Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Woolshed Whopper

Arthurs Pass, Canterbury

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 36 ?

Gnarl Factor: 94 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back


Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +20.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -19.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







This one is a gutbuster. Once you've found the carpark, finding the track end can be tricky if you don't have instructions. So here they are!

The track to Woolshed Hill begins behind Kidson Lodge which is not far from the Hawdon Valley Shelter. The track leading into the beech forest is marked with a big orange triangle, so is easy to spot. It climbs steeply - only the most elite will do anything but walk this section - for about an hour before leveling off a bit and providing some views through the trees to the valley floor.

Not long after the view points the track emerges from the trees altogether into bright orange dracophyllum scrub. Now there are glorious views across to Sudden Valley. Follow the path through the scrub, along the ridge, sometimes passing through bare, rocky slopes and sometimes through a bit of tussock and clumps of trees. The route is pretty well defined and cairned, where in doubt just stick to the ridgeline.

There are a few small tarns nestled between moraine walls that make a lovely rest spot. Frome here continue on to the summit of Woolshed Hill, by continuing up the ridge. It steepens near the top and then opens out to a wonderful 360 degree panorama that invites future missions.

Return the way you came, although there are awesome opportunities to explore further along the ranges and back out down the East Hawdon if you really want to supercharge your day.

This trail includes the peak Woolshed Hill.

Stunning views of the Waimakariri Basin

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Park either at Hawdon Shelter or else tuck your car away closer to the lodge if the ground conditions suit.

25 km

26 minutes




Follow the orange markers in the bush and cairns/ slight trail on the tops. Blue / pink ones are trap lines, don't follow these!

Very patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

Small tarns near the top in emergence but really you need to carry enough water for the whole trip

Exposed tops, subject to rapid weather change at any time of year. Can get every windy. Expect to be snowcovered in winter/ spring

Snow - avalanche risk should be checked in winter/ spring on the tops

Anything in Arthurs Pass or the Bealey

Trail Legend

Daniel Parkinson

Daniel Parkinson

has completed Woolshed Whopper once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Spectacular. A steep climb through bush followed by some gentler ridge running leading to a final pull up to the summit from where there are gobsmacking 360 deg views. Save it for a nice day!

Malcolm Law

November 13, 2020

Excellent views in every direction. Very steep climb in the bush which levels out a bit on the tops. Similar terrain to Mt Oxford. Very exposed to wind. Times are generous. I was under 2.5 hours all up, including 10 minutes or so at Summit cairn.

Brad Spiers

March 16, 2020

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