Last Updated: 13th May 2024


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Little Mount Peel


Deer Spur

Geraldine, Canterbury

Submitted by Giles Fairbrother

Last Updated: 13th May 2024


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Grunt Factor: 23 ?

Gnarl Factor: 54 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +20.1%

Average Downhill Gradient: -20.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is a very steady and rewarding grunt right from the start. Expect to lose some gravy even on a cold day! Once loaded up with something to drink - I recommend at least a litre to get to the top and something to graze on - it is a slog up the road for 400m to the start of the DOC track. There is water at the top but do not rely on it.

Stay on Deer Spur to reach the summit of Little Mount Peel. Beautiful native bush surrounds you for the first 2/3 of the climb. Very nice on a hot day! The track has a few minutes of easy gradient before relentless up - approx 200m per kilometer. You will pass a turn off to Allans track - a good loop to do also but keep on the main track. This is the only turn off on the entire track. There is a tarn approximately 1/3 of the way up but in recent years is more of a muddy hole. Nearly out of the bush you reach a seat -don't be tempted! you are a runner and seats are for walkers and on the way down only!! This is pretty much exactly halfway time-wise. Not long after getting in the open you hit boardwalk. This comes and goes right to the last push to the summit which is more technical single track and I defy anyone to run it as it is more of a tramp-clamber up the rocky chute in and around rocks and other minor obstacles. Long legs are a blessing here.

The final clamber onto the top ridge is relieving and it is compulsory to break in to a jog up the final stretch if you can retain your lungs from exploding. Reach the summit and have a breather at the trig (usually collapse against it.) Enjoy the 360 degree views similar to that of Mount Roy in Wanaka with the Southern Alps being slightly further away, but coastal views stretching from Dunedin to Akaroa.

This trail includes the peak Little Mount Peel/Huatekerekere.

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There is parking for 20 cars easily and would fit up to 50 very well organised cars.

25 km

23 minutes




Generally good.

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 bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries

Water tank at the summit - by the hut. Generally reliable but does dry out in summer due to the popularity of the track and people not taking sufficient water of their own. You should take an amount of water you would expect to drink climbing a vertical kilometer over 5km and returning. 1-2 litres I recommend depending on your thirst requirements and the weather. Personally I can make it up on a couple of sips in cold damp weather but will drink a 750ml bottle easily other days on the way up. There are no streams to drink from on the entire trip without severe bushwhacking.

Mud is common most of the year, especially winter, as the track acts as a drain for the mountain. Ice gets tricky in winter mainly above the bushline when the mud freezes and on the rocks especially dodgey. Just be aware if its frosty it will be slippery and some trail spikes would go a long way in winter - something I have never owned.

Peel forest Pub
peel forest
Good craft beers and wedges

The first dairy you get to heading back into geraldine
good icecreams

Trail Legend


Shane Ashley

has completed Little Mount Peel 6 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Cool detour from our big drive south. The track is a bit rooty and then muddy in the winter but it only adds to the fun

Anna Scheirlinck

August 20, 2020

I love this trail. It's always so rewarding at the top, even on the rare days that you are surrounded with cloud and can't see anything :) great wee climb.

Paul Forbes

August 10, 2020

A great day trip out from Christchurch with amazing views from the summit. Just loved sitting at the hut at the summit and taking the views over looking the Canterbury Plains and the Alps. There is not much flat on this track, it is just up and it gets more steeper when you get closer to the summit. But it is all worth it when you reach it.

Sharon Sharpe

March 2, 2018

Love this trip up deer spur. Regular on it, as I'm a local and can do it in the school hours. It's relentless going up and the first time you think it just keeps going especially if you are doing it in fog and can't see too far ahead. The end climb is the hardest, but worth it in the end to sit up at the hut and have a snack or coffee taking in the view. Be prepared to get muddy too

Paula Campbell

April 25, 2017

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