Hiking Lion’s Head, Cape Town

Cape Town has everything any visitor can dream of. Stunning beaches, great food and best of all, beautiful mountains surrounding it. So why not grab your hiking shoes and head off on one of the most popular hiking trails in Cape Town. The climb up Lion’s Head.

Lion’s Head is part of the Table Mountain National park and is a wonderful hike to try, even for beginners.  Its iconic peak looms over the city and the ocean and the hike to its summit is popular with locals and tourists alike.  The hike can take a steep 2-3 hours up and down but rewards with views around every corner.

View from the top of Lion's Head. Robben Island spotted in the distance
View from the top of Lion’s Head. Robben Island spotted in the distance
How to get to Lion’s Head

Lion’s Head is situated on Signal Hill road. Drive from the city center towards Table Mountain following Kloofnek Road. Turn off into Signal Hill road and find the parking for Lion’s Head right across the entrance of the trail in Forestry road. If you don’t have a car, you can use Uber or take the MyCitiBus 106 or 107 stopping in Kloofnek Road.

Search for nearby accommodation here.

About the trail

The hiking trail circles around Lion’s Head until you reach the top. The distance of the Lion’s Head hike is about 2-3 km one way, depending on which route you take. The shorter route has a section that needs to be climbed with the help of chains and ladders and the trail becomes more rocky as you climb upwards.  The two trails split at about the three quarters mark of the trail. The duration of the hike is roughly 2-3 hours depending on your fitness level and pace.

Lion's Head has chains and grips to help you get to the top
Lion’s Head has chains and grips to help you get to the top

Top things to do in Cape Town – How to hike up Lion’s Head and get a bird’s eye view of the city #CapeTown #LionsHeadHike

Who can hike Lion’s Head

Anyone can hike Lion’s Head but it is recommended that you have a basic fitness level.  The hike is not suited for young children or the elderly or people with serious knee injuries.

What is the best time to hike Lion’s Head

Anytime of the year is perfect for hiking Lion’s Head as long as the day is clear with minimal wind.  For summer, it’s best to get an early start before the heat and the crowds set in.  In summer you can join in on the ‘Full Moon Hike’ every full moon.  Don’t forget to bring a head light and tread carefully as the trails get extremely crowded on these hikes.

Because of recent fires on the mountain SAN Parks are doing maintenance on the trail and it might be closed during some periods of the year. Check their website before you go.

View of Cape Town during a Full Moon hike in summer
View of Cape Town during a Full Moon hike in summer
What to Take
  • A good windbreaker is always recommended as it can get chilly on top even in summer.
  • Strong sunscreen
  • Lots of fluids like water or energy drinks
  • Snacks to keep up your energy
  • Pack a small picnic to enjoy when you reach the top
  • A plastic bag to store any garbage like empty bottles, etc.
  • Good walking shoes

The hike provides breathtaking views of Cape Town, Table Mountain and on a good day, Robben Island (Mandela’s prison).  The fauna and flora is typical of the plants in the Table Mountain Park with a certain beauty to them.  You can try to capture the grandness of the Atlantic Ocean and Table Bay as the views sinks into your senses.  The hike upwards is a steep climb and even I huffed and puffed to the top (I’m moderately fit).  The hike is totally worth it and you’re rewarded with great views.  I found coming down a lot easier.

Starting your day off with a hike to Lion’s Head is a good way to start off a trip in Cape Town.  Afterwards you can go to the beach at the nearby Camps Bay and eat at one of the many restaurants on the Camps Bay strip.  If you like mountains, hiking and great views of the ocean, this is one activity you have to do when in Cape Town.

Lion’s Head tours and activities you might be interested in (if you prefer a guided hike):

view of signal hill from Lion's head
Get an early start to you hike. This is the view of Signal Hill and the city
View of Cape Town from Lion's Head trail starting point
View of Cape Town from Lion’s Head trail starting point
On our way up
Beautiful views of the ocean and Cape Town beaches
Beautiful views of the ocean and Cape Town beaches
View of the Atlantic from the top of Lion's Head
View of the Atlantic from the top of Lion’s Head
View of Table Mountain from Lion's Head
View of Table Mountain from Lion’s Head
Relaxing on the beach afterwards looking at the Twelve Apostles (mountain heads)
Relaxing on the beach afterwards looking at the Twelve Apostles (mountain heads)

You might also like: How to spend 24 Hours in Cape Town

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Hike up Lion’s Head in Cape Town for spectacular views of the city and ocean

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Top things to do in Cape Town South Africa Hiking Lion's Head
Top things to do in Cape Town South Africa Hiking Lion's Head

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