10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Winona Griggs

10 stunning trail running paths near Cape Town

Hey there! If you’re a fan of trail running like me, then Cape Town is the place to be. I’ve explored some breathtaking routes in this area, and I’m excited to share my top ten favorites with you. So lace up your running shoes and let’s dive in!

Lion’s Head

First up is Lion’s Head. This trail offers panoramic views of the city and the ocean. You’ll climb to the top of the mountain, navigating winding paths and rocky terrain. The view from the summit is absolutely worth the effort!

Table Mountain

Next on the list is Table Mountain. This iconic landmark has several routes to choose from, catering to different fitness levels. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced trail runner, you’ll find a path that suits your needs.

Silvermine Nature Reserve

If you’re looking for a variety of scenery, the Silvermine Nature Reserve is the perfect choice. From dense forests to open plains, this route has it all. Keep an eye out for wildlife along the way!

Constantia Greenbelt

The Constantia Greenbelt offers a peaceful escape from the city. This trail meanders through lush greenery and alongside babbling streams. It’s a great option for those who enjoy a more serene running experience.

Jonkershoek Nature Reserve

For a challenging trail run, head to the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve. You’ll encounter steep ascents, rugged terrain, and breathtaking waterfalls. This route is not for the faint of heart, but the sense of accomplishment is unmatched.

Helderberg Nature Reserve

Another great option is the Helderberg Nature Reserve. This trail offers a combination of forest paths and mountain views. It’s a fantastic place to connect with nature while getting your heart rate up.

Signal Hill

Signal Hill is a popular choice for both locals and tourists. The trail takes you through fynbos and offers stunning panoramic views of the city and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s especially beautiful at sunrise or sunset.

Cecilia Forest

If you’re in search of a tranquil escape, check out Cecilia Forest. This shaded route winds through the forest alongside a peaceful river. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in nature without straying too far from the city.

Newlands Forest

Newlands Forest is a favorite among trail runners. With its well-maintained paths and beautiful scenery, it’s easy to see why. The route offers a mix of shade and open areas, making it a pleasant run in any weather.

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Lastly, we have the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. This trail allows you to explore the stunning gardens while enjoying a refreshing run. You’ll pass by colorful flowers, towering trees, and even a picturesque waterfall.

Well, there you have it – my top ten trail running routes near Cape Town. Each one offers its own unique charm and beauty, so go ahead and give them a try. Happy running!

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Lucky for us in the Western Cape, we have an abundance of mountains and diverse landscapes that create the perfect playground for trail running enthusiasts like myself. The countless intertwining tracks offer endless possibilities for exploration. I reached out to Robert Henning, an experienced trail runner and the founder of Pacer Running, to get his personal recommendations for the best trails in the Cape.

1. Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Let’s get started: I recommend starting at the main gate of the Mont Rochelle nature reserve. The entry fee is R50.

It might be a challenge: The difficulty level is rated 6-8 out of 10.

The path you can take: There are many trails to choose from, ranging in length. You can go on a short 2km hike or try the longer 13km Perdekop and DuToitskop trails. The Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve is a special place, as it is part of the Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve declared by UNESCO. When you hike, you’ll be treated to stunning views of the Franschoek valley.

2. Let’s explore the Pipe track, Kasteelspoort, Table Mountain

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Starting Point: Kloof Nek Parking Lot

Level of Difficulty: 7/10

Route Description: Hey, let’s kick off our adventure at the Kloof Nek Parking Lot! We’ll start by heading towards Camps Bay on the pipe track. Sounds exciting, right? Along the way, you’ll come across some choices. Wanna conquer the peak? Then make your way up to the top, ending at corridor ravine – a popular route. An even better option is to take the Kasteelspoort route and conquer the summit. From there, you can choose to explore the stunning dams ahead, marvel at the majestic 12 apostles on your right, or head left towards Platteklip gorge and the cable car. If you’re up for it, I highly recommend taking the cable car down once you’ve soaked up the incredible views or if your energy starts to dwindle. It’ll be a thrilling ride!

3. Contour Path to Blockhouse, Table Mountain

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Start: I recommend beginning at the Kloof corner parking area.

Difficulty: This trail is moderately difficult, with a rating of 6 out of 10.

Route: Start by going up Kloof corner, and then follow the contour path all the way to the king’s blockhouse. Once you reach the blockhouse, you have two options for your return: you can either go back the same way or head down and back along Tafelberg road. Alternatively, you can take the gravel roads above Rhodes Memorial for a different experience.

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4. Newlands Forest, Table Mountain

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Let’s get started: We’ll begin at the Newlands forest parking lot.

Difficulty: The difficulty of the trails can vary from 3 to 8 out of 10, depending on your experience level and the challenge you’re up for.

