Last Updated: 17th Nov 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Mt Owen via Granity Pass

Tapawera, Tasman

Submitted by Mike Steel

Last Updated: 17th Nov 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 66 ?

Gnarl Factor: 79 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops


Run Makeup


Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +117.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -18.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







The exit from the 'Mines of Moria' (where Gandalf fell into darkness), and the highest point in Kaharangi National Park, Mt Owen is a spectacular high limestone landscape with sweeping views on a clear day. Most easily approached from Courthouse Flat to the north. A marked track/route the whole way, making for pleasant and varied running.

Cross the bridge and head up either the stream or the ridge following a well-marked track. A short steep descent (`the staircase') drops you down into an eerie forest, a dry stream bed and eventually Granity Pass Hut. From here follow ground trails and markers up across a low pass, where you see Mt Owen for the first time straight ahead. A trail leads down past the tarns then up along and up the fissured limestone bluffs to the broad summit. The true summit is east (remains of a trig) and if you look closely you will see a large sleeping dragon curled up below you to the east. Return the same way (with the choice of the two tracks at the end).

This trail includes the peak Mount Owen.

Interesting geography and bush, quite unique. The cast features on Mt Owen are particularly amazing - like walking on a heavily crevassed glacier, but of rock rather than ice.

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 parking at Courthouse Flat. Seems safe parking, and far from the road.

34 km

44 minutes




Although it's tracked, make sure you have a topomap and compass. Note where the trail enters and exits the dry streambed in a section below the hut so you are confident of following this on the return. In fine weather, there's no issue navigating the route from Granity Pass to Mt Owen (and there is a trail and cairns) but if cloud comes in take more care with navigating this section.


Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map

Water at hut and various streams along the way

Will be under snow in winter.

Watch your footing on Mt Owen - the rock is grippy and it's not difficult, but take care not to disappear down a crevasse while you're gazing at the scenery.

Trail Legend

Raisa Joensuu

Raisa Joensuu

has completed Mt Owen via Granity Pass once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Ridge track is all clear and perfect for winter climbing! An excellent weather window is essential for this one due to the remote location and potentially treacherous access [Dart River ford] Well worth the effort for the uniquely stunning landscape and bonus whio sightings:)

Rach Vell

July 4, 2023

Some of the most phenomenal scenery I’ve ever seen. It’s indescribable. You just have to do this trail to fully appreciate it.

Lauren Mai Anderson

April 23, 2022

Brilliant route and views. I would suggest going up the blue creek way as the bottom of the ridge track is extremely overgrown for the first km (Dec 2021). The ridge is also very hot in summer. Stock up on water at the hut as it’s really the only place on the trail where water is available. Also, add 25% to all of the suggested times - as an indication the fastest return time on Strava is 4hrs 45min!

Daniel Parkinson

December 24, 2021

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