Last Updated: 19th Jan 2024


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Mt St Bathans Loop

St. Bathans, Otago

Submitted by Isaac Walker

Last Updated: 19th Jan 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 55 ?

Gnarl Factor: 46 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Farm Road / 4WD Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +9.5%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.5%


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Estimated Times to Run







The road to Homestead Conservation Campsite has 1 main ford to cross (sometimes more depending on weather). The ford is usually just under knee deep so most 4wd vehicles will pass with no trouble. Worst case scenario you can park up and run from the ford as it is only and extra couple of kms. From the campsite run back down the road about 1 km to the DOC Oteake Conservation Area sign and follow the 4wd track up to the right. Here it is simple follow the 4wd track until it disappears. From there follow the ridgelines up to the main St Bathans Range ridge and turn right, follow the main ridge up the the little weather station hut which marks the summit of Mt St Bathans. From here you turn right again and head back down the ridge towards the West Manuherikia Valley. You should be able to pickup rocky 4wd track pretty easily - this is what you follow most of the way down. There are different 4wd tracks heading down but they all end up meeting up and heading he same direction. Once at the bottom turn right down the valley and you should see Boundary Creek Hut - great spot for a break. Ahead of you lies 12 river crossings (very cold feet after snow melt) over around a distance of 8km. It is a gorgeous valley run as it hugs and crosses the river on 4wd tracks. After 7-8km you should see a sign for the Homestead Track - take this to the right and 1.5km later you will back at Homestead Campsite!

This trail includes the peak Mount St Bathans.

Views, views views!!!! Boundary Creek Hut (historic), 12 river crossings, rare alpine flowers (alpine tulip), moonscape type terrain

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Plenty of parking at the campsite

18 km

28 minutes




Check out maps prior to this run as there is some navigation required - more so following the correct rideglines. As long as you don't take a major left turn anywhere then you will be fine! Unless you are doing a reverse loop.


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)

No water until the 24th km.

Access road will be very muddy and sometimes impassable after heavy rain. In heavy snow conditions route will be also impassable.

Be careful of the 12 river crossings in higher river levels.

The Vulcan Hotel
St Bathans
Ghostly good grub! And beer!

Stationside Cafe
Open only during warmer months this is a brilliant place to get a great coffee, meal and good old fashioned hospitality.

You and Mt St Bathans Loop

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Trail Reviews

Believe the hype. Perhaps one of the best trail running loops in NZ. Huge views, tussock running, rock hopping scrambles and a beautiful river on the way out. Lots of rocky terain so sturdy ankles are helpful! Be prepared for wind and carry plenty of water. Proper back country so a PLB is a must. Would run this again in a heartbeat.

Mike Heydon

January 3

We had a perfect day for it with light high cloud and minimal wind. The gentle cool breeze was welcome on the uphill but I can imagine it could get bitterly cold up there in the wrong conditions. The route was very easy to find, pretty much all the way. That is not to say that it isn't extremely "gnarly". Walking poles come in handy, as much for the downhill as the up. The rocks in places are awkwardly sized and there are some spots where, if you take the direct downhill route rather than the zig-zagging vehicle track, you may find yourself contending with minor scree slides. Take plenty of water as there is none from as soon as you start to go up till you hit the valley floor again, some 22km later. All in all, a brilliant day out and I endorse what the others have said - those views from the top are just amazing.

Daniel Pettigrew

January 5, 2022

Agree with other reviews. Awesome day out there.

David Eldor

March 28, 2021

Whoever put this on wildthings deserves a medal. Epic views of Mt Cook and Mt Aspiring. Take snow worthy clothes for summit as cold even in summer.

Rachel Bridgewater

November 28, 2020

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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