The Dry Creek Trail is a 14 kilometre urban walking trail stretching from just west of Nelson Road in Valley View to the salt pans at Globe Derby Park.
The trail snakes its way down deep forested gullies, comes up to cross main roads before heading into deep green parks again. It skirts residential, industrial and commercial areas and is an eye-opening urban adventure in our own backyard.
Beginning in the rain at Valley View at around 1.30pm, we set off west and made it to Globe Derby Park at 5.30, with a few stops for refreshments along the way. The rain cleared after about halfway through the walk, presenting us with blue skies, cool breezes and dewy and dappled scenery as we followed the rushing water on its journey to the gulf.
There's no sign to tell you where the trailhead is, but to help you find it, Walking SA offers an excellent downloadable map for Google Earth here. The top of the walk is along easy gravel trails and heads past suburban streets, and forested gullies backing onto houses. It's a popular trail with local's ad heads past rehabilitated Landcare sites and plenty of playgrounds.
As we rounded a corner we found ourselves looking at two deep and long tunnels and realised we had reached Walkley's Road. In all my years of walking in Adelaide and living nearby, I had never seen these tunnels. Albeit spooky, and probably filled with water in winter, today there was clear access through to what is called the Dry Creek Linear Park.
This section begins at Walkley's Road and finishes at Bridge Road. I won't bore you with the details as many articles have covered this section very well. Suffice to say, if you haven't walked here then you'll be surprised at just what is hidden away down here. There's so much history and idyllic groves that you'll feel swept away from the suburbs nearby.
The next section of the trail snakes through the suburb of Pooraka and follows suburban footpaths for some of the way before reaching Lindblom Park and Main North Road. There is a trail spur here which heads to Unity Park nearby and may be worth taking if you have time. Lindblom Park is a great place to take a break before following the small and relatively unmade trail through to Main North Road.
Cross busy Main North Road and find the trail again behind the service station. Clay surfaces do make this section very slippery in the wet, so watch out! It's very industrial here so we powered on until reaching the new suburb of Mawson Lakes with its manicured parks, gardens and lakes and traipsed nearly right through the centre of the Mawson Lakes CBD.
Here you have to cross the railroad, some maps mention going underneath the railway but this is only possible in very dry conditions. We had to head onto the station platform and climb the stairs to cross via Elder Smith Drive. It's only a short distance through suburban streets before you reach the final section of the linear park and the nature of very flat and mangrove-y area become apparent.
The trail passes under Salisbury Highway and then Port Wakefield Road. It is a fairly featureless section of the trail but you may be amazed to see the work being done to fill in the vast salt pans and you'll have expansive views to Port Adelaide, Pelican Point and others.
The trail ends rather ignominiously among the flats and there's not much to see really, but you can congratulate yourself on a 14 kilometre walk and reflect on the variety and quality of environments in suburban Adelaide, and the value of urban walking trails.