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Dusky Trail, Canterbury

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Dusky TrailBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Jake Trinder

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open tussock/grasslands

Beginner - Intermediate

3:45 (Slow)
2:45 (Moderate)
1:45 (Fast)



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Follow the poled 4wd track until you reach 5.5km. Turn left through the gate to follow the sign towards Dusky Trail. You will then cross a river (can get high and fast with rain) with not too much in terms of markings or trail. Try as best you can to follow the 4wd track through the river and you should start to find poled markers again. If you havent seen poles 100 metres after the river, you've gone wrong.

At 7.7km, go over the gate into Ruataniwha Conservation Area. At 9km you will reach a junction and a sign, go left towards Dusky Trail.

At 14km, you will cross another small river and go through two gates in pretty quick succession. You should end up on the river side of the fence.

At 19.1km you will reach another gated junction, go through the gate and follow straight on towards Glen Lyon road via Dusky Trail.

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Make Up of Run

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Easy Single Track: 40%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 40%

Gravel Road: 10%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Sign for Ruataniwha Conservation Area straight off the Mt Cook Highway.

    Parking 20 metres from the main highway and a further car park 1km down a gravel road.

    10 km

    7 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    As noted in the directions, easy to lose trail at first river crossing. Keep an eye out for orange poles after river. If you go more than 100 metres from river with no poles, you've gone wrong.


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

    Streams/rivers to get water at 6km and 14km.

    River is around knee deep and moving very slow at its lowest, can get fast after rain.

  • Post run indulgence

    Hydro Cafe
    Market Square, Twizel
    Good coffee and Cafe food.

    Fishtail Restaurant
    Twizel Market Square
    Awesome Indian food if you fancy a feast!

  • Blog Posts and Articles
  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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