With Spring just around the corner, now is an excellent time to get reacquainted with the many walking trails in the hills above Adelaide, and Black Hill Conservation Park contains some of the best. This extensive park covers the hills behind Athelstone, and has many beautiful and varied parts.
On street parking is available at the end of Addison Ave, where multiple trails converge. One of my favourite walks from here is to follow the Summit Nature Trail until it connects with the Ghost Tree Gully Trail, then the Tetragona Trail back to Addison Ave. In warmer months the wildflowers emerge in a riot of colour, and natural springs leap from the underground water table to the surface and bubble across the path.
Speaking of flowers, be sure to check out the large variety in the Wildflower Garden. It is extensively landscaped and has wide paths that are suitable for prams and wheelchairs. Entry is free and is accessed from Addison Ave.
Black Hill summit (467m) can also be reached from Addison Ave, but be aware that the trail is steep and rough, and a reasonable level of fitness is needed to climb to the top. Wear sturdy boots, take plenty of water, and avoid climbing on hot days.
The northern section of the park has some great walks, including the Main Ridge, Ambers Gully, and Sugarloaves tracks. It's all steep climbing any way you go, but the scenic rewards are definitely worth it. There are also plenty of animals to spot - I've seen kangaroos, koalas, kookaburras, and loads of parrots and other native birds. Entry is from Gorge Road, and off-street parking is available, although it does tend to fill up on weekends. The northern end of the Yurrebilla Trail also starts here.
On Black Hill's lower slopes, flatter ground offers a more sedate experience. Stop anywhere along Maryvale Road and explore the wide open picnic spaces, Foxfield Oval with attached playground, and the gentle paths of Wadmore Park.
To the south, the Quarry, Orchard, and Eagle fire tracks ascend the hills and merge with other trails inside the park. Black Hill offers an incredible diversity of flora, fauna, and fitness requirements, and for those who make the effort, exploring all it has to offer is a thoroughly rewarding experience.