Summary

Distance 13.5km
Duration Allow 4 hours of actual walking time (in between cellar door visits and other rest stops)
Difficulty Moderate – about 5.5km of easy road to follow and 8km of harder trail through paddocks, multiple ridge climbs and winter creeks. 80% of the route is well shaded.
Elevation Gain 409m [347m if travelling in reverse, Leasingham to Spring Gully]
Start Jeanneret Wines, 22 Jeanneret Rd, Sevenhill SA 5453
End O’Leary Walker Wines, 7093 Horrocks Highway, Leasingham, Clare SA 5452
Map Download Here

 

Description

Traversing the picturesque Skillogalee Valley, Stage 3 encompasses six wineries, the greatest number of cellar doors of all the stages on the Trail.

By starting at Jeanneret Wines, you may be lured by the wonderful outdoor deck nestled amongst some huge old gum trees. Apart from the outstanding wines on offer, there are also some great beers & gin to try.

From the trail signage next to the dam, locate a small vehicle track and head east. Note the trail continues straight through the bush where the road turns left (it’s easy to miss this turn) and push through to the ridge where, on emerging from the scrub, you will be presented with a stunning view of the Skillogalee Vineyards and Skilly Valley – one of the best views on the entire trail. Follow the markers toward the Skillogalee restaurant and cellar door, making sure that you stay well clear on the vineyards. Continue through the carefully cultivated vineyards towards Mitchell Wines.

Rest awhile at Mitchells’ cellar door, where you will find a lovely outdoor area to sit and try some of their delicious wines.  Their signature Pepper Tree Shiraz and aged McNicol Riesling should not be missed.

Cross the stile in the paddock and continue along the creek line through the old pear orchard until you reach a stile that will thrust you into the domain of Kilikanoon Wines. Be tempted to sample their lovely reds and whites, plus their highly esteemed (and authentically French) Vouvray bubbles.

While in this delightful neck of the woods, consider visiting Penna Lane cellar door (a stone’s throw up the hill) before rejoining the trail via another stile at the Kilikanoon car-parking area. Head east along the fence line, then curve south along the creek for a short distance, keeping a close eye on trail markers as you head up towards Hughes Park Road. (Don’t be distracted by the resident alpaca clowning around, pretending to be a dead sheep!). Whilst on the subject of sheep, please give them plenty of room, if you see newborn lambs stop & go well around, mothers and lambs need to bond for at least 6 hours and must remain undisturbed, if you split them up,  lamby will probably die.

Cross the road and look for a stile heading east into more beautiful bushland, then hike up the hill on an old dirt track that takes you south along the ridge line. Zig zag down through the bush to Hughes Park Road again, and follow this enchanting old stock route for 5.5km. Enjoy the shade from the massive gum trees towering over you as you walk along, and watch for local traffic. On a clear day, you will see Mount Oakden, the second highest mountain in the Clare Valley (elevation 580m) on your right.

After about 5km you’ll come to the Popes Hill Rd intersection, continue along Hughes Park Road (at this point called Upper Skilly Rd) for about 650 metres, keeping an eye out for a stile on your left.

Cross the stile and follow the fence line up the hill, and enjoy the challenging climb! Go through the gap in the fence half way up and veer right to avoid dense scrub before returning to the fence line. Once at the top, enjoy spectacular views as you begin to meander south along the ridge top. Now you really feel like you are in the wilderness, and will likely be accompanied by wallabies and kangaroos along the way.

Glimpses of vineyards and the Riesling Trail through the Clare Valley on the left unfurl into views of a patchwork quilt of vines and hills. Be sure to turn right before the gate on the top of the hill. The trail then undulates through natural scrub up, over and down the hill south to a fence and over another stile. Then follow this fence line south to your final style. Climb over this one and head down and up the next hill towards a final summit which is a beauty! Stop and rest, have a big drink of water and take it all in. You only have about 1.5 km to go.

Follow the trail markers down from the ridge top. At the bottom of the hill just before the Riesling Trail, the trail turns to the right, and  crosses an old fence towards a bitumen road.  Before you get to the bitumen road, note the old Pepper Tree in the Vineyard on your right (next to a pump shed) – this is the Pepper Tree Vineyard belonging to Mitchell Wines which supplies their Pepper Tree Shiraz.  If you sampled their Pepper Tree Shiraz at Cellar Door (as we told you to do) then you have completed the circle.

Hop onto the Riesling Trail on the other side of the bitumen and head south for about 700m.  Prepare to be wowed by the scene that greets you here: O’Leary Walker Wines cellar door, your finishing point!. A lengthy stop here for one of their delicious platters and a glass of Polish Hill River Riesling is highly recommended.

Wineries and Cellar Doors

  • Jeanneret Wines & Clare Calley Brewing
  • Skillogalee Wines & Restaurant
  • Mitchell Wines
  • Kilikanoon Wines
  • Penna Lane Wines (off trail)
  • O’Leary Walker Wines

Toilets

Toilets are located at the start and end of Stage 3 (cellar door opening hours only), and at;

  • Skillogalee Wines
  • Kilikanoon Wines
  • Mitchell Wines

Other Points of Interest

  • Historic Hughes Park (private property)
  • Accessible to Riesling Trail
  • Stunning Skilly Valley and Clare Valley Views
  • 5.5km of Back Road, 8km of Trails through Private Property

Stage 3 Map & Photos