The Hale Conservation Park Loop is my go-to hike if I’m looking for something short and easy. It’s become a small favourite within my family and I think I’ve hiked it at least 10 times or more now.
Hale Conservation Park Loop
The Hale Conservation Park Loop is a nice 4km circuit, providing gorgeous views along the way. Located 2.8km outside of Williamstown, it’s a trail that you can do with the whole family. I find it beautiful all year round, but the best time to hike it is in spring when the flowers are out and the Monarch butterflies are plenty. There’s also a little waterful, depending on how much it’s rained.
Along the loop, there are a couple of great lookout spots and some old Mica diggings that you can take a look at. If you decide to look at everything along the way it only adds approximately 200 metres to your walk.
Another bonus, is that while some days Hale can get busy to the point where there are no car parks left, some days you can have it all to yourself.
The park is a no-dog park. So, if you’ve got a gorgeous pooch, make sure to leave them at home or with a friend for this one.
Distance – 4km
Duration – 1-2 hours
Difficulty – Moderate (an easier moderate in my opinion)
Terrain – Undulating
Region – Barossa Valley
Country – Peramangk country
Distance From Adelaide – 53km, approx 1-hour drive
For more information click here to see Walking SA’s information on the Hale Conservation Park Loop. There are also GPX and KML files for you to download.
Hiking the trail
The trail is designed to be taken anti-clockwise, where you’ll start with a gradual uphill for a small while before going down, then up, then down, then up and finally down again – this time along the fire track back to the car park. However, taking the trail clockwise also provides a different change of pace, with the hardest part at the start. I normally walk the trail anti-clockwise, but decided to try out clockwise after my sister said it was easier and it almost felt like a new hike.
The trail is also signed every 200 metres making it easy to navigate.
While it is an easier hike, some fitness is still required to get up the uphill sections. However, it’s easy to stop to get your breath back and admire the view. The trail itself does have some tricky parts where you’ll be navigating rocks or a skinnier path. However, the trail is seemingly well-maintained. On the hike, I’m sharing with you (on Strava), the path has been made wider, and encroaching flora has been trimmed.
As I write this, the waterful that I mentioned earlier is dry.
Personal experience from hiking the trail
As I’ve mentioned, Hale is a favourite of mine. Living nearby means that whenever I’m itching for a hike I’ll more than likely head out to Hale. Since I first completed the loop, it’s changed a lot. The fire track, maps and car park have been redone. There have also been multiple burn-offs to reduce the bushfire risk over the years as well.
At my fittest, I could hike Hale, anti-clockwise, in under an hour, but meandering it takes roughly an hour and 10 minutes for me.
Going clockwise this time felt weird. It did feel like it was a whole new hike. The fire track is the steepest part. So, going uphill first along it is a little bit challenging. But then heading onto the trail it changes its dynamic and it gets easier.
I took my time, taking in the sites from another point of view. I stopped at the lookouts and went further into the Mica diggings than I had before. Although, I’ve never really looked at the diggings before.
The best thing about Hale is that you could make a day of it and have a picnic on the rock lookouts, or head into Williamstown for lunch after/before.
If you like these kinds of posts or would like to see more hiking recommendations be sure to check out my Hiker Review category. It’s where I share different hikes and trails for you to explore.