Last Updated: 13th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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Speargrass - Robert Ridge

St. Arnaud, Tasman

Submitted by Malcolm Law

Last Updated: 13th Jun 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 54 ?

Gnarl Factor: 76 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote



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: +12.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -12.8%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the car park follow the Speargrass Track as it makes its roots, rocky way through beech forest down to Speargrass Creek, which it follows closely for a short while before climbing away and eventually back down to cross it at about the 6.5k mark. This crossing is made on a footbridge and immediately on the other side turn left, following the sign for the Speargrass - Angelus Route.

You are now on a very sketchy trail heading south. At first it can be quite hard to follow through the bush so keep a sharp eye out for red triangles marking the way. As you get higher and the bush thins it gets easier to follow but the going remains rough and the obvious route is, in places, washed out. There are frequent stream crossings but eventually the poled route leaves the creek bed heading right and uphill towards the Robert Ridge.

Eventually you'll top out on the main ridge and start drinking in the views. Turn left (north) rather than right towards Angelus Hut. the next few kms are spectacular but very technical, involving boulder hopping and requiring a decent head for heights. Eventually though the going eases and the trail starts its steady descent towards the north.

Stay on the ridge all the way past the ski club shelter (don't go right to Bushline Hut) and soon the trail re-enters the beech forest and starts it's zigzagging descent back to the car park. This final 2.5k is the fastest running of the day and is a classic downhill romp - enjoy!

This trail includes the peaks Mount Robert and Julius Summit.

Stunning views east to the Kaikoura Range and west towards Kahurangi NP from all along the Robert Ridge - one of the truly great ridge runs of the world in my opinion!

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Plenty of safe parking & information board and toilets

7 km

12 minutes




Much of this run follows a poled route & it pays to keep a sharp eye out for the next marker - could be tricky in poor visibility so map & compass skills are a handy backup.

Very patchy.

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

Stacks of water available from streams that you cross on the Speargrass Track and up the lower part of Speargrass Creek. But make sure to fill up from the creek before the poled route leaves it and strikes out for Robert Ridge as there is NO more water available past this point and you have a LONG way to go still!

Speargrass Track can be very muddy and slippery after rain.
Robert Ridge is very exposed and in winter conditions can be lethal. If there's snow on the tops (or forecasted) do NOT attempt this route unless you are very experienced with, and equipped for, serious winter conditions.

The first section of the Robert Ridge is gnarly in any conditions - lots of boulder hopping and exposure. Watch your footing and take your time. In winter the whole of the ridge is very exposed with ice & snow making it treachorous.

Alpine Lodge
St Arnaud
Very convivial bar/restaurant, especially on a cold day when the open fire is roaring. Great food, beer & coffee. Wonderful (and entertaining!) hospitality from your hosts Leighton & Alex. Wonderful place - recommend staying a night or two and exploring the area.

Trail Legend

Brad  Rivers

Brad Rivers

has completed Speargrass - Robert Ridge once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Still touched by snow in mid October so more trail hiking than trail running but so stunning.

Mike McManaway

October 17, 2022

I just don’t have the words. Truly, truly epic. It can’t get much better than this!

Joe Benbow

April 23, 2022

Most incredible trail I have ever run

Alex Radford

January 1, 2022

If you want to beat my time, do it in summer! So much snow in the winter but what a trail, absolutely beautiful to run.

Campbell Jackson-Mee

June 23, 2020

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