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The Taipo, West Coast

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The TaipoBeginner

Submitted by Katie Smith

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Trail Information





West Coast

Arthurs Pass

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Open farmlands


3:00 (Slow)
2:15 (Moderate)
1:30 (Fast)



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This is a nice accessible out-and-back with a good solid hill to start with, and can be extended as far as you want along the Taipo Valley - the track continues for approximately 30km to Harman Pass. Although the majority of the route is a 4WD track it tends to be muddy and slippery, particularly after rain.

From the car park the 4WD track climbs steadily over a high terrace before dropping back down to the flat river valley ahead. You will go through a gate on the way down. Cross a creek at the bottom.
From the flats the track follows the river upstream through a mix of gorse and native bush. There are several side creeks to cross, which can be impassable after heavy rain. After about 2km of flats you reach the first ford - if the river is high, backtrack 100m and look for the orange triangle marking a high sidle through the bush - even if the river is passable it makes a nice change from the 4WD track.
Dillon Hut is reached after about 8.5km, with a historic hut as well to have a look at.
Turn around here and head back down the valley then way you came.

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Features of interest

Stunning views up the Taipo Valley

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 60%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The Taipo carpark is signposted from SH73 between Jacksons and Kumara, about 1km east of the one-lane Taipo River bridge just opposite a farmhouse.

    Plenty of parking, no public transport.

    42 km

    36 minutes



  • Staying Safe



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

    Plenty available from the river and side creeks.

    In winter the valley doesn't get much sun, making it surprisingly cold, and hard frosts can last all day. It gets very muddy after rain.

    Best avoided if rivers are flooding - have a look at the Taipo from the road bridge near the start, the river is usually blue and clear.

  • Post run indulgence

    Theatre Royal Hotel (aka the Kumara pub)
    Good coffee, excellent food and a nice atmosphere, and they don't mind soggy muddy runners.

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