Last Updated: 29th Apr 2024


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Saddle Up

Little River, Canterbury

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Last Updated: 29th Apr 2024


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 8 ?

Gnarl Factor: 49 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops


Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -13.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







The trail is well marked from the carpark. Hop through the old stockyard (literally) and then follow the well defined trail up past a couple of small peaks. The trail then follows fencelines and defined ridges until you spot the trig sitting on the summit. Follow the obvious trails to the top and soak in the amazing views from Akaroa to the Pacific Ocean to Lake Ellesmere and the Southern Alps beyond the plains. Truly a gem of a place to be, and a real wild feel for a shorter trail. Grunty vert too.

This is great to run in combo with the stunning Tumble Down Te Oka, which is back along the road a bit. A highly recommended afternoon of dual trail mahi!

Stunning views of ancient volcanic landscape

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Parking at trailhead, look for the DOC sign for Saddle Hill Reserve

13 km

21 minutes




Well poled but it can often be misty up here being so high, so choose your weather if you want the view


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

No water up here, fill up at Little River or home

Very exposed high tops, you probably don't want to do this one in bad weather.

Some steep drop offs near the top

Pop down to Little River for cafes and pub

Trail Legend

Emma Rogers

Emma Rogers

has completed Saddle Up once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Short but sweet! Cracker views of Banks Peninsula, Akaroa Harbour, Lakes Forsyth and Ellesmere, and of course the sea. Will definitely make a habit of stopping here now and again on our way to our favourite beach (Tumbledown Bay).

Matt Halverson

February 6, 2022

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