Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail

When it comes to reaching the peak of Table Mountain, there’s more than a couple of ways you can make your way to the top. And each hiking trail holds a different experience. The hikes range from scenic and perfect for beginners, to challenging and technical.
The Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail falls on the more challenging side of the scale. Here’s everything you need to know before you go on this amazing hiking trail.

The Setting of Skeleton Gorge

The Skeleton Gorge hike starts off at the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. This is the side of Table Mountain that gets exposed to the most rainfall. It creates the most beautiful part of the hiking trail, with a forest-like atmosphere. Some of the types of vegetation you will see is impressively rare, 0.5% of the country is covered by it. The forest section at the beginning is definitely a highlight of this route. Make sure you come prepared with good boots, and a raincoat in the winter.

Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail - Secret Cape Town
The trail will also take you through some of the main floral zones. Skeleton Gorge hiking trail is perfect for nature lovers. There’s a wide variety of plants and flowers to appreciate along the secluded trail. The hike will expose you to a different side of Table Mountain’s beauty.

What to expect

As mentioned, the trail starts in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. It’s a steep ascend up the side of Table Mountain. You will be climbing steadily through most of your hike, starting at 200-meters elevation to reach 800 meters elevation at the top. There will also be a ladder that you must use halfway through the trail.

When you reach the rocky stream, you will have to start using your hands to navigate your way across the rocks. You will come across the Smuts Track shortly after the stream. The incline between this point of the trail and the highest point of Table Mountain is about 280 meters. You’ll soon find that the last section of the trail is the easiest.  Once you reach the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Cape Town, across the Southern Suburbs as well as the City Bowl.

Skeleton Gorge Hiking Trail

Please note: Summer is the best time to go on this hiking trail. During the winter months heavy rainfall can make this trail very dangerous.
At the end of the hike, you don’t have to worry about going down the same way you came up. You can take the cable car down if you had enough hiking adventure for one day. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery while going down.

Difficulty Level

The Skeleton Gorge hiking trail is not the easiest route you can take to the top of Table Mountain. If you want a trail that is not physically challenging, then we would suggest that you take the Platteklip Gorge route.

The Skeleton Gorge Trail is very challenging and requires a decent fitness level to finish. Given the length and technicality of the hike, you should prepare to push yourself at certain parts of the trail. What makes this hike memorable is the sections full of rugged beauty along the way.
Experience Natural Beauty at Its Finest

This trail through the dense forest is perfect to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. The views along the way are breathtaking and at the top of the mountain you can overlook various sides of the Mother City, including the Southern Suburbs and the City Bowl.