15 Trail Running Tracks in Sydney You Won't Want to Miss

Sydney, a city renowned for its stunning landscapes and diverse natural beauty, offers trail runners an incredible array of tracks to explore. In this article, we'll delve into the top 15 trail running tracks in Sydney you won't want to miss.

From coastal paths to bushland adventures, these trails promise exhilarating experiences, breathtaking scenery, and technical challenges for runners of all levels.

Wattamolla to Eagle Rock

Best trail running sydneyPhoto credit: Unsplash

Location: Royal National Park
Distance:  7.4 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: One-way

Highlights: Embark on a captivating coastal trail from Wattamolla to Eagle Rock. Follow the winding path along the picturesque coastline, passing by pristine beaches, dramatic cliffs, and secluded rock pools. Be rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the iconic Eagle Rock formation.

Narrabeen Lagoon

Narabeen Lagoon - Sydney trail runningPhoto credit: Northern Beaches Council

Location: Narrabeen Lagoon
Distance: 8.6 kilometers
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: Enjoy a scenic loop around Narrabeen Lagoon, combining bushland trails, picturesque lakeside views, and the tranquility of native flora and fauna. This flat and well-maintained trail is perfect for beginners or those seeking a leisurely run in a peaceful environment.

Spit Bridge to Manly

Best Trail Running Tracks Sydney - Spit to ManlyPhoto credit: Unsplash

Location: Manly to Spit Bridge
Distance: 10 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Experience a stunning coastal run, passing through Sydney Harbour National Park and offering panoramic views of the harbour. Encounter beautiful beaches, scenic lookout points, and iconic landmarks like the Spit Bridge and Manly Beach along the way.

The Coast Track

Coast Track - Sydney Trail Running Photo credit: Unsplash
Location: Royal National Park
Distance: 27.5 kilometers 
Difficulty: Challenging
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Embark on an epic journey along the renowned Coast Track, featuring rugged cliffs, secluded beaches, and breathtaking ocean views. This challenging trail takes you through the spectacular landscapes of the Royal National Park and rewards you with a true test of endurance. Definately a contender for one of the top trail running tracks in Sydney.

Sphinx Memorial to Bobbin Head

Sphinx to Bobbin Head - Sydney Trail Running

Location: Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park
Distance: 10 kilometers

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: Explore the diverse terrain of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park on this trail. Traverse through bushland, cross peaceful creeks, and marvel at the panoramic views from Sphinx Memorial.

Cape Solander to Cronulla

Cape Sollander trail running sydney

Location: Kurnell, Botany Bay National Park
Distance: 23 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Discover the natural beauty and rich history of this coastal track, as you run from Cape Solander to Cronulla. Experience stunning ocean vistas, rugged cliffs, and the chance to spot whales during their migration season (May to November).

Murri-Yanna Track

Location: Bidjigal Reserve
Distance: 15.4 kilometers
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Bidjigal Reserve's bushland on this trail. Discover Aboriginal rock engravings, enjoy peaceful surroundings, and witness breathtaking views from the summit of Murri-Yanna.

Manly Dam

Manly Dam - Best Trail Running Tracks SydneyPhoto credit: Sydney.com

Location: Manly
Distance: 7.3 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: Indulge in the serenity of this trail, winding around the picturesque Manly Dam. Enjoy a mix of challenging hills, tranquil bushland, and the beauty of the dam's sparkling waters. Keep an eye out for native birdlife and enjoy the shaded sections provided by eucalyptus trees.

Berowra to Cowan

Berowra to Cowan - Sydney Trail RunsPhoto credit: Hiking The World

Location: Berowra Valley National Park
Distance: 12.9 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Embark on a challenging yet rewarding trail that traverses through diverse landscapes, including dense bushland and rocky outcrops. Enjoy panoramic views of the tranquil Berowra Creek and discover the beauty of this remote and secluded area.

Middle Harbour Creek Loop

Middle Creek Loop - Sydney Trail Hiking TracksPhoto credit: David Noble

Location: Garigal National Park
Distance: 15.1 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: Explore the scenic trails of Garigal National Park, meandering alongside Middle Harbour Creek. Encounter tranquil bushland, creek crossings, and peaceful water views, all while experiencing the serenity of this hidden gem.

Grand Canyon Track

Grand Canyon Track - Sydney Trail Running Tracks

Location: Blue Mountains National Park
Distance: 6.3 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: One of our personal favourites here, and another hot contender for top trail running track in Sydeny.

Embark on an awe-inspiring journey through the lush rainforest of the Grand Canyon Track. Marvel at towering sandstone walls, cascading waterfalls, and serene rock pools as you navigate through this magical landscape. 

Lane Cove Riverside Track

Top Trail running tracks Sydney - Lane Cove

Location: Lane Cove National Park
Distance: 10.5 kilometers
Difficulty: Easy
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Enjoy a peaceful and scenic run along the Lane Cove Riverside Track, tracing the tranquil shores of the Lane Cove River. Immerse yourself in the beauty of this urban oasis, passing through native bushland and charming picnic spots.

