Last Updated: 15th Apr 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Sentinel Peak

Lake Hawea, Otago

Submitted by Isaac Walker

Last Updated: 15th Apr 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 50 ?

Gnarl Factor: 84 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back


Dog Friendly

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +25.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -25.0%


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Estimated Times to Run







Start at the Sawyer Burn Track sign just after the gated entrance to Kidds Bush Campsite. You start up immediately and zig-zag your way up to above the bush line. Once above the bushline you will come to a track intersection - where you either follow the ridge straight up or turn right towards Sawyer Burn Hut. While you can access Sentinel Peak either way the ridgeline straight ahead provides a more scenic and spectacular route - not to mention quicker.

Head straight up that ridge and follow it all the way on the pretty well worn track. Follow the ridge as far as you can, when you come to ridge that seems impassable in front of you sidle around to the right. The track is still pretty clear here. Don't turn left and head up the hill until you have gone around a couple of blind corners. If the trail starts to disappear then you have gone too far. Follow a steep scrambly track straight up the hill up a small gully to the left, once at the top follow the ridge again and you will see a clear track.

Stick to this ridgeline now the entire way to Sentinel Peak which you should get a glimpse of before long. Some sections are a little sketchy to go straight over so sidle around to the sides where necessary. As you approach Sentinel Peak it may seem like you could never get up there - however trust your gut and head up the 2nd 'chute' along from the right hand side of the final ridge. This scree/rocky chute looks a lot more scary than it is and is heaps of fun coming down. Once at the top of the chute turn left, follow the ridge and you will see the summit in front of you!

This trail includes the peak Sentinel Peak.

Amazing views as soon as you come out of the bushline. Open ridgelines offer gorgeous running. The 'chute' just below the summit is very gnarly!

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Parking at Kidds Bush Campsite, usually right beside start of trail.

30 km

30 minutes


Name: DOC & Hunter Valley Station
Telephone: Please call Hunter Valley Station (Digby or Hannah) on 03 443 1242 to ask for permission.


Trust your gut. If it gets too gnarly or sketchy then it's probably the wrong way. Follow the existing trails and you will be fine. No need to take any unecessary risks!


Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, 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, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters

None unless snow melt has pooled in small tarns.

Definitely not in winter or when there is snow on the ground. Summer route only!

Navigation. Steep slopes. Loose rocks. Slippery tussock and grass.

Sailz Cafe
Good local wholesome food with great coffee.

Trail Legend

Tanya Bottomley

Tanya Bottomley

has completed Sentinel Peak once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Did this NY eve 2022. Definitely some route finding required when you need to find your way around a couple of bluffs and scramble up to the gully about 1/2 way up. For the most part though, if there's not even a faint sign of a track, you're probably off course. Recommend loading up a GPX file if not confident. The actual peak doesn't become apparent until quite a way up as it's hidden for a large portion. I took the middle shute on the final scramble and it still had a decent slab of snow even in late December. Was easy enough to go around, but the schist was very mushy/damp still. Took the far left shute coming down, much of a muchness I'd say. Incredible views from the top (and most of the way really). Take plenty of water and food, ideally done on a calm day. Recommended, just don't hang around too long at Kidds Bush (sandflies!).

Stephen Brown

January 8, 2023

Much better than the way up from the hut! Surprisingly well-formed track a lot of the way.

Sierra Alef-Defoe

February 6, 2022

Great spot! Take a heap of water for the direct ridgeline route. Just below the summit, the 3rd chute along from the right hand side of the final ridge also works (although the 2nd chute is friendlier to descend).

Heidi Baillie

February 8, 2021

This one is really well worth it. The views are just superb. I would recommend using GPS for less experienced runners, hikers.

Martin Trvaj

August 3, 2019

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