Route: There are so many trails to choose from! It really depends on what you’re in the mood for and how experienced you are. Luckily, the trails are marked quite well. One of my personal favorites is the Silvertree trails that lead to Kirstenbosch. You’ll start by heading toward the mountain biking trails. From there, turn up onto the contour path and continue back toward the Newlands side. Just before the Newlands picnic spot, you’ll spot a path leading you right back to the car park.

5. Get ready for an awesome adventure:

Cecelia Forest to the De Villiers dam on Table Mountain

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Let’s Begin: Our adventure starts at the Constantia Nek parking lot.

A Challenge Awaits: This hike is ranked 7/10 in difficulty.

The Path Ahead: To begin, head up the gravel road for about 100 meters. At that point, take a left and climb a series of stairs. Continue following the path in the direction of the jeep track. Eventually, the path will meet the jeep track, which will guide you to the de Villiers dam. It will take a few kilometers of hiking to reach the dam. Once there, you have two options for descending back. You can either follow the jeep track or choose the Rooikat kloof route. The latter will lead you through the Cecelia forest and back past the magnificent Cecelia waterfall.

6. Experiencing Silvermine to Constantiaberg

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Let’s get started: I’ll be taking you to Silvermine Gate A, which is the starting point for this adventure. Remember to bring R50 for the conservation entry fee.

The challenge: This hike is rated 7/10 in terms of difficulty.

The path: We’ll begin at the main gate parking area and follow the route signs all the way up to the Constantiaberg summit. Along the way, you can choose to make a little detour to Elephant’s Eye, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the beautiful Cape Town area.

7. Stellenbosch Mountain

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Hey there! Let’s kick things off at Coetzenberg sports grounds, right between the Danie Craven stadium and the Sports Science building. Trust me, this trail is anything but boring!

You might be wondering just how difficult this trail is. Well, on a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a solid 7. So get ready for a challenge!

When it comes to routes, you’re spoilt for choice. If you want to stay on the safer side, you can stick to the lower trails along the mountain. There, you’ll find some awesome mountain bike trails and the famous ‘G-spot’.

Now, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can venture further to Eden in Paradyskloof or the Mont Marie MTB trails. But let me warn you, things get tough from here. If you’re scared of heights, it won’t be a walk in the park.

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For the true thrill-seekers out there, there’s the Stellenbosch Mountain Summit. Brace yourself though, because you’ll need to conquer a bit of rock scrambling. And trust me, a fear of heights isn’t going to make things any easier.

8. Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Are you ready for an adventure? Let me tell you about an amazing hiking spot: Jonkershoek reserve! The best part? It’s only R50 to enter!

Now, I know what you’re thinking, “What’s the difficulty level?” Well, it ranges from 5 to 9 out of 10, so you can choose a route that suits your hiking skills.

Speaking of routes, there are so many options to explore at Jonkershoek reserve. If you’re up for a challenge, you can take the 10km panorama circular route. It starts and ends at the hairpin bend of the circular drive through the valley. Along the way, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the valley from the well-laid-out trails. Trust me, it’s worth every step!

If you’re looking for something a bit easier, there’s a route that leads to a waterfall. It’s a great spot to cool down and even take a refreshing shower if you dare! Just be prepared for the cold water.

Oh, and here’s a tip for winter hikers: visit Jonkershoek reserve during the winter months, and you might be lucky enough to see snow in all its glory!

9. Majik Forest, Durbanville

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Hey there, I’ve got an exciting adventure for you! Let’s explore the Majik Forest together!

Starting Point: Majik forest gate (upper or lower)

Level of difficulty: 5-6/10

Route: You have two options. The first is a short 2km walk around the lower dams. The second is a more challenging 10km hike to the top of the Majik forest behind protea valley. Majik Forest is a popular escape for many who want to get away from the busy suburbs.

10. Tygerberg Nature Reserve, Bellville

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

Hey there! Are you an adventure enthusiast? Well, I’ve got just the place for you!

Welcome to the Tygerberg Nature Reserve, located in Welgemoed. As you enter through the main gate, get ready for an unforgettable experience.

Within the reserve, you’ll find a network of trails stretching for about 13 kilometers. The longest route, the Golden Mole trail, covers around 3.6 kilometers. These trails are perfect for trail running, with a peaceful and serene atmosphere that you won’t find in many city areas.

If you’re up for a challenge, I highly recommend checking out the 13 peaks route. It’s sure to take your breath away!

So, if you’re looking for an exciting adventure that’s right on your doorstep, Tygerberg Nature Reserve is the place to be. Lace up your running shoes, get ready to explore, and let the trails guide you to new heights!

10 Scenic Trail Running Routes near Cape Town

If you want to learn more, check out Pacer Running or follow @henning.robert on Instagram.

Photos by Robert Henning

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