Walking Trails

Explore helderberg on foot

There are several trails in the Reserve, of which only the Brown Route is 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 that links the Watsonia Trail to Porcupine Buttress.
  • The Dome is for experienced hikers only. 
Route Colour Grade Est duration Distance
Baboon Traverse Orange 1A 5 minutes 400m
Sugarbird Walk Yellow 1A 35 minutes 2.2km
Watsonia Trail Brown 2.5B 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 2.5B 5 hours + break 5 hours
West Peak Pink 3C 7 hours + break 7 hours


Green Easy walking on an established path with a relatively smooth surface.
Orange Walking on a path, frequently rocky, with occasional use of hands required (easy scrambling).
Red 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.
1 Easy 
2 Moderate
3 Strenuous
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 and informative hikes and 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.