Flat Top Hill v2Beginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Front country - easily accessible
Undulating, some big hills
RiversideLakesideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
From the main carpark (where the signboard is), follow the trail along the lake to the left and over the Dam. Just up the hill after the dam is a track sign, you are heading left onto Basin View Track, keep following the orange markers (the blue ones are mtb) until around the 2km mark where you will come to another sign. You are taking Rock of Doom Track (we are Wild Things after all).... this section is quite a technical downhill with lots of flat schist rocks that are largely ok when dry but can be treacherous when wet.
In most cases where there is a large downhill rock, there is also a smaller 'substitute' route. There is one place in particular the trail appears to peter out, but a bit of checking and it continues to the right. The secret is that unless you are a mountain goat, take your time. Eventually this will drop you onto the Roxburgh Gorge Cyle Trail for just over 3km of smooth manicured trail. Make the most of it, because just over the 3km on the nice trail you will come to the sign for Davis Bend.
Here you follow the arrow for Flat Top Hill and start climbing. Several times you will think the crest of the hill is just ahead, only to find it climbs further once you get there. Eventually though you will reach the top having climbed about 395m vert in 2.4km. Once on top veer right and look for the orange pole on your left, just after that there is a grass path off to the left that leads you too another sign-board. Follow the walking trail and keep an eye out for Over Thyme Track, this is a lovely wee single trail that winds down the hill and joins Basin View Track. From there you can see the finish, just follow Basin View Track back to the start point and relax!
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Features of interest
Lots... firstly Butchers Gully Dam which is pretty cool, then some great views from above and beside the Clutha River. Once you get higher you get amazing rock formations and views of the surrounding snow covered hills and the whole Clutha Valley... very special.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 20%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Easy Single Track: 30%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 25%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
Flat Top Hill Conservation area is just over 6km South of the big bridge in downtown Alexandra.
Plenty of carparking
Take this guide, either as a pdf on your phone or printed. Also you can use TrailForks app which will show you the trails and where you are on them.
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.
Other than the start and finish at the lake, you don't really get close enough to any water to use it.
It had rained most of the week before I visited and the trails were great, a couple of slightly sticky bits, but nothing to worry about. After a good snow storm you would find large parts of the upper trails under snow.
Slippery and unstable rocks... be very careful, especially on downhills.
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