Valley of the Waters to Wentworth Falls

Platypus and Burraga Loop - Sydney Top Trail RunningPhoto credit: Sydney Uncovered

Location: Blue Mountains National Park
Distance: 7.1 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: Embark on a breathtaking adventure from the Valley of the Waters to Wentworth Falls. Follow the trail through lush rainforest, marvel at picturesque waterfalls, and be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding valleys and cliffs.

Platypus and Burraga Loop

Valley of The Waters - Sydney Trail RunningPhoto credit: Hiking the World

Location: Royal National Park
Distance: 7.1 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate
Trail type: Loop
Highlights: Experience the beauty of the Royal National Park on the Platypus and Burraga Loop. Encounter stunning bushland, picturesque waterfalls, and keep an eye out for the elusive platypus as you enjoy this scenic trail.

Mount Kosciuszko Summit Trail

Mount Kosciuszko Summit Trail - Trail Running Sydney
Photo credit: Unsplash

Location: Kosciuszko National Park
Distance: 18.3 kilometers
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging
Trail type: Out and back
Highlights: A high altitude beast, that (in our opinion) takes the crown for the top trail running track in Sydney.

Conquer the highest peak in Australia on the Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk. Ascend through alpine meadows, marvel at breathtaking views of the Snowy Mountains, and reach the summit for an unforgettable sense of achievement.

Trail Running Essentials

Before you embark on your trail running adventure, make sure you have the following essentials:

  • Proper trail running shoes: Invest in a pair of shoes designed specifically for trail running, offering stability, grip, and protection on varied terrains.

  • Moisture-wicking clothing: Opt for breathable and lightweight attire that keeps you comfortable and dry during your runs.

  • Hydration pack or water bottle: Stay hydrated on the trails with a hydration pack or a handheld water bottle.

  • Sun protection: Shield yourself from the sun's rays by wearing a hat, sunglasses, and applying sunscreen.

  • Headlamp: If you plan to run at dawn, dusk, or venture into trails where lighting may be limited, a reliable headlamp is essential for visibility and safety. Check out our breakdown of the best headlamps in Australia here.

Trail Running in Sydney FAQs

  1. Is trail running suitable for beginners? Yes, trail running can be enjoyed by beginners. Start with easier trails, gradually increasing distance and difficulty as your fitness level improves. It's essential to listen to your body, take breaks when needed, and build up your endurance over time.
  2. Is trail running harder than road running? Trail running and road running present different challenges, but generally speaking trail running is deemed more of a challenge. Factors such as terrain, impact on joints and muscles, elevation, mental focus, and enjoyment play a role. Trail running involves navigating uneven surfaces, hills, and natural obstacles, demanding more balance and agility. It can have a higher impact on joints and engage additional muscle groups.
    Uphill sections and constant terrain adjustments require increased cardiovascular fitness and mental concentration. However, on the flip side, trail running offers the enjoyment of scenic landscapes and a sense of adventure.
  3. How do I start trail running in Sydney? To begin trail running in Sydney, follow these steps:
    • Research popular trails: Explore online resources like reddit, guidebooks, or local trail running groups to discover popular trail running routes in your area or across the state.
    • Join trail running communities: Connect with local trail running communities or clubs to get insights, tips, and recommendations from experienced runners. They can help you discover new trails and provide support and guidance.
    • Understand the trail conditions: Familiarise yourself with the specific challenges and requirements of each trail, such as distance, elevation, terrain type, and any potential hazards. Be prepared and choose trails suitable for your skill level.
    • Check park regulations and permits: Some national parks or protected areas may require permits or have specific rules for trail running. Ensure you are aware of any regulations and adhere to them to preserve the environment and ensure safety.
    • Be prepared for the climate: Australia's diverse climate demands appropriate gear and precautions. Consider factors such as temperature, humidity, and the presence of wildlife when planning your trail runs.
  4. Are there any safety precautions I should take while trail running? Yes, here are a few safety tips:
    • Inform someone about your running plans and estimated return time.
    • Carry a fully charged mobile phone for emergencies.
    • Be mindful of wildlife and respect their habitats.
    • Carry a trail map or use a reliable GPS device.
    • Stay hydrated and carry enough water for the duration of your run.
    • Wear a headlamp if you're running at dawn or dusk.
    • Check the weather forecast and avoid running in extreme conditions.
  5. Can I trail run with headphones? While it's a personal preference, it's recommended to run without headphones or keep the volume low. This allows you to stay aware of your surroundings, including any potential hazards, encounters with wildlife or other runners.
  6. How do I prepare for trail running? Prioritise building endurance and strength through regular running and incorporating cross-training activities like hiking, yoga, or strength training. Gradually increase your distance and practice running on different types of terrain to improve your balance and stability.
  7. What should I do if I encounter wildlife on the trails? Respect the wildlife and keep your distance. Avoid feeding or approaching them. If you encounter larger animals like kangaroos, give them a wide berth and do not disturb them.

And there you have it, our pick for Sydney's top 15 trail running tracks. Whether you're a beginner seeking scenic routes or an experienced runner craving technical challenges, these trails cater to every level of fitness and adventure. Lace up your shoes, pack your essentials, and embark on unforgettable trail running experiences.

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