Dracophyllum / Camp Saddle LoopIntermediate
Submitted by John Davis
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Front country - easily accessible
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
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A classic combo of the Dracophyllum Track (moderate/rolling) and the Camp Saddle/Craigieburn route. All tracks are open to mtb as well, so keep an ear out for riders.
From the car park area drop towards the river to pick up the signposted start of the Dracophyllum Track, you'll immediately cross an unbridged stream, and then follow the winding Dracophyllum Track for about 5km to where you cross the Broken River via bridge and then start the climb up towards the Broken River Ski Field access road. When you hit the road turn left and carry on up the road for 3km until you see the DOC signpost on the right for the Camp Saddle Track (just before the tractor sheds for the ski field). The track starts out wide and relatively easy, then steepens and gets rougher as you near the saddle itself, the last section is the worst and it's easy to loose the track - just keep aiming for the low point and you'll be fine. Once on the saddle stop to admire the views, then plunge down the scree field the other side, keeping an eye out for 'the edge' track crossing from left to right (very easy to overshoot, especially in snow). Turn right onto 'the edge' and follow it until you come to a complex junction of tracks - with the track to Helicopter Hill heading left and up, the direct track down to the Craigieburn car park straight ahead and 'the luge' track heading right - turn right and follow the luge all the way down to the Broken River Ski Field Road. (the direct track is fast but brutally steep, and it spits you out much further down so more gravel road to get back to Dracophyllum). At the road turn right and grind your way back up to where the Dracophyllum track joined, turn left and follow that track back to the start.
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Features of interest
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 10%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 60%
Gravel Road: 20%
'Texas Flat' which is the flat parking area on the Mt Cheeseman skifield road where the Hogsback track comes in on the left and the Dracophyllum track starts on the right
only section that isn't good track is dropping off the saddle down the scree to join the 'edge' track - if you've got speed on or if there's snow it can be easy to overshoot and end up down on the skifield road
Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
Water in Broken River (where Dracophyllum crosses before climbing up to the broken river ski field road) generally seems ok (have drunk out of it plenty of times and never got crook) - wouldn't recommend drinking out of the stream at Texas Flat though (too far from the snow line)
Can hit snow any time of year on the saddle, and can be deep in winter (since you're higher than the broken drive and craigieburn skifields).
Post run indulgence
Sheffield Pie Shop
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