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The Heysen Trail

The 1,200 kilometre hiking Heysen Trail passes through some of South Australia's most diverse and breathtaking landscapes, traversing coastal areas, native bushland, rugged gorges, pine forests and vineyards, as well as rich farmland and historic towns.

Open April to October each year

The Heysen Trail is closed during the Fire Danger Season, closure dates vary across the trail.


There are two A5 guidebooks available from leading outdoor shops, map shops and the Friends of the Heysen Trail.

A Google Map interface is available, and GPS files can be downloaded for navigational use on your personal handheld GPS.

Re-Routes of the Trail

Get details of re-routes affecting the Heysen Trail.

Camping along the Trail

Up-to-date details of each campsite and hut along the trail can be found via our Google Map interface, simply select the Accommodation checkbox (or visit Printable list). Campsites are marked in each guidebook, however over time some campsites have been closed, new ones opened, or campsites have been moved. Details are also shown of towns, such as bed & breakfasts, hotels, caravan parks, motels and hostels.

Service Directory

A directory of services along the Heysen Trail for continuous end-to-end hikers or through hikers, who are hiking the entire or considerable lengths of the Heysen Trail at once. The services listed include:

  • supermarkets
  • general stores
  • pharmacies (chemist stores)
  • doctor clinics, hospitals
  • internet access
  • payphones
  • public toilets
  • post offices


Details of buses, taxis and private tour operators that service the trail and towns along the Heysen Trail.

The Trail passes through some of the most scenic parts of the state including national parks, state forests and internationally acclaimed tourist destinations, including the Barossa Valley and the stunning Wilpena Pound.

View magazine article as published in the Aug/Sep 2005 edition of Outdoor Australia magazine.

The southern section, from Cape Jervis to Spalding in the Mid North, is ideal for beginners and those with children, following the Mount Lofty Ranges. The northern section, from Spalding to Parachilna Gorge, is isolated and at time rugged, provides a rewarding challenge for experienced walkers.

The Trail has been designed to cater for both the serious backpacker walking the complete trail, and for the day walker who might choose to do short walks along different sections of the trail.

The Trail is managed by a partnership between:

The Trail passes through:

For information about walking beyond the northern trailhead of the Heysen Trail, from Parachilna Gorge to Arkaroola and beyond, visit www.heysentrail.asn.au/ beyond_the_heysen/.

Trail Standard of the Heysen Trail

Classification of Walking Trails

The Department of Environment, Water & Natural Resources, ForestrySA and other land managers are using Australian Standards for walking trails. You may see the following ratings signposted at the beginning of trails or on your trail notes. Trail classifications assist you to plan your walk.

Trail classifications and corresponding symbols used on trails in National Parks:


 Australian Standard 1 & 2

  • even surfaced trail
  • suitable for small children


 Australian Standard 3 & 4

  • some moderate inclines
  • irregular surface with loose, uneven base
  • average level of fitness
  • some steep inclines
  • irregular surface with loose, uneven base
  • average level of fitness
  • some hiking experience


 Australian Standard 5 & 6

  • long distance trail with some steep inclines
  • irregular surface with loose, uneven base
  • suitable for experienced walkers with navigational skills
  • high level of fitness
  • submit a "Let us know before you go" form to the local park office

Classification of Walking Tails information courtesy of www.bushwalkingleadership.org.au.

The Heysen Trail is a long distance walking trail that crosses numerous landscapes and environments. Although walkers of all ages can enjoy the Heysen Trail you are advised that the majority of the trail corresponds within Classes 4-5 of the Australian 2156.1-2001 Walking Tracks - Classification and signage.

Track conditions are generally distinct with limited modification to natural surfaces. Minimal clearing of debris along the track.

Gradient is limited to environmental and maintenance considerations. May include steep sections of unmodified surfaces.

Minimal signs are for management and directional purposes.

Facilities are generally not provided except for specific safety and environment purposes.

Users require a moderate to high degree of specialised skills such as navigation skills. Users may require maps and navigation equipment to successfully complete the track. users need to be self reliant, particularly in regard to emergency first aid and possible weather hazards.


Phytophthora is an introduced root-rot disease which is killing native plants. Plants that are susceptible include gums, banksias and yaccas - all of which provide important habitat and food for native wildlife.

There is no cure for Phytophthora, nor is there any way of stopping its spread once it has infested an area. We can, however, slow down its movement, and minimise its introduction into new areas by modifying the way we behave in Phytophthora infested areas or Phytophthora prone areas.

Phytophthora has the ability to live in most of the southern areas of South Australia, including the Mt Lofty Ranges around Adelaide and the Fleurieu Peninsula.

Bushwalkers can spread Phytophthora by allowing moist soil and plant material to stick to footwear. Please use the footwear cleaning stations along the Heysen Trail, read more information in the Department of Environment & Natural Resources's Phytophthora Information Brochure.

Remember: the best way to control the fungus is to prevent the dispersal of infested soil or plant material.

Spread the word - not the fungus!