The Queen Rose Trail is one of the most popular outdoor adventures the small, historic town of Barberton has to offer. Just a short drive away from Nelspruit, the trail is fairly easy to hike and it offers some of the most spectacular views. 

The trail starts in the mountains east of Barberton, deep in the Nelshoogte Forest Reserve. This is a backpack trail that takes about two days to complete and covers around 21 km. It goes without saying that you will need to be fairly fit and have a good pair of hiking boots (mountain bikes are also an option).

The Nelshoogte Nature Reserve is set between Barberton and Badplaas, and the Queen Rose Trail is said to be the most scenic trail in the country.

The landscape in the area is lush between the mountains of the eastern escarpment where the Queens and Montrose Rivers meet. It’s on the banks of the Montrose and Queens Rivers that most of the hike takes place. Here the hike will take you from riverine forest to waterfalls and pools, all amongst a variety of plants and indigenous trees, among them some fine specimens of Matumi, Mingerhout and False Horsewood trees.

This hike is unique in that it is two separate hikes and you can choose to do either first. One trail is known as the Montrose section and is 13 km that starts with an incline but is mostly downhill. You will start hiking uphill and go through a pine plantation before descending to Alvin’s Falls. From there you will be hiking along the river bank, which can be a bit slippery in places at certain times of the year, before reaching open grasslands which will take you to Makesh Hut. Makesh Hut has a pool and the hut itself is solar powered. There is also a flush toilet and a gas shower. Braai facilities are provided, but wood has to be bought.

The other section is known as the Queens River section and this trail is 8 km, mostly uphill. This trail takes you up through indigenous bush and then along a riverine forest that goes along the valley. In the summer this trail can be a rather warm walk as it does get very humid. Despite the humidity, this is a most enjoyable walk that includes a suspension bridge and “foefie” slide for the brave. And when the heat gets to you, there are several pools along the way to cool off in.

Nelspruit Lodge offers some of the best accommodation in Nelspruit and we are the ideal starting point from which to go hiking. Our accommodation ranges from incredibly affordable to something a little more extravagant. Have a look at our accommodation to find out more.

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