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blue Sawpit Gully Loop

  4.2 ( 11 ) Favorite


4.4 mile 7.2 kilometer loop


Ascent: 1,097' 334 m
Descent: -1,095' -334 m
High: 2,283' 696 m
Low: 1,300' 396 m


Avg Grade: 9% (5°)
Max Grade: 58% (30°)


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Trail shared by Almonzo Wilder


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A beautiful and varied loop above Arrowtown.

Almonzo Wilder

Features Fall Colors · River/Creek · Views


Numerous trails fan out from Arrowtown, and the Sawpit Gully Loop is one of the best. This hike delivers great views of the Arrow River, gorgeous panoramas from an open saddle, and spectacular fall color in a beautiful larch forest.


The Sawpit Gully Loop starts from the carpark near the Chinese Settlement in Arrowtown. Look for a footbridge that crosses the small creek, and then signs pointing the way to Sawpit Gully. The loop can be done in either direction, but a counter-clockwise route is described here.

The trail begins by following the Arrow River upstream with increasingly good views of the gorge below. As the trail climbs high above the river, a signed intersection points uphill to continue up Sawpit Gully, with the other option staying along the river toward the Macetown 4WD road.

Heading uphill, the trail gets much steeper as it climbs into the gully. In wet conditions, numerous crossings of the small creek are necessary. The climb continues into open, grassy country to the saddle between German Hill (which can be climbed via a short side trail) and craggy Brow Peak. Views from here are spectacular, encompassing Lake Hayes and The Remarkables to the south.

From the saddle, the trail heads downhill past the signed junction with the Big Hill Trail and through patches of native forest and exotic larch plantings. In autumn the larch take on a brilliant golden color, and makes Arrowtown have one of the better autumn leaf spectacles in all of New Zealand. The route continues downhill toward Arrowtown on a sometimes steep but well-formed trail. After the intersection with the Bush Creek Trail, follow the dirt two-track along the valley floor back to the carpark.

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Apr 23, 2019
James King
Some stellar views and especially in autumn the birch forrest is amazing. Steep in parts but for the most part easy with a few streams to cross. 5.6mi — 3h 56m
Feb 22, 2019
Kate Veep
Jan 19, 2019
Tika Tik
Dec 9, 2018
Clémence Roult
Dec 1, 2018
Russell Bader
Great trail! Make sure you go up the trail past the bench to the peak - about an extra hour but totally worth the 360 pano view! 6mi
May 18, 2018
Mallorie Nuttall
Apr 5, 2018
Marcus Funk
Apr 2, 2018
Jeffrey Dunham

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 11 votes


in Arrowtown


  4.2 from 11 votes
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