Lane Cove Top 8 Trail Runs

Our resident running expert Andy Smith is back with his Top 8 Trail Runs in Lane Cove.  So get running Lane Cove.

It goes without saying that we are blessed with an abundance of bushland, creeks and trails to explore in the Lane Cove and surrounding suburbs. As a long time roadrunner, the temptation to venture outside my comfort zone and hit the trails proved too much to resist especially given that the nearest trail for me is just over the boundary fence of my own backyard!

After putting together a list of all the best hills to run in the area, I thought that a list of the best trails to run was the next logical one to do for all the runners and hikers out there. The rule for selecting these was that they all had to fall within the Lane Cove Council boundaries however I chose to add a few more options to the end of this list from neighbouring areas for those who wish to challenge themselves with a little more distance and adventure. Each of the top 8 runs is based on road to road sections (ie. Once you hit bitumen the segment finishes) so there are a few that are adjacent to each other but they have each been reviewed separately (eg. Harry Howard bushwalk and Batten Reserve). I have however suggested ways that you can join some of these runs together to heighten the adventure. Note that my reviews are based on running in the uphill direction (my favourite !) but they can, of course, be enjoyed either, or both ways.

Top 8 Picks

So here are the locations of my top 8 picks:

Number 8 – Harry Howard bushwalk between Centennial and Stringybark Reserve (500m at 1%)

Congratulations to the local community who maintain this trail as it is one of the most pristine and well maintained in the area and a joy to run. My favourite direction is from Centennial Rd to Stringybark Reserve so you can enjoy the park at the end. The trail starts narrow with a few technical sections but gradually opens up with an elevated boardwalk and a gentle rise as you approach the park. To add more distance you can start your run down on Epping Rd and do the Batten Bushland Reserve trail first (refer to trail 4 below) then head up Elizabeth Parade to join this trail.


Number 7 Gore Creek Reserve between St Vincents Rd and River Rd (500m at 2%)

This can be a fun and fast path to run in either direction with lots of smooth trail and stepped boardwalks to enjoy. For the real speed demons, starting at River Rd and finishing with a sprint across Bob Campbell Oval is a great workout BUT lookout for the nasty hill up St Vincents and Gore St if you choose to continue with some road running (the uphill part that I enjoy). Alternatively if it’s steep stairs you like you can take the junction half way along the trail that leads up Fleming Street. This is a ripper of a climb to test your maximum heart rate !  To add more distance you can cross River Rd and do the Lane Cove Bushland Park (refer to trail 5 below).

Number Six Tennyson Park between Burns Bay Reserve and River Rd (700m at 5%)

We now start to move into the tighter and more difficult terrain so watch out for the rocks, roots and branches as you work your way onto the trail after the wide open space of Burns Bay Reserve. There’s also a couple of small creek crossings to negotiate and test your footing. My suggestion is to stay right and continue up the trail which has a challenging increase in gradient as you approach the end of the trail on River Rd. This trail stands a little on it’s own but you can choose to continue up to Tambourine Bay Rd and run down to the reserve and trails in Hodgson Park and Warraroon Reserve (refer to trail 2 below).

Number 5 Lane Cove Bushland Park between River Rd and Ronald Ave (700m at 4%)

This is another well managed and pristine bushland setting to run through with a little bit of rock hopping as you cross over Gore Creek. From here you have a few trails to choose from however my favourite is the longest one to the right which winds its way up the gully to Ronald Ave. A shorter but steeper alternative is to head straight on where it hits Ronald Rd closer to Panorama Rd. Gore Creek Reserve and Bob Campbell Oval are great places to start this run for more distance (refer to trail 7 above).

Number 4 Batten Bushland Reserve between Epping Rd and Elizabeth Parade (900m at 2%)

This trail is the closest to my home so it has plenty of my footprints embedded in the dirt ! You’ll want to have your trail running skills up to scratch as you clamber down the steps off Epping Rd to the trail. This is a tough one to get a good pace and rhythm on as there’s lots of tricky sections to negotiate up to the creek crossing. From here you can either turn right where you run parallel with Elizabeth Parade until just before Epping Rd or continue straight on and up a short set of stairs to Elizabeth Parade just before the roundabout at Gordon Cr.  You can then choose to continue up Elizabeth Parade and cross over Centennial Rd into the Harry Howard bushwalk (see trail 8 above).

