Wild Things - New Zealand's trail running community
New Zealand's trail running community


don't have an account?

Kirwans Track Loop, West Coast

Trail Directory proudly supported by Further Faster

Update Your Header Picture

Kirwans Track LoopIntermediate

Submitted by Isaac Burwell

Info Info
Map Loading

Trail Information





West Coast


Back country - remote


Very hilly

Native bush
Open ridges/tops


7:00 (Slow)
5:00 (Moderate)
4:00 (Fast)



Long Term DOC alert:

Parts of Kirwans Track and Waitahu Valley closed. The track between Kirwans Capleston/Boatmans Track entrance through to Kirwans Hut is closed. This is due to extensive flood damage, including damage to the track, timber bridges and swing bridges.

This part of the track will remain closed until the track damage can be assessed and repaired.

Download PDF Guide

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Please set your gender to see your position on the FKT leaderboards.


There are currently no male FKTs for Kirwans Track Loop.


There are currently no female FKTs for Kirwans Track Loop.

Filter FKTs

The more , the harder the FKT will be to beat. Learn about Fastest Known Times.

Missing your time?

Register or login as a VIP and get yourself on the FKT leaderboard!

Register Now


From the carpark at Capleston at the end of Boatmans Road, the track heads off through farmland for a short 300m section. After 200m, a track heads off to the right, this is the track you'll come down at the very end to complete the loop. The track then enters the forest and follows a mostly well-formed and wide track up the valley. You pass some old mining relics, go through a tunnel and over a swing bridge in the first 3km.
The track climbs at a relatively gentle gradient up through the forest and the next track intersection isn't reached until the ~12km mark. Most of this uphill section can be run because the gradient allows it. At this intersection, a track leads off to Kirwans Hut, only ~500m away, which I would recommend going too. The hut is just at the bush line, so gives excellent views and also a source of water. Another track also heads off to Kirwans Hill (1297m), which is approximately 2.5 - 3km one way and the track becomes unmarked along the ridge - this is NOT included in the distance or profile for this route.
After returning to the main Kirwans Loop track, the track begins the drop down to the Montgomerie River. This section of track is much steeper than the uphill section and can be very slippery. You'll pass the Kirwans Reward Mine and the Lord Brassey Stamper Battery, the latter of which is definitely worth a stop for some pictures. Upon reaching the Montgomerie River at ~17.5km, the track flattens out, but the track itself is not as well formed. The track follows the Montgomerie River for 4km until the Montgomerie Hut is reached, which sits on the banks of the Waitahu River. The Montgomerie Hut is a small hut with no running water.
The track now follows a 4wd track down the Waitahu Valley - this 4wd track varies from very well-formed, to non-existent at times. Several sections have been washed out, so the track climbs up the valley sides to skirt around the washouts. The track markings remain very good. At ~29km, a track heads off to the left over a swing bridge over the Waitahu River. Don't follow that track - stay on the 4wd track. After ~34km, a very short section of sealed road is reached, and just before you reach the road bridge over the Waitahu River, a track heads off to the right. Take this track, which takes you back to Capleston and completes the loop. This track climbs very steeply until you enter a cleared forestry plantation. The track remains well demarcated through the forestry block, but care is required. The track then drops back down very steeply before joining up with the main Kirwans Track 200m from the carpark.

Trail Community

Find people who are interested in this run.

You must register or login to view this content.

Features of interest

Mine workings, tunnel, swing bridges

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 35%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 25%

Route Data


You must register or login to view this content.


You must register or login to view this content.

Your Trail Wishlist

All the runs that are on your To Do list (no limit).

Add to wishlist view wishlist

Your Trail Dreamlist

The runs you most want to do (limited to 10).

Add to dreamlist view dreamlist

Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Head north out of Reefton on SH69. Turn left at Cronadun onto Boatmans Rd (~11.5km out of Reefton). Follow Boatman Rd for ~6.5km to Capleston and a carpark at the end of the road. There are 2 gates which you may have to drive through.

    Good parking at the start of the track. No public transport options available.

    17 km

    20 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    There are very few intersections where errors could be made, however, particular care is required at the following spots:
    1. If you decide to go to Kirwans Hill as this track becomes unmarked on the ridgeline and is not included in the GPX file.
    2. In the cleared forestry plantation near the end of the loop. The track could become difficult to follow if maintenance is not kept up in this section.

    Very patchy.

    Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    There is water at Kirwans Hut and at various streams along the track. There is no water at Montgomerie Hut.

    Weather conditions can change very quickly at the top, particularly above the treeline, with it having the potential to become very cold very quickly. The downhill section to Montgomerie River is slippery, even in dry weather, and the uphill and downhill sections in the last 4km of the loop over to Capleston are boggy even in dry weather and are very slippery.

    Mainly the weather conditions. Weather at Kirwans Hut, or along the ridge to Kirwans Hill can be very different to that experienced inside the forest.

  • Post run indulgence

    Broadway Tearooms & Bakery
    31 Broadway, Reefton
    Decent cafe fare.

    Nana Ni's
    59 Broadway, Reefton
    Excellent pie's.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


Got a favourite trail? Tell us about it.

Share the love and add your favourite trail(s) to our growing trail directory.

Submit A Trail

Become a member today

Start enjoying the many benefits to becoming a member of our thriving community.

Become a member

Great brands at great prices with our VIP member's discount

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for latest offers and trail guides

Share this trail with a friend:

VIP Membership

Please register as a VIP or login to your VIP account to view this content.

Cancel Login Register

Membership Required

You can see up to three trail guides without being logged in but after that we require you to be logged in to your Free or VIP account. If you don’t yet have an account you can register here.

Login Register