Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

The Emily Escapade

Mt Somers Village, Canterbury

Submitted by Emily Oliver

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 27

Gnarl Factor: 7








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, small hills only


Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +2.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -3.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







A non-technical, mostly downhill rampage down the Stour River valley via Emily Hill and Lake Emily.

Starting at Lake Heron Car Park, take the 4WD track around the lake for about 2.5 km, then a well-trodden single track leads you into the valley until you get to the signposted junction with the Te Araroa Track. Turn right and follow the track, crossing the swift-flowing Swinn River north branch (seldom an issue but take care if there's been a lot of rain). Pass the turn-off to Double Hut (1 km up a side trail), then cross the south branch of the Swinn.

You're running down a valley between the Longman Range and Mt Somers Range, passing a couple of small lakes on your right. At about 13 km from the start, you'll come to the turn-off to Manuka Hut - this is only 500 m from the main track and worth a visit, especially if you need to restock water (the stream just before the hut is considered safe).

Continue south until the Te Araroa turns off to the right, with a mountain bike link track going straight ahead. Pop over Emily Hill for a great view of the valley you've just run down. Down the other side of Emily Hill, you'll find Lake Emily on your right, before meeting a 4WD track. Take this south and it turns into the Stour River Track, which you follow all the way down the valley and out to the Stour River car park.

With the gentle downhill gradient this can be good fast running, with a few crossings of the Stour thrown in to cool down on a hot day.

The track follows the Stour River, which is carving its way through rhyolite bedrock, formed during volcanic eruptions. The rhyolite makes a rich soil, which supports a wide range of plants. You will see bright green patches of broadleaf/kāpuka, while the dull green, deciduous trees are mountain ribbonwood/houhi. Mountain beech/tawhairauriki is also here.

39 km

45 minutes





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, Cellphone, Map.

The best place to get water is the stream just before Manuka Hut. While you do cross the Stour a couple of times in the later section, drinking from this is not advised without putting it through a good filter.

Likely to get pretty muddy in the wetter months.

If you go off track, watch out for live ammunition. This land was once used for army training, and there may still be live ammunition lying around. If you see any suspicious items, do not handle them. If possible, note the location and inform the police as soon as possible.

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Trail Reviews

Picturesque location for a midwinter Runventure on a very frosty morning, many sections of Trail have been washed out & damaged by recent heavy rains & flooding especially the lower section heading into the Stour Gorge down to the bridge, still manageable and able to navigate your way across & around the washouts. I'll be back 😁

Steve Anderson

July 16, 2021

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