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A guide to running trails in the Grampians

15 Oct. 2021

Famous for incredible hikes and easy walking trails, it’s no wonder the Grampians is also becoming recognised for its world-class trail running. From relaxed recovery runs to thrill-seeking elevation gains, as well as organised running events, here is our guide to trail running experiences in the Grampians.

Pinnacle thomasparkes

Halls Gap to the Pinnacle – 8.5km loop (moderate to difficult)

Take it up a notch and transform one of the most popular walking trails into an intense, but highly rewarding workout. At the end of your ascent to the Pinnacle lookout, be greeted by one of the most awe-inspiring views in the national park. This trail starts in Halls Gap then loops up to the Pinnacle lookout before heading back down to the mountain-side village.

This is a very popular route with tourists, so it might pay to get up early to give yourself some space. If you’re in excellent shape and feeling competitive, this route also forms part of the 20km Wonderland Run. This is a tough run that will require some scrambling, so take care, wear some sturdy footwear, be mindful of others and carry plenty of water.

Hollow Mountain

Hollow Mountain – 2.3km (moderate)

With a variety of walking and running trails on offer, scramble your way up to the top of Hollow Mountain. This one isn’t for the faint-hearted, so be prepared. It is a relatively short track that will see you gain nearly 150m of elevation in just over 2km (your legs are probably burning already!). If you’re not up to running the whole thing, an easy walk will give you the chance to reconnect with nature and clear your mind. Head out early to beat crowds on this one and as always, please be mindful of sharing the trail with others.

Piccaniny

The Piccaninny – 2.4km return (easy)

The Piccaninny is a 2.4km easy return trail located near Dunkeld. With a steady climb to the peak, be rewarded with stunning views of Mount Abrupt (mud-dadjug) and Mount Sturgeon (wurgarri) before your descent.

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Mackeys Peak (via Halls Gap to the Pinnacle) – 2.9km return (moderate)

Mackeys Peak is a 2.9km return trail starting in Halls Gap. This trail is teeming with wildlife, so be on the lookout for our furry friends. Start from the back of Breeze Holiday Park in Halls Gap and follow the signs to the Pinnacle track to summit Mackeys Peak, where you'll catch some of the best views inside the Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park.

Lake Bellfield run the gap

Long slow recovery runs – Halls Gap to Lake Bellfield

After a big workout on the trails, you’ll want to plan out your slow and easy recovery run. There’s no better place to start than in Halls Gap. Follow the walking/bike path from the intersection of Grampians and Halls Gap-Ararat roads and take yourself all the way though to Lake Bellfield. Take in the stunning surrounds of the lake before making your way back to Halls Gap town centre. As a bonus – this track is also suitable for those with running strollers. The track is just over 8km long so perfect for recovery runs or as part of your Saturday morning workout.

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Running events for the diary:

Run the Gap

Every year Halls Gap plays host Run the Gap in May. Participants can compete in a scenic 6km run/walk along Fyans Creek, a 12km run including a lap across the wall at stunning Lake Bellfield, or challenge themselves to the 21km trail run. The best part is, all proceeds go to community projects to enhance bike and walking paths. Plus $1 from each registration is donated to the "Grampians Walking Track Support Group” to help maintain walking tracks within Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park.

Wonderland Run

Wonderland Run is for experienced trail runners. With two courses of 20.5km and 37km in distance through rocky and mountainous terrain, this event will test even the most adventurous and elite.

Stay safe on the trails

Trail running can take you to unforgettable places – mind, body and soul – however there’s also a risk of injury where emergency help isn’t in close proximity. To minimise any risks, we encourage you to run with a group or a friend, tell someone where you are going, and take a phone and ID with you.

If you’re going for a long run, carry extra food and water with you. Make sure you know the route and have a map saved on your phone. Most of the time, you won't need these things, but if you do, you’ll be glad you were prepared.

Enjoy challenging your fitness among one of the best backdrops in the country, if we do say so ourselves!