The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve covers a vast area around and on top of Paarl Mountain which consist of various trail routes and paths. Take the Paarl Main Road turn off from the N1, drive down Main Road and after about 2km take the Jan Phillips Drive turn off to the left. Follow Jan Phillips Drive all the way up to the picnic area where it is save to park your car.
From here you can choose which route to follow. There are a number of trails criss-crossing this reserve, ranging from 2.5km up to 10 km. By far the most impressive is the run from the picnic area up the rock itself. Run past the canon at the top and over to the other side – then follow the dirt road about 200m further to the base of Bretagna Rock; from there it is a very short, steep run/hike guided with chains to the top of this gigantic stone. This being the second biggest granite rock outcrops on the planet. From the summit you are rewarded with some fantastic views over the Paarl Valley. On a clear day one can also see Table Mountain 60 km away in the distance.
Run back down Bretagna Rock and at the bottom turn left and follow the 403 steps all the way down to the back of the rock. Follow the path for about 1.5km to Crismis Camp. Here you can either turn left to explore the Western slopes of the mountain and follow paths that will vary between 40min and 90min, or you can turn right and run all the way to the main entrance to the Reserve and from there down back to the picnic area. This should take between 30min and 45min.
For those challenge seekers – park your car at the bottom of Jan Phillips Drive at Melissa’s Coffee Shop at Fryter Square; run up Jan Phillips; keep right past Victoria Dam and about 200m later turn left up into the mountain. Follow this jeep track up The Eliminator and all the way to the top, which will bring you to the foot of Bretagna Rock and at the bottom of the 403 steps. From here you can choose your challenge, running back down to Melissa’s for a great coffee and breakfast.
Quick Trail Info
Safe parking : Yes
Access fee : No
Safe trail to run alone : Yes
Technical/Challenging/Knee-breaker : No
Steep Uphills/Climbs and Descents : Yes
Going to get wet : No
Beginner friendly : Yes
Great View : Yes
Trail distance : 5km – 25km
Suggested coffee shop/retaurant nearby : Melissa’s at the foot of Jan Phillips Drive at Freiter Square