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Looping Mt Harper , Canterbury

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Looping Mt Harper Intermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Fiona Stechmann

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Trail Information






Mt Somers Village

Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Intermediate - Experienced

Not Suitable (Slow)
4:30 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)



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From Lake Camp start along the track that is signposted towards Lake Emma. Follow this cross the stile and continue until you cross the obvious riverbed that may or may not be dry.

Soon after crossing the riverbed take the righthand turn onto the well formed but unmarked track that heads up towards Balmacaan Saddle. Continue to follow this trail till you start to climb up to the saddle when the trail runs out. From here you head up to the saddle, you can follow the fence line but the vegetation is easier to negotiate slightly further to the left - you are pretty much just looking for animal trails to find the easiest way up.

Once you reach the saddle you then follow the ridge to the right up towards pt1658. From here stay on the ridge up to Mt Harper. There are lots of options for descending - look at the spurs that you pass on the way up to get a good idea of which one you want to come down as some of them are quite steep. The one followed by this route is good travel and only one small section of spaniard and matagouri, but easily negotiable. To access this from Mt Harper continue north towards pt 1506 then west on the first obvious but narrow spur between the two stream valley. Stay on the spur all the way back down to the track along Balmacaan Stream and then go back the way you came.

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Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 60%

Easy Single Track: 40%

Route Data


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I did it!
  • Access

    Drive along the Haketere Potts Road to the Lake camp turn off. Drive along the 4WD track next to Lake Camp until you see the track that says 'to Lake Emma'
    Do not take the road to Lake Emma that is before you get to Lake Camp.

    Lots of parking by Lake Camp, Toilets available next to Lake Camp or slightly further up the main road towards Lake Clearwater.

    33 km

    34 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Do not attempt unless you have good navigation skills, especially if there's anything but perfect visibility.

    Very patchy.

    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, 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, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.

    None once you leave Balmacaan Stream

    Snow is possible year round but likely in winter. This route is very exposed from all directions. Low cloud or fog could make navigation quite difficult so good map and compass skills are important.

    Lost of Spaniard and Matagouri.

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