Still one of my all-time favourites, this quick run/hike gets the blood pumping in minutes with a steep ascent to the top, where you are rewarded with some of the most spectacular 360 degree views in the country.
You can either start at the toll booth on Chapman’s Peak Drive or, as we did, you can start on the Noordhoek side, where you will find a steep set of wooden stairs announcing the start of the trail. If you are feeling energetic add in a bit of a road run and park in Noordhoek or (as we did) park along Chapman’s Peak Drive at a small dirt parking area a few meters from the start of the trail.
If heading up in summer be sure to take lots of water, while this is a short run/hike, it is steep and it is in the full sun, if you don’t do a very early start. Depending on where you start you are looking at about a 5km round trip, so it makes for a great Sunday morning pre-breakfast run/hike. Please note that this depends on your level of fitness – depending on whether you run or hike you are looking at anything from an hour up and down to 4 hours. It is strenuous and exposed so don’t underestimate the route.The view from the top can only be described as spectacular so, if time allows, take your breakfast up with you as you won’t want to head down too quickly – this is a view to savour.
Personally I find the ascent easier than the descent on this trail, which is unusual for me. You can ascend relatively quickly, because of the steepness of the trail, so if fitness is on your side you can fly up this route. Coming down, for me, was trickier as I can be overly cautious. I like to get into quite a fast pace heading downhill and being cautious on this route doesn’t allow for that, as there are quite a few technical spots to manoeuvre, so take it slow if you are new to trail running. That being said, while my descent was slower than usual, it was still hugely enjoyable and I certainly had a sense of achievement when we reached the car (after a short, but fun road run).
There is fynbos rehabilitation taking place along the route, so please tread with care. Otherwise go out there and have some fun on one of the Cape’s most beautiful trails.