Walking Trails

Explore helderberg on foot

There are eight trails in the Reserve, of which the Brown Route and Baboon Traverse are non-circular. Many regular walkers buy an Early Riser key which allows them access to the Reserve on foot before opening hours. This is a great way to beat the heat and enjoy a quiet walk. Early Riser keys are available from the Visitor Centre. Applicants need to be a valid member of the Friends of the Helderberg Nature Reserve. Membership cards are also obtainable at the Visitor Centre.

route info

  • The Pink (West peak) route goes to the top of West peak which is outside the Reserve.
  • The Green (Woodies Walk) route is also outside the Reserve. All the other trails are within the Reserve.
  • The Brown (Watsonia trail) route is the only non-circular route.
  • Baboon Traverse (Orange) is a new section of Trail linking Watsonia, West Peak and The Dome via Porcupine Buttress.
  • The Dome is for experienced hikers only. 
Route Colour Grade Est duration Distance
Baboon Traverse Orange 1A 10 minutes 400m
Sugarbird Walk Yellow 1A 45 minutes 2.9km
Watsonia Trail Brown 2A 3 hours + break 4km
Caracal Trail Black 1B 1 hour + break 4.4km
Protea Trail Blue 2A 2 hours + break 6.2km
Leopard Loop Red 2B 3 hours + break 8.2km
Woodies Walk Green 2B 5 hours + break 5 hours
West Peak Pink 3C 7 hours + break 7 hours


1 Easy Easy walking on an established path with a relatively smooth surface.
2 Moderate Walking on a path, frequently rocky, with occasional use of hands required (easy scrambling).
3 Strenuous Walking on or off a path. Frequent use of hands (scrambling) to pull oneself upward. Or steep downhill sections with loose stones. Or hikes where good balance or strong ankles are required.
A No exposure to heights
B Some exposure to heights
C Moderate exposure to heights

when hiking…

Please treat the mountain with respect and take suitable precautions when hiking:

  • Wear suitable footwear. Boots are highly recommended for the longer trails
  • Take sufficient water to drink
  • Take warm clothing – the weather changes quickly at higher altitudes
  • Wear a hat and use sunblock
  • Take snacks but please no littering. Bring back your rubbish!
  • NO fires under any circumstances
  • In case of an unforeseen accident, it is recommended that you do not walk on your own
  • Take your cellphone with you and be sure to have the emergency number for Wilderness Search And Rescue with you: +27 (0) 21 937 0300

guided hikes

  Join one of our guided hikes and informative day walks.

A legacy of life

The rich natural environment of the Helderberg Nature Reserve is home to a wide variety of plant and animal life.