Scout Track is a walking track that climbs from the head of Marsden Valley to the top of Barnicoat Range, connecting with Involution part way up. Known for being steep and a bit rough, Scout Track goes more or less straight up the side of the range, meaning the uphill gradient is unforgiving. Consequently, it is physically-demanding, and . Nonetheless, it provides an enjoyable challenge through beautiful native bush surrounds, and can be combined with other trails to provide a longer loop.
|Length: 2.4 km (from Marsden Valley Rd to top of range – includes some of Involution)||Time Required: 30-45 min going up|
|Trail Type: