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Little Criffel from the Larches, Otago

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Little Criffel from the LarchesBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Isaac Walker

Info Info
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Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands

Beginner - Intermediate

4:00 (Slow)
3:00 (Moderate)
2:00 (Fast)



The track is closed for lambing from the 10th October to 10th November annually. You are also required to cross the Cardrona River and in times of high flows this maybe too dangerous.

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From the Larches carpark cross the stile and follow the orange poles. You will follow the main road for half a km or so then make a left turn towards the river. When approaching the river I simply found the best route across - poles are handy when crossing. Aim for the small valley and you should see another stile and DOC triangles. Follow the triangles and poles and signage all the way to the trig point at the top of Little Criffel. You will cross through a transition of kanuka, matagouri and broom into open tussock on the top of the Pisa Conservation Area. On a clear day you will get amazing views down to Wanaka and through to the Southern Alps.

Return the same way.

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Features of interest

Great views over Wanaka. A great perspective of the Pisa Conservation Area and just how big it is.

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 10%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 80%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The Larches DOC carpark is around 9.5km from Wanaka in the Cardrona Valley. It is well signposted.

    Plenty of parking in the carpark which is beside the main road.

    8 km

    6 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Keep your eyes up after the river crossing and make sure you spot the DOC signage. There is one turn halfway up the ascent where it looks as though you could go right - keep to the grassy 4wd track and follow it around up to the left.

    Generally good.

    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 at all really - unless streams are running after a good rain. Take all water to be safe.

    Snow and ice will be present during winter and the tops may be difficult to traverse. Snow shoes maybe? After heavy rain the Cardrona River will also be too dangerous to cross.

    The odd wild pig.

  • Post run indulgence

    Urban Grind
    Wanaka, Ardmore St
    Great tapas style food, good beer and coffee.

    Cardrona Hotel
    Cardrona Valley
    Simply a classic.

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