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Big A Little A - Mt Arrowsmith , Canterbury

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Big A Little A - Mt Arrowsmith Intermediate

Submitted by Matt Doherty

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Trail Information






Mt Somers Village

Back country - remote


Undulating, some big hills

Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands


7:00 (Slow)
5:00 (Moderate)
3:30 (Fast)



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This is the route used in Thee Run & Thee Ride marathons each year. There is also a 17km option which takes in most of the first climb but doesn't head around the mountain (Little A).
This is on private land so contact the owners who will be able to give up to date advice on their tracks.

The loop heads up the Cameron river then over a saddle to drop to the South Ashburton river before heading back over to the start at Lake Heron

From the woolshed head down to the road, turn left and follow the gravel road along lake for 2.5km
Head left across the fields for a couple of hundred meters to pick up the farm track and climb 700m over the next 8km. The track is a clay in some parts with loose rock in others, the views open up as you climb.
From this high point of 1400m there is a quad bashing descent which levels out as you near the river. There is a (flat) scree slope with large stones to run across at the 21km point.
Then continue along the river for 6km before veering left at the 27km mark and climbing a couple of short rises which will lead you through a nice little gorge. One last climb out of the gorge, follow around to the left, a quick 3km downhill than 5 rolling kms across the farm to the start

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Features of interest

Mt Arrowsmith is a working station that welcomes trampers, Mtb's, horses, & 4WD etc onto their tracks for a small fee.
In 2018 it was $10 per day for biking & hiking, $15 for a horse & $20 for 4WD
They have a woolshed decked out for sleeping plus a flash lodge.
email arrowsmith@farmside.co.nz or call +0064 3 303 9090
There is also a campground a few hundred meters before the farm.
This is big country with great views of a couple of different valleys that open right up as you climb and head around the mountain.

Make Up of Run

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 95%

Gravel Road: 5%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

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  • Access

    The track starts from the woolshed at Mt Arrowsmith Station
    Hakatere Lake Heron Road
    Mid Canterbury

    No public transport. Parking at the campground and at the station

    40 km

    45 minutes


    Name: Mt Arrowsmith Station
    Telephone: 03 303 9090

  • Staying Safe


    The land owners will give you up to date info on their tracks

    Very patchy.

    Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map.

    Heaps of streams but this is farmland. Cheack with land owners. You run alongside the South Ashburton river for several kms around the halfway mark.

    Expect snow in winter, cold winds around the tops and saddles, can get muddy after lots of rain.

  • Post run indulgence

    Staverly Store
    Nice food & coffee

  • Blog Posts and Articles
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