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Golden Gate Challenge - Day 1

  5.0 ( 2 ) Favorite


17.1 mile 27.5 kilometer loop
83% Runnable


Ascent: 3,555' 1,083 m
Descent: -3,553' -1,083 m
High: 8,399' 2,560 m
Low: 5,968' 1,819 m


Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 35% (19°)


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Trail shared by Hanno Langenhoven

A circular mountain trail with plenty of majestic views on offer.

Hanno Langenhoven

Features Birding · Cave · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife


The Golden Gate Challenge is a 3-day track and trail run through some of the most rugged yet scenic mountains of the Free State, situated in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. The race will traverse through restricted parts of the reserve rarely seen by the public, like Little Serengeti, Cathedral Caves and many other hidden gems within the park. Participants will cover just over 70km in 3 days, staged out of a single base camp in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. Please do not judge the race by its distances, as it is a true challenge offering great rewards, but that means conquering big mountains and high altitudes. You'll pass by ancient rock paintings and relics of past civilizations as you run this race with the knowledge that you are running for the survival of a species the Bearded Vulture.


On the first day you'll follow the well-known Ribbok Hiking Trail 27km of pretty magical stuff, but also hard work. We thought wed get the hardest day of the 3 out of the way so take it easy, there are some big mountains waiting for you.

Look out for some waterfalls, rock pools, Eland, Ribbok and loads of other game. The route is narrow and in some places really rocky, so watch your step. Unfortunately, we will not be able to take you through Cathedral Cave due to it being really unsafe.

You have two relatively big climbs, the biggest one of the two right at the start Generaalkop. Other nicknames such as Kneebrake, Moedbreek, Hartbreek and Inbreek should give you an indication of what this mountain is all about. All I can say is take this slope one step at a time and its pretty good getting to the other side of the mountain and into the valley.

The second half is a bit easier, but know that you still have some climbing to do before descending into the rest camp. It is not nearly as hard as the first climb, but it will definitely test the legs. The route will also take you over the legendary Brandwag Mountain, a signature of the Golden Gate.

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Oct 20, 2016
Hanno Langenhoven
Oct 23, 2015
Hanno Langenhoven
4h 32m

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 2 votes


  5.0 from 2 votes
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in South Africa


7 Views Last Month
438 Since Feb 23, 2016



Open singletrack - what a joy!
Mar 10, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Passing yet another sandstone buttress while partaking in the Golden Gate Challenge.
Feb 23, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Through the shelter we go
Feb 23, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Climbing those stairs again.
Mar 10, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Passing Generaal's Kop as part of the Golden Gate Challenge.
Feb 23, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA
Runners take off at the start of the Golden Gate Challenge.
Feb 23, 2016 near Phuthad…, ZA


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