IntroductionThe Mount Somers Track provides a number of options, including for kids, for an overnight tramp with impressive rock formations, historic mines and stunning views. It links the popular Pinnacles and Woolshed Creek huts.
- Mount Somers Track runs from the Staveley carpark to the Woolshed Creek carpark along the northern side of Mount Somers. There are two huts on the track – Woolshed Creek and Pinnacles. The track is a two day tramp suitable for families.
- For an easy overnight tramp suitable for children do the return walk to Woolshed Creek Hut. The track into Pinnacles Hut is more physically demanding but is still suited for family or school groups.
- For a circuit trip to Woolshed Creek Hut, walk in on the Miners Track and out via Rhyolite Ridge Track.
- For a more challenging circuit, walk from Sharplin Falls carpark to Woolshed Creek Hut and return via the southern face of Mount Somers.
Sharplin Falls car park to Pinnacles Hut
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5.2 km
The track climbs steeply through mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki to Dukes Knob before following Bowyers Stream to Pinnacles Hut. Allow more time if your group is not use to tramping.
The hut is named after the rock formations on the northern face of Mount Somers, formed by the cooling of very hot sticky lava flows some 90 million years ago.
Pinnacles Hut to Woolshed Creek Hut
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 6.2 km
From the hut follow markers through tussock and subalpine scrub up to the Mount Somers saddle (1170 m). It's a steady climb to the saddle where views of the Taylor and Old Man ranges dominate the scenery.
On the descent towards Morgan Stream a sign indicates a short side-trip to view some interesting boulder features referred to as ‘caves’. Returning to the main track, follow the markers across Morgan Stream and Woolshed Creek to Woolshed Creek Hut.
Woolshed Creek Hut
From Woolshed Creek Hut, Woolshed Creek car park can be reached via Miners Track or Rhyolite Ridge Track.
Woolshed Creek Hut to Woolshed Creek car park via Miners Track
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 5 km
From Woolshed Creek Hut the track rises to a high point (trig R, 934 m) with superb views of the upper Ashburton Gorge, before descending to the old Blackburn Mine. The track then runs alongside the hand-built jig that transported coal from the Blackburn Mine to the railway wagons waiting below. At the bottom of the jig the track follows the route of the tramway to Woolshed Creek car park.
Time: 45 min
Distance: 1 km
This steep hill track branches off the Miners Track. It begins with a short walk through a small pocket of silver beech that escaped the fires that swept through Ashburton Gorge. The track then climbs steeply up to and through the tailings of the old Blackburn Mine.
Woolshed Creek Hut to Woolshed Creek car park via Rhyolite Ridge Track junction
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 4.6 km
The route takes in dynamic scenery with regenerating mountain beech forest/tawhairauriki within a landscape of waterfalls, deep icy pools and rocky tors. From the hut the route climbs some 500 metres to a local feature known as the Bus Stop Overhang. From here the track crosses the face of Mount Somers to link with Rhyolite Ridge Track (1 hr, 1.8 km), which follows a rocky ridge to Woolshed Creek car park.
Rhyolite Ridge Track junction to Mount Somers Summit Track junction
Time: 3 hr 30 min
Distance: 6 km
Passing around the southern face of Mount Somers through a mix of open grassland and forested catchments, this section of track eventually rises to its highest point (1080 m) at the junction of the Mount Somers Summit Track. Acland Shelter provides welcome shelter and rest after about 4 km (1 hour 30 minutes) from the junction.
Mount Somers Summit Track junction to Sharplin Falls car park
Time: 2 hr 30 min
Distance: 2.7 km
The final steep downhill section is through regenerating forest areas but is open enough to continue to provide interesting views to the east.
Understand if you are ready for the Mount Somers Track
Watch the NZ Mountain Safety Council’s walk-through video which takes you through how to prepare for this track. Including facilities, key decision points, hazards and typical conditions for the area.
Sharplin Falls carpark: It can be accessed from Sharplin Falls car park which is at the end of Flynns Road Staveley.
Woolshed Creek carpark: From Mount Somers township, follow Ashburton Gorge Road for approximately 10 km before turning right into Jig Road. Follow Jig Road to the end.
If you intend to walk only one way from Woolshed Creek car park and require vehicle transport, a local service is available - phone Marilyn Gray on +64 3 303 0809 before you start your trip.
- The Mt Somers area is an alpine environment and adverse weather can occur at any time of the year. Ensure you are well equipped and always check the latest information about facilities, tracks and local weather conditions.
- Use NZTopo50 map sheets BX19 and BX20.
- Wasps may be present in high numbers, particularly during summer. Consider carrying an antihistamine product and if you are allergic to stings, ensure you bring your medication.
Stay safe when crossing rivers
If you plan to cross unbridged rivers, know how to cross safely and be prepared for if you cannot cross.
Do not cross if the river is flooded, you cannot find safe entry and exit points or are unsure it’s safe. Turn back or wait for the river to drop - which often takes a few hours after rain.