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Maling Fowler Pass Loop, Canterbury

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Maling Fowler Pass LoopIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Stu Houston

Info Info
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Trail Information






Hanmer Springs

Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands

Intermediate - Experienced

8:00 (Slow)
6:00 (Moderate)
4:00 (Fast)



Can be closed in Extreme Fire Conditions. Check DOC website prior to departure.

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This loop can be run in either direction but this description is done anticlockwise from the Fowler Hut carpark, which is the start of the Fowler Pass track.

From the carpark either run or bike north on the Tophouse Road for 10 kilometers to the Maling Pass/St James Cycleway track start carpark. If you have biked this bit stash your bike amongst the few tussocks along the track and run west following the Cycleway to Maling Pass on a 4x4 road.

The road drops steeply from the pass down to the Waiau River Valley below with stunning views of the Spencer Mountains. Once at the river the track turns south to follow the river down to the Lake Guyon turn-off where you turn east and run to the lake and the Lake Guyon Hut.

The Hut is a tiny 4 bunker and the location is one word..Stunning! After the hut carry on along the Lakehore to the SE end of the lake. The track now climbs up a well marked trail that takes you up to a large open basin known as Stanley Vale and the old Historic Stanley Vale Hut, which is a popular place for horse trekkers.

From Stanley Vale you now turn east onto the Fowler Pass Track with multiple crossings of the Stanley River and Smyths Stream and a well-graded climb up to Fowlers Pass. From the Pass it is a lovely cruise down a nice gradient smooth track back to the carpark.

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Features of interest

This is a great mix of open retired farm grasslands and beautiful river valleys and the stunning Lake Guyon.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 10%

Moderate Single Track: 30%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 30%

Gravel Road: 20%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Start at the Historic Fowler Hut on Tophouse Road

    There's plenty of room to park at the Fowler Hut and it's a reasonably isolated spot so pretty safe.

    29 km

    105 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Tracks are well marked and well sign posted but take a map just in case.


    Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Map.

    Generally there are plenty of streams evenly spaced the whole way round but during a dry spell there maybe less.

    This area is notorious for brutally cold winters and scorching hot summers. It is open and exposed to the elements also you can get winter and Summer extremes on the same day so check the forecast and take good gear. Once you are in the Waiau Valley you are very remote so be well prepared.

    Check river levels before you go and don't attempt after heavy rain as there are many river crossings of the Stanley River. Check the forecast before you go this is a very exposed track with two alpine passes. Stay away from area if there's extreme fire danger.

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