Last Updated: 16th Jan 2024

Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Avalanche Peak

Arthurs Pass, Canterbury

Submitted by Katie Smith

Last Updated: 16th Jan 2024

Intermediate

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Open

Grunt Factor: 28

Gnarl Factor: 69

8.7km

1075m

1075m

1833m

  

  

  

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Loop

Mountainous

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup

50%
50%

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +32.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -25.9%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

4:30

Slow

3:20

Moderate

2:15

Fast

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.

Great views of the Arthurs Pass area

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

0 km

0 minutes

Unknown

No

Moderate.

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

Patchy.

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.

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

Trail Legend

Steve Anderson

Steve Anderson

has completed Avalanche Peak once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Loved it. The weather was a bit dodgy but we managed about 10 minutes of semi-clear at the top before it clagged in. Good honest effort to get there. Highly recommended.
Will do it again in the summer months when the weather is a bot more stable.

Kev Strange

May 1, 2022

Beautiful day with a honest grunty climb up the Avalanche peak track filling my water bottles up at the second waterfall . Then a a nice exposed track to the summit. Stunning views ot Mt Rolleston and surrounding area. Then a fun run down Scotts track with a water refill about 2/3 of the way down. Loved it

Chris Morresey

April 9, 2022

Awesome views and a gnarly wee climb!

Lauren Mai Anderson

March 20, 2022

A super step, challenging trail but totally worth it! The views are amazing and if you're lucky you'll spot a few Kea keeping you company. Avalanche Peak Track has a few climbs and scrambles which are great fun and Scotts track on the descent is (thankfully) a little easier but will still finish off your quads. Make sure you hit the summit too, the views are truly worth the pain!

Paul Huxen

February 21, 2022

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