Last Updated: 25th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Dumb-bell Lake Loop

Twizel, Canterbury

Submitted by Tom Torok

Last Updated: 25th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 62 ?

Gnarl Factor: 80 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible



Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +14.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -17.3%


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Estimated Times to Run







From Parsons Creek car park take trail to A2O, follow this for a few kms to Freehold Creek, take signed trail up creek which is part of Te Araroa trail and is beautiful.

Once above tree line, a well cairned route that veers right (dont follow Te Araroa) will show way to the ridge. From here take a path of least resistance over a couple rolling basins and tarns until you are above Dumb-bell Lake. I dropped down to the lake for a drink (you could also stay on the ridge), pass on western side and continue up into steep basin behind Mt.Sutton.

Climb scree slope that looks friendliest and cross the wide saddle that separates you from Ohau skifield. Drop into skifield using whatever slope looks best heading for base station. From here I take the old ski field road which is a bit eroded but more fun and is a more direct line in the gut of the valley. Once out the bottom take A2O back to Parsons Creek car park or more interestingly follow vague trails across Ohau "front country" till you get to Parsons. Job done

Running up Freehold stream, taking ridge line and descending onto pristine Dumb-bell lake, climbing out of climbing cirque behind Mt.Sutton, sidling it and dropping into Ohau skifield. Utilising A2O once down at lake level.

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Free parking

34 km

26 minutes




Above freehold tree line, take cairned route to right, don't follow Te Araroa

Very patchy.

Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Freehold creek, tarns up top, Dumb bell lake, stream below Mt. Sutton, I wouldn't drink below skifield

Snow in winter, issues with avalanche, navigation on ridge in white out

Large boulders sometimes unstable

You and Dumb-bell Lake Loop

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Trail Reviews

A great run. A nice mix of terrain. The trail up to the ridge is poled and has a worn trail so is easy to follow. Navigation is simple along the ridge but you'd want a fine day. Lots of tarns and it was way more spectacular than I had anticipated. I also just took the ski field road down- the views were pretty good. The 'shortcut' tracks at the bottom were a bit vague and in summer there's a lot of bracken and vegetation so it's probably quicker just to follow the A20/ marked trails back.

Daniel Parkinson

December 16, 2023

Great place to run. It lives up to the grunt factor! I'm not sure if I followed the route description completely so not sure if it will get registered. Got a little confused where the old Ohau road was so just took the main route back down.

So many things to see up there.

Remember to stop by the cups at the end of the Freehold Bush track. Good place to resupply water and have a nice break before the real work starts.

Great day!

Karati Metcalfe

December 31, 2020

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