Little Para River Trail, Our Other Linear Trail

By far the most widely known, and popular linear trail in Adelaide is the one that runs along the River Torrens.

Attracting thousand of walkers and cyclists every weekend, I wonder how many are aware that there is another wonderful linear river trail only a few kilometres away?

Up near the Old Spot Hotel, the river is small and tranquil most of the time

Up near the Old Spot Hotel, the river is small and tranquil most of the time

I am of course referring to the Little Para River Trail, a shared use pathway starting near Main North Road (21 kms out of the city on Main North Road opposite the Old Spot Hotel) and meandering along the Little Para River to the Whites Road Wetlands, some 15 kilometres away.

You can start at either end of the trail or somewhere in the middle, it really doesn’t matter.

The grades are gentle and for the most part, track surfaces (either bitumen or gravel) are firm and easy to ride.

The mud filled path under Pt Wakefield Road added some added excitement

The mud filled path under Pt Wakefield Road added some added excitement

There is one section, about halfway along the route where the trail drops down into a broad flat river pan and both the descent and the climb out the other side are steep and in winter, could be slippery.

Take care here and also where the trail dips under the main roads, they can be flooded and some come with blind corner as you defend into the. Take these slowly and lookout for oncoming cyclists, pets and walkers.

A section of the trail near Pt Wakefield Road

A section of the trail near Pt Wakefield Road

Emerging out from under Pt Wakefield Road, about 3 kilometres from the trail end, you will be riding between a number of small lagoons, lakes and reed beds. This area was my favourite so don’t be afraid to stop and sit on one of the many benches placed here for that very purpose. Take a rest and relax, enjoy the tranquility even though Pt Wakefield Road is not far away and pat yourself on the back for succumbing to the lures of our lesser known linear park.

If you are there early in the morning, you will be serenaded by squaring parrots and not surprisingly, will find it hard to move on again.

One of the many lakes near the trail end.

One of the many lakes near the trail end.

Over all, this is a leisurely ride, broken up along the way with a selection of parks and places of interest, many with picnic facilities and all of them tempting you to linger a little longer.

Pitman Park, next to the Parabanks Shopping Centre is a good place to relax, take a comfort stop on one of the park benches, by some food from the shopping centre or just use the public toilets.

A mature River Red Gum beckons for a photo

A mature River Red Gum beckons for a photo

As you pass through the Little Para River Reserve, take some time to admire the large River Red Gums and read the signage about the local area ands its inhabitants.

Coming to the end of the trail at Whites Road, the trail gets a little rougher and some dirt biking may be required. But you will soon find yourself back on a hard surface with salt pants keeping you company.

Salt pand for company at the trails end

Salt pand for company at the trails end

This may be a bold statement, but I think I actually prefer this ride to the River Torrens Linear Track. It is not as crowded, it is definitely more tranquil and there is a calm, relaxed air about it, as though it is far further from civilisation that is really is.

I will definitely be riding this again.

Trail Summary

  • Name: Little Para Trails
  • Region: Adelaide
  • Start: Salisbury Heights
  • Finish: Whites Road Wetlands
  • Length: 15km
  • Time: 1-2 hours (or 2-3 hours return)
  • Type: Linear
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Suitable for: All bikes.
  • Terrain: Grades are gentle and shaded for a lot of the route.
  • Surface: There surface is about 50% bitumen and 50% packed gravel, both are easy riding. There are also dirt off-shoots that you may wish to explore.
  • Hazards: Blind corners on some of the main road underpasses plus one wooden foot-bridge is very narrow.
  • Signage: Well sign posted.
  • Points of Interest: Parks and reservoirs such as Carisbrooke Reserve, Harry Bowey Reserve and Jenkins Reserve.
  • Facilities: There are shops and public toilets available along the route.
  • Best Times: All year round.
  • Getting there: About 10 kilometres from the Adelaide CBD with parking available on Bridge Road, Pioneer Park, Whites Road Wetland.
  • Map: None available
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