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Avalanche Peak, Canterbury

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Avalanche PeakIntermediate

Submitted by Katie Smith

Info Info
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Trail Information






Arthurs Pass

Front country - easily accessible



Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


4:30 (Slow)
3:20 (Moderate)
2:15 (Fast)



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This is a steep loop to the summit of Avalanche Peak, a popular day walk. There is little running to be done on the way up, but provides a nice technical downhill finished with an easy warm-down through the town to get you back to where you started. It can be done in either direction - Scott's track is slightly longer and marginally less steep than the Avalanche Peak track. This describes the clockwise direction.

Start from just behind the visitor centre where you see a DoC sign for the Avalanche Peak track. This climbs steeply right from the start, giving views of Avalanche Creek and several waterfalls early on. It climbs through beech forest on a well cut out track, often on bare rockbed, with a few short hauls,
As you come out of the beech at around 1000m the track gradient eases slightly, and follows a spur which falls steeply to the left. This continues to climb over a small knob before passing through an open basin just before the final climb. As you get to the top where Scott's track meets from the right, you clamber left over broken boulders to the obvious summit a short distance away.

From here Mt Rolleston and its glacier dominated the views. Backtrack the way you came, then follow the orange and yellow poles down along Scott's track. There are great views of the Devil's Punchbowl falls across the valley. The track then zigzags through the beech, with some less steep sections, before popping out on SH73 just outside the Arthurs Pass town edge. Here you can go right along the highway back into town (beware or traffic) or left for a short distance before another track turns right off the road, bringing you out at the Devil's Punchbowl car park. From here head back to the main road and along it to where you started.

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Features of interest

Great views of the Arthurs Pass area

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 50%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each


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Wild Explorers

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  • Access

    The Avalanche Peak track starts just behind the DoC visitor centre on the main road through Arthurs Pass

    Parking and public toilets available at the DoC centre and across the road - plenty of it.

    0 km

    0 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Harder in poor visibility, although there are lots of snow poles once you're on the tops.


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Water available from the public toilets at the bottom, with very little available on Avalanche Peak track, and two small creeks near the bottom of Scott's track

    Lots of snow in winter - you will needs crampons/ice axe at times - and the track crosses avalanche paths. The tops are exposed at any time of year, and the weather can change quickly.

    Beware of the steep drop-offs, particularly if visibility is poor.

  • Post run indulgence

    Arthur's Pass Store & Cafe
    Great date scones! Busy in summer.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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