Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Quest for Mt Richmond

Blenheim, Marlborough

Submitted by Philip Taylor

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 68 ?

Gnarl Factor: 80 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)


Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -14.8%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the car park take the Timms Creek track along the side of the river. The track has plenty of tree roots and steep ups and downs including numerous stream crossings and is technical underfoot. After 5.1km cross over the river. This is a substantial river crossing, about knee high (depending on river flow of course).

Once over the river the ascent starts. Climb out of the river onto a spur and up a prominent ridge keeping an eye out for the orange triangles that lead the way up to Mt Fell Hut. The vertical gain is around 1000m over 5km so take your time, no need to burn yourself out. Once the hut is in view, carry on past the hut, keeping the hut on your immediate left and the track goes out the back of the hut and then around to the left to pop out of the trees and onto the tops. In good visibility once out of the bush cover you will be able to see Mt Fell on your right and both Johnston Peak and in the distance our objective Mt Richmond to your left.

Carry on up to the main ridge, take a left at the signage and take the pencil trails, rock gardens, boulders and tussock leading along the ridge following the warratahs, cairns and orange triangles for about 1.5km until you get to a saddle with Johnston peak in front of you. Note - There is a rock cave bivvy at 13km if desperate. Once near Johnston Peak the track veers right. At this stage the summit of Mt Richmond is 300-400m above you and the markers show the way up to the summit. Hop over a rock garden and over a tussock saddle to commence the final steep climb.

Keep going and once your thighs start complaining you're almost at the top! Stick at it for the final push and then celebrate at being at the highest point in the Richmond Range!

Now for the descent - follow the ridge line down and away from the summit for about 0.5km keeping an eye out for the markers that point to a track that descends steeply down a scree face. This is perhaps the most hazardous part of the course. If in doubt lower your centre of gravity and slide down on your backside! Airing on the side of caution for roughly 400m vertical descent will bring your down safely to Mt Richmond Saddle Hut, just below the bush line.

The down hill is tantalisingly close. First, however, there is still about 2km of undulations, technical sidling and staccato style running before gaining the main ridge downwards. Once stood in a rocky clearing with expansive views of Mt Richmond to your left, this is where the real fun downhill starts! Let gravity assist your descent but you still need to stay agile and light on your feet as it's sometimes steep and mostly technical bush running. After 4km you exit the bush and out onto a well formed 4x4 access road - a welcomed change in terrain after the few hours that have just passed by!! This is where the DOC trail has ended and we are now on a public road open to vehicles and other park users so be aware. Take this road all the way downhill for about 3.5km enjoying the pace and easier running all the way to another substantial river crossing to finish on the far side of the river bed.

This trail includes the peak Mount Richmond.

Two huts to be bagged en-route and for those who make time, you can search for the remains of a twin-engine Lockheed Electra aeroplane, the Kereru, that crashed into Johnston Peak in 1942. There's also a memorial plaque.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

It might pay to travel in two cars and drop one off at the end of the trail so that when you're finished you can drive the 17km road back to the start. Either that or drop some push bikes off or rely solely on getting a hitch - but be warned that it is a quiet road!

51 km

58 minutes




It is only really across the tops that route finding will become an issue. However, it is very well marked but could be a problem in poor visibility. Both Timms Creek and Richmond Saddle Routes are easier to navigate.


Waterproof 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 blanket, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions)

There are two huts en-route but no toilets or facilities at the trail heads other than a place to park your car.

The two river crossings at both ends of the trail could run high after heavy rain fall. Subject to cold winds on the tops any time of year. The trail can be laden with snow and ice depending on the time of year.

Wet, slippy rocks along Timms Creek. A steep scree face descent off Mt Richmond. Low hanging trees down Richmond Saddle Route.

Moa Brewery
258 Jacksons Road
40km from the trailhead!! You can sit outside and see Mt Richmond from the beer garden.

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Trail Reviews

The views on a clear day from the top of Mt Richmond are just superb! I did it the opposite way, but the way as described would be much better. The track along Timms Creek is fast and runnable for most of the first 5km, but as you get further up several large slips from the 2021 floods often require a rough detour and add to the time. After the stream crossing at 5km, the track up to Fell hut is quite rough and slow. From Fell hut the markers and trail are often quite thin on the ground, so be aware of this in misty conditions. The trail from Richmond saddle hut is pretty good and mostly runnable.

A high clearance car can easily cross the Top Valley Stream in normal flows, if you wish to cut 3.5km of forestry road off this trip.

I would say that the suggested times are a bit ambitious. On Wild Things I’m almost always somewhere between the fast and moderate times, but this one took me around 6.5hrs (although it was slower the direction I did it and the slips have occurred since this route was submitted, and these probably add a good 15mins to the route.

Daniel Parkinson

January 1, 2022

Awesome run with fantastic views over the whole of the Richmond ranges (on a good day!) finishing with probably one of the best downhill sections I've ever run! Great day out :)

Katie Wright

November 4, 2018

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