Number 3 Gore Cove Reserve between Shirley Rd and St Giles Ave 1.0km at 2%)

Ok, I admit that I am breaking the rules a little bit here as this trail technically starts outside of the Lane Cove boundary but finishes where it matters and for most of the run its a short and scenic glance over Gore Cove to Greenwich. This is a very tough and narrow trail to run so you need to keep focused and watch each step, especially after you leave the elevated trail next to Gore Cove and drop down into the dark and damp section adjacent to the creek. After crossing the creek it’s a nice gentle climb up to the pedestrian bridge from Wollstonecraft station to St Giles Ave. People who know this area well will be accustomed to some pretty steep hills so if you have plenty of strength in your legs I’d suggest continuing up St Giles into Glenview St (which has a nasty little hill) ánd up to Greenwich Rd. Cross over here and turn right into Oscar St and down Gore Street to Gore Creek Reserve where you can hook up with the trail to River Rd ((see trail 7 above).

Number 2 Hodgson Park and Warraroon Reserve between Tambourine Bay Rd and William Edward St (1.1km at 4%)

It’s a shame this blog is about running because if it was about parks and picnics this would be number one on the list. After following the pathway down to the old swimming pool (now filled in) you then hit the trail which has recently been upgraded through the wetlands section if you don’t like getting your shoes muddy. Further up the trail you can choose to stay on the western side of the creek, which is mostly raised boardwalk, or cross over to the eastern side for the more rugged options. From this side you can choose from 3 routes, head straight up to William Edward St near Borambil Pl, or turn right and follow the trail to Dettman Ave (with a nasty little kick at the end !), or take the most rugged option (my favourite) turning left and following the creek finishing with a short nasty climb up to William Edward. You can definitely master your trail running skills on this course. Rather than joining up with another trail I’d suggest creating a loop course linking the alternative options mentioned above and head back for a picnic at Tambourine Bay Reserve ! 

Number One Lane Cove River Trail between Burn Bay Rd and Epping Rd (2.5km at 0%)

 I could have split this run into two sections (Lovetts Reserve to Blackman Park then Ventemans Reach to Epping Rd) but I chose to do it as one seeing as you do not technically hit road for the whole length (bike path, yes !). Needless to say what makes this trail the winner is the length and constant view of Lane Cove River the whole way…….when you can look up from the trail of course !. From River Rd to Blackman Park the trail rolls up and down with plenty of rock hopping so it can be pretty hard work and requires ballerina style footwork. The terrain from Blackman Park to Epping Rd is very different however with plenty of elevated boardwalks, She-Oak lined bushland or in some places, both ! The people who laid the boardwalks through this section left as many trees standing and actually cut holes in the boardwalk for the trees to pop through adding a fun slalom style challenge when running at speed ! (Note that at the date of this blog the trail north of the Stringybark creek crossing was closed due asbestos contamination plus the boardwalks in this area are old and rotted so they can be very risky to run on. Until this reopens the option is to run to the footbridge and then backtrack to the steps that climb up to Mars Rd)



Trails Outside Lane Cove Council Area

Needless to say there are also numerous trails just outside of the Lane Cove boundary that are worth venturing into, the most obvious one being the iconic Lane Cove River Park. The trails in here would justify a completely separate review so keep an eye out for this on my next list, but just as a little teaser here’s what you have to look forward to:

Number 5 –  Berry Island Reserve loop from the end of Shirley Rd

This is a great little loop to add onto your run if you choose to the Gore Cove Reserve trail (see trail 3 above). The views up the harbor to the city are worth making a quick stop to enjoy before tackling the nasty hill back up Shirley Rd.

Number 4 – Fairyland Track between Epping Rd and Quebec Rd

Another great trail that follows Lane Cove River plus you have the chance to revisit a little bit of nostalgia with the area stopping to read the signs that explain the history behind the Fairyland Reserve that once occupied the land around here.

Number 3 – Great North Walk between Boronia Park and Magdala Park

The name itself (Great North Walk) is an enticement to travel up this trail. This follows the western side of Lane Cove River so you can at least feel like your only a short swim away from Lane Cove plus you can use this trail to add onto the Lane Cove River Trail (see trail 1 above) to create a loop course for a long run.

Number 2 –  Lane Cove River Park Great North Walk between Max Allen Rd and De Burghs Bridge

This is one of the two big running options for running distance in the Lane Cove River Park. Starting from the northern side of the river on Max Allen Rd it’s a rough and rugged 5km run up to De Burghs Bridge where you can cross over and come back using the Riverside Walk trail (see below).

Number 1 – Lane Cove River Park Riverside Walk between Delhi Rd and De Burghs Bridge

This is the easier and more scenic option if you wish to follow the river on the southern side. Note that I say “easier” rather that “easy” !

Than you so much to Andy for providing this amazing review of Running Trails in Lane Cove.  His article on Hill Runs was widely read and we are sure this article will be a hit as well.

Our expert runner Andy Smith in Action

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