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Best Hiking Trails in Table Mountain National Park

Best Hiking Trails in Table Mountain National Park

Located in Cape Town in the Western Cape province, Table Mountain is the most recognisable landmark in South Africa. It is also the most visited national park in the country. As a matter of fact, tens of thousands of visitors ride the famed cable car to the summit every month. Many wellness travellers from all over the world view Table Mountain as South Africa’s most hospitable emblem. Not only because of its beauty but also because of the many activities waiting to be discovered.

The Park is not just loved because of its beautiful scenery but also because of its vast terrain. With more than 350 hiking trails for you to choose from, Table Mountain is South Africa’s most popular hiking location. What’s more exciting is that these trails cover all types of hikers, from casual walkers to experienced fitness enthusiasts. Are you looking for a new route to conquer in Cape Town? Here are 4 of the best hiking trails in Table Mountain National Park that are begging for a challenge.

1. Lion’s Head Summit

Lion's Head Summit: the best hiking trail in Table Mountain National Park.
Image: AllTrails, 2023

Of all the hiking trails in Table Mountain National Park, Lion’s Head Summit is the most loved one. As of January 2023, the trail holds a rating of 4.7 out of 5. These ratings are from nearly 950 hikers on the AllTrails website. In fact, the website lists Lion’s Head as the best hiking trail in South Africa.

It takes approximately 2 hours to complete this 4.3-kilometre out-and-back track. However, it is generally thought to be a difficult one, so you better come prepared. It’s easy to run into other hikers while making your way around Lion’s Head Summit. Besides, hiking is highly popular in the region. The route is lovely to explore at any time of the year and is open all year round.

Dogs are allowed on the trail as long they are on a leash. So, why not bring man’s best friend along?

2. Woodstock Caves

Woodstock Caves: the 2nd best hiking trail in Table Mountain National Park.
Image: Trail Fit SA, 2022

As the name implies, this hiking trail leads you to a huge cave with a thrilling view of Woodstock. This is one of Cape Town’s earliest suburbs.

There are two possible places to start this kike. First, start at Tafelberg Road. Then, drive past the Cableway station. Park either at the beginning of the Woodstock Cave route or as close as you can during roadblocks. You can also start at the Rhodes Memorial and hike to the King’s Blockhouse as an alternate route. Because the road splits at the Blockhouse, keep left at the fork then turn right toward the cableway at the next junction.

Best Hiking Trails in Table Mountain National Park

The Woodstock Caves trail is an easy and family-friendly climb. However, it takes approximately 3 to 4 hours to complete when starting from Tafelberg Road. Moreover, it takes 4 to 6 works when starting from Rhodes Memorial. Be sure to bring a picnic and take in the scenery, shade, and small waterfall while you’re up there.

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3. Pipe Track

Pipe Track: the 3rd best hiking trail in Table Mountain National Park.
Image: Secret Cape Town, 2023

If you are thinking of hiking around Table Mountain instead of surmounting it, Pipe Track is the trail for you. It’s a considerably shorter climb but it’s just as stunning. On top of that, it offers you astounding views of Lion’s Head and the Atlantic Ocean. You also have the opportunity to observe some of the mountain’s fynbos up close.

Start by parking in the first available space on Tafelberg Road. Then, turn right and up the concrete steps to discover Pipe Track. It leads you to the Twelve Apostles – a mountain range forming the back part of Table Mountain National Park. The Pike Track hiking trail follows Table Mountain for about 6 kilometres to get to Corridor Ravine. This is another trail in the national park.

It takes approximately 1.5 to 3 hours to complete this trail. This depends on your fitness level and the distance you walk. Pike Track is child-friendly so why not bring your kids along? The trail is also pet-friendly and is a great choice for first-time hikers!

4. Platteklip Gorge

Platteklip Gorge: the 4th best hiking trail in Table Mountain National Park.
Image: Road Trip Ryan, 2023

The second most popular hiking trail to the top of Table Mountain is Platteklip Gorge. Stretching a little under 3 kilometres, this trail is fairly moderate and usually takes 1 hour and 48 minutes to complete. Start your hike up Platteklip early on hot days and bring plenty of water because the route gets direct sunlight and can be very hot in the summer.

Platteklip Gorge’s summit is usually covered in heavy clouds and this led to the locals referring to the hiking trail as “Table Mountain with its tablecloth on”. Sounds funny, doesn’t it?

On a more serious note, you should avoid going on a hike when it’s cloudy because the scenery won’t be great and it may be difficult to find your way up if the clouds are too thick. Also, note that cable cars get closed due to strong winds so make sure the forecast calls for a quiet afternoon if you intend to return via cable car.

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Before You Go

I’m sure that throughout this article you’ve fidgeted around for your keys so that you can head out the door and drive straight to Table Mountain National Park for some hiking. Who can blame you? I mean, these hiking trails are simply hypnotising. I had to hold myself from leaving the office and heading straight up to Lion’s Head Summit.

But, before you rush off to Table Mountain National Park and go hike one or all of these trails, there are a few essential things that you need to have to have a smooth hike. Make sure you have good hiking shoes, a hiking backpack and a first aid kit. Also remember to take clothes that are suited to the weather, a navigation tool, as well as food and beverages (not that kind of beverage though!).

Remember to check out Salomon Store for great quality gear guaranteed to outlast your hiking days. Have a great time and don’t forget to take pictures! Looking for more hiking trails? Here are the coolest hiking trails in South Africa. Have a wonderful time!

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Greetings! My name is Rashidi Mbecke, the Tony Stark of the Writing Avengers. Yep, writing is my superpower! I don’t only write to inform but to uplift and inspire you to take that leap of faith. Being an avid traveller and wellness enthusiast, I know that it can be challenging to follow your heart into new horizons. That is why I am here to help you take those first steps that will lead to breathtaking journeys filled with unforgettable memories. I’ve dreamt of becoming a writer since I was a teenager and now that I am at PureLife, that dream has become a reality. And a super-fun one to say the least. Our world is filled with beauty beyond belief, let’s explore it together.