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The Riesling and Rattler Trail - Trail Description



The Riesling and Rattler Trail

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Type: Rail trail
Location: 130km north of Adelaide
Start/end: Riverton former Railway Station site to Clare former Railway station site
Status: Open
Length open: 54km
Surface: Fine gravel
Terrain: Gentle gradient
Public transport: Coach
Features: wineries, tourist
Contact Region: South Australia
The new bridge at Auburn completes the rail trail  (Riesling Trail committee 2019)
The new bridge at Auburn completes the rail trail (Riesling Trail committee 2019)
Suitable for walking Suitable for cycling mountain bikes Suitable for cycling touring hybrid bikes Suitable for wheelchairs Suitable for prams



This rail trail traverses two beautiful areas of SA countryside just a couple of hours drive north of Adelaide.  It is a long high quality trail traversing a variety of rural landscapes and small rural villages.  There are many options available to enjoy the whole trail or just short sections.

  • The rail trail is gently graded.
  • All road crossings have facilities to cross safely.
  • Allow extra time to leave the trail to explore vineyards and historic features
  • The trail features many original cuttings, embankments and bridges
  • Many quality interpretive signs at regular intervals

Extra Options

  1. John Horrocks Loop 9km
  2. Father Rogalski Loop 10km
  3. Spring Gully Loop 16km
  4. The Mawson Trail - 800k
  5. The Mawson Trail is a cycle trail running from just north of Adelaide to the Flinders Ranges. It mostly follows country roads and forest trails. Through the Claire Valley it follows the rail trail from Auburn to Riverton.

Information and maps for these loops can be obtained from the Clare Visitor information centre.

Support Services

Tour de Vines 2015 08 13 200Tour de Vines

Experience the best of the Riesling Trail on the only tour on this rail trail




Access Points

  • Clare Railway Station Site
  • Leisingham Winery
  • Clare Valley Visitor Information Centre
  • Sevenhill Railway Station Site
  • Watervale Railway Station Site
  • Auburn Railway Station Site
  • Riverton Trail Start/ Finish point at Riverton Sports Oval

Auburn to Clare (25km)

This is the original section of the trail and is maintained to a very high standard.  Plenty of interrpretive signs and wineries along the way.

  • Depart north from Auburn station and cross the new bridge that opened in 2019 to enable the rail trail to be entirely on the old railway corridor, 25 years after the Riesling Trail began
  • Cross the highway with care and enjoy the gentle climb to Leasingham, 8km away
  • After bypassing a small missing bridge, the trail climbs gently towards Watervale and to Pentwortham.
  • At Pentwortham, Highway 83 crosses the trail and follows it to Clare. Visit the historic St Mark's church (visible from the trail) where district pioneer John Horrocks was buried in 1846.
  • After a further 5km you will reach Sevenhill, where you will pass the local cemetery on your descent into Clare.
  • The trail terminates at a carpark at the old railway yard. The station is gone, but a new shelter has been built adjacent to Leasingham Winery.
  • Follow the town centre signs to the highway and the township of Clare.

Clare to Barinia Rd, White Hut (10km)

This section of the trail that extends north from the site of Clare Railway station site.  It features a quality surface through shady cuttings and bridges before coming out to beautiful farmland areas.

  • Proceed further north for another 10km to Barina Rd, White Hut. The trail currently terminates at this point.

Auburn to Riverton (19km)

  • Proceed south from site of Auburn railway station, past sporting ovals along a shady corridor
  • Take a break at the Rynie railway station site shelter
  • Take some extra time at Riverton to check out the magnificent intact Railway Station

Maps and trail descriptions available from Clare and Auburn Visitor information centres, and Riverton Historic Centre

For more information on this trail see the book Rail Trails of Victoria and South Australia.

Background Information

One of Australia's early explorers, Edward John Eyre, made his way through the valley in 1839. His favourite reports led John Horrocks to settle in the locality. He later founded Penworthham which was the first settlement north of Gawler. Other settlers followed and in1840 Edward Gleeson set up a sheep station and established Clare, named after his native country in Ireland. Copper was discovered at nearby Burra in 1845. Villages were established and roads were built, and by the 1880's and 90's wine growing had taken hold in the region.

The railway reached Riverton in 1864, but it wasn't until 1918 that the railway had reached the valley and Clare, finally stretching to Spalding in 1922, a distance of 86km. The line was closed in 1984 and the track was dismantled in 1989.

The trail is managed by a voluntary committee of management with assistance from the Department of Recreation and Sport (Trails SA).


For further information, or to report problems see links below

Clare Valley Visitor Information  Ph: 08 8842 2131

Trail Committee of Management  Secretary Ph: 08 8843 0196

The Riesling Trail

Riesling & Rattler Rail Trails brochure / map (2MB)

Clare Valley Business & Tourism Association

January 2021

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10 February , 2020 by HeronBird

The Rattler Rail Trail is a very enjoyable mostly uphill ride from Riverton to Auburn. The track surface is now good and there are lovely coffee shops at each end. Our group usually rides this trail two or three times a year. You can see more photos and a video here:

05 December , 2019 by Martincousins

I rode the Riesling and Rattler Trails over a weekend in September 2018. The section Clare to Auburn is the busiest and most popular, due to the large number of wineries, eateries and art galleries close to the trail. There are also many options for side trips to lookouts and more wineries. Clare is the largest town on the trail, with good facilities and accommodation options. The southern section known as the Rattler Trail from Auburn to Riverton is a quieter section of the overall trail, with flatter surrounds and extensive farmland views. Riverton is a small town with interesting historic features. Unfortunately the Riverton Railway Station appeared to be now privately owned and did not allow access at the time. Clare to Whitehut at the northern end is also a quiet section of the trail, with extensive farmland views. Overall the trail had a good gravel surface. My chain and bike was a bit dusty after a couple of days, so it would be good to have some lube. Also the weather was quite warm even in early September, and a bit windy, so make sure you have water and sunscreen and allow time for a slower ride depending on conditions.

08 May , 2015 by obrien

Just finished riding the Riesling and Rattler trails on my hybrid. The surface is excellent on both trails now, and the addition of extra artworks and interpretive signs certainly enhances the experience. The new bridges on the Rattler Trail are excellent, and the new surface is very smooth. I would be happy to ride both trails on my road bike. A new trail-side cafe (The Legless Dog) near Watervale was a most welcome sight. There are also plenty of choices for a meal or snack at Auburn. Check out the Cogwebs Cafe for a unique experience.

08 February , 2015 by ken.evanoff

Rode from Clare to Auburn with my young family in January 2015. Whilst it not as long as the Victorian trails, I think it is more beautiful than the Murray to the Mountains or the Great Victorian Rail trail. Excellent surface, outstanding views, heaps of informative signs and many things to see and do off the trail make for a wonderful experience. Approaching Clare, I could smell the pine trees as we rode past! I would be nice to see a few more bridges re installed, especially around Leasinghan and Auburn and a few more toilets as most were around 500m off the trail into the townships. After speaking to the locals, there is a significant push to lengthen the trail and they feel the trail brings a significant tourist attraction to the area. Looking forward to riding the whole length in the future.

09 March , 2014 by wow01

I rode on both these trails on 26 February 2014. The Riesling trail has a well-maintained surface. The Rattler trail from Auburn to Riverton and return is undergoing repairs in some places but was open to bikes on the day I was there. It is a bit rough in places with coarse gravel on the riding surface, so I would recommend a mountain bike for this section. Three of the four bridges on the Riverton section have new steel decking, great to see the work coming along.

26 March , 2013 by 

I created an account to specifically see the Gradient profile, which once logged in the link has disappeared!! the password email reminder is blank. site not working very well.

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Riesling Trail (in South Australia) has a bridge upgrade

(Posted: 04/12/20)

The Riesling Trail Management Committee, with assistance from the Federal Government, SA Government Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing and the Grosset Gaia Fund, has replaced the existing bridge on the Riesling Trail with a new bridge which is 3 metres wide.


Funding for Riesling - Rattler Rail Trail upgrade

(Posted: 30/05/13)

Funding has been obtained to repair and upgrade the 'Riesling- Rattler Trail' in SA