Last Updated: 14th May 2024


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I've done it Done

Mt Watson Croesus Loop

Blackball, West Coast

Submitted by Katie Smith

Last Updated: 14th May 2024


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 53 ?

Gnarl Factor: 68 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote


Very hilly

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Untracked / Route only

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Start from the Croesus track end. Within the first 50m of the track there is a signed turn-off on the left to the Mt Watson route - follow this. The first 3-4km climbs steeply through native bush before breaking out into tussock just before the Mt Watson trig and summit. From here on a clear day the views start to unfold.

Follow the route along an undulating ridgeline for the next 6km - it is poled, occasionally overgrown but in good visibility very easy to follow. Eventually you reach a better benched track cut into the slope. From here the track does a tight dogleg back to the left, with the main Croesus track visible below you. You can either cut steeply down offtrack to it, or follow the dogleg back left then right to join it.

From here the track is much wider and well-benched, with old mining stone culverts. Ces Clarke huts (historic and newer) provide a good rest and water stop at around the 12km mark, then the track continues on a steady gradient downwards back into native bush. There are a couple of short detours to mining relics which are worth looking at, then a few bridged river crossings before a final short climb back to the carpark.

This trail includes the peaks Croesus Knob and Mount Leitch.

Old and current mine workings visible, blue duck sometimes seen

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No public transport. Lots of parking

6 km

10 minutes




Good visibility needed for the tops travel - poles are quite spaced out and the track overgrown in some places


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

Available at Ces Clarke hut and from creeks after this - water scarce for first 12km

Exposed to West Coast weather at any time of year, snow on tops during the winter.

Formerly the Blackball Hilton
Interesting old pub with good food

Blackball Salami Company
Worth a stop to stock up on delicious salami, black pudding, bacon, sausages or any other butcher's goods!

Trail Legend

Mike McManaway

Mike McManaway

has completed Mt Watson Croesus Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Love it!!

Raisa Joensuu

October 8, 2022

Awesome tops travel. Steady grunt up to Mt Watson followed by a well marked and trodden route to Croesus knob where the runnable trail starts. Worth stopping at the Blackball Hilton for lunch, I recommend the enormous bangers and mash for your recovery meal

Tom Brennan

April 18, 2022

Tired Legs, Happy Heart ❤️ Even on an overcast day this loop was sensational!!! A relatively easy, if a bit steep, climb to the summit. A bit of rock climbing, crevasse hopping, route pondering through the middle section. Followed by a glorious downhill all the way to the finish (well almost!)

Lauren Mai Anderson

December 12, 2021

Outstanding! Chose the right day for it, albeit a bit windy on the tops. Not much running to be had on the way up to Mt Watson but the ridgeline from there to Croesus is sensational - pretty technical running on a poled route with very little actual trail until you near the Croesus end. One for the connoisseur & lover of gnarl! I took the wee diversion over Croesus Knob itself - well worth it for the views. The long run out on what is now part of the Paparoa Great Walk is dreamy downhill (apart from the killer up at the end!) Love it, love it, love it!

Malcolm Law

November 10, 2020

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