than 15 years since the mid 1980s, seeking to have the land retained as open space resulted in it being proclaimed a Recreation Park under the National Parks and Wildlife Act in November 2001.

Blackwood Experimental Orchard

The land was purchased in 1908 to establish an orchard to trial and experiment with a wide range of fruit trees. In 1927, a census counted over 4 000 varieties of fruit trees. It was considered to be the largest collection of varieties in one plantation anywhere in the world. In the late 1930s, problems with soil erosion and fertility led to the orchard being mainly replanted with varieties more suited to the local climate. Contour planting was used for the first time in the state and green manure crops were planted between the rows of fruit trees. Orcharding in the area declined in the 1960s and resources were progressively transferred to a new facility at Lenswood. This orchard ceased functioning in 1968. 

Orchard Manager's House

Orchard managers and their families lived in this house until the orchard closed in 1968. It was a substantial louvre-roofed villa consisting of six main rooms, a cellar and return verandahs on the northern and western sides. The vacant house was regularly vandalized. In 1998, some repairs were undertaken by volunteers. Sadly, in December 2008, the house was severely damaged by fire and had to be demolished. 

The Importance of Community action

Government plans to rezone and sell off the land, in 1985 and 1993, resulted in community protest meetings and petitions demanding that the land be retained in perpetuity as public open space.

The Save the Blackwood Forest Committee was formed in 1993 and for the next nine years maintained pressure on the state government and a succession of ministers. Protest rallies and marches, public meetings, community tree plantings and tent embassies on the land reinforced the message that the community valued the public open space. Their message to the government was clear – this community asset was ‘not for sale’.

In 2001, after a long and difficult struggle, the Blackwood Forest Reserve was declared permanent open space as part of the Greater Mount Lofty Parklands.

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. 

See and do


There is currently no bushwalking information available for this park, please contact the park office for more information. 

Horse riding

There is parking with enough room for one float and shared use trails that you can ride along within the park.

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

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.

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.

Stay in the park

Camping is not permitted within this park.


Following the removal of the former Blackwood Experimental Orchard sheds in 1997, National Parks and Wildlife staff began removing feral ash, hawthorn and olive trees from along Minno Creek.

Revegetation using local species continues to be carried out by the local community, led by the Friends of Blackwood Forest. This is good for the biodiversity of the area and helps to improve the health of the waterway. Revegetation will continue to focus on the zone adjacent to Minno Creek with large areas elsewhere kept as open space.



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.



The international Trail Users Code of Conduct is to show respect and courtesy towards other trail users at all times.

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?


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.

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.

Please ensure that you:

  • keep your dog on a lead at all times and check if there are areas of the park where dogs are not allowed
  • 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.

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



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