Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Mt Pisa via Tinwald Burn Ridge

Cromwell, Otago

Submitted by Deo Encarnacion

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 40 ?

Gnarl Factor: 23 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back


Open farmlands

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -13.8%


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Estimated Times to Run







It's a slow grind to the top on the Tinwald Burn Ridge Track - 10kms and 1500m elevation gain. Once you hit the main ridge turn right and enjoy the more gentle gradient to the summit of Pisa itself. Enjoy the scramble up the summit rocks, drink in the amazing views, then re-trace your route back down.

This trail includes the peak Mount Pisa .

Stunning & expansive views. On a clear day, you'll see Lake Dunstan and Lake Wanaka.

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Once you start following the DoC signs you're on farm tracks. These will be possible in a 2WD in dry conditions but in wet conditions you'll want a 4WD to be sure.

23 km

25 minutes




On your descent watch out for the turn back on to the Tinwald Burn Ridge Track off the main ridge as it's not signposted. There is a DoC sign that says "Mt Pisa Station Car Park 7km" (which is rubbish - it's 10.5k!) and about 400 metres past this you'll hit the junction down to the car park (the same way you came up.) It could be easily missed, especially in low visibility.

Generally good.

Lightweight fleece top, 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

There are a few flowing streams that cross the track near the plateau (approx 7 - 8 kms from start). Make sure you're in the Pisa Conservation Area to avoid water being contaminated by farm animals. Best bet is to carry your own as these sources can't be relied on all year round.

Always plan ahead and prepare for changes in weather. Visibility may be a concern at any time the year. Exposed to the elements, meaning it can be anything from brutally hot to brutally cold - go prepared!

Sudden changes in the weather.

Trail Legend

Paul Wieland

Paul Wieland

has completed Mt Pisa via Tinwald Burn Ridge once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Just FYI: it says on the DOC website that you can't make it to the carpark of the track because of a hole in the road and you should park outside. The cherry farmers fixed it however, so you can pass. I would still avoid it if you're in a big vehicle like a big (camper)van as it can get a bit slippery.
Other than that: big grunt to the top, I did it in May and enjoyed high cloud + beautiful autumn colours in the vineyards and around the lake. I imagine it can get extremely hot in summer (no shade at all). It's mostly a 4WD track to the top and heaps of other tracks you can link on to from there. You can see Mount Aspiring, incredible!

Vee (Veerle) Geens

April 21, 2023

Yes, it is a grunt, but the views around every corner make it easy. I did not turn around at the top but continued on the 4 wheel drive onto Kirtle Burn and across the range to the Snowfarm. A great alternative if you want to avoid the long down hill. Amazing views of Mt Aspiring from the top.

Inge Bahle

May 4, 2019

It is a grunt up, but well worth it and new views around every corner makes the ascent easier. Instead of turning around at the top, I ran along the 4 wheel drive towards Kirtle Burn and from there to the Snowfarm - a total of 22 km. This is a great run in spring/summer/autumn (when the Snowfarm is not in full operation) and you do want to avoid the long down hill. You will need a pick you up from the other end. Amazing views of Mt Aspiring all along the top.

Inge Bahle

May 4, 2019

It’s a great grunt up for sure. Awesome farmland. Probably hard on the knees coming back down same way. But great outting.

Kendra Breen

July 6, 2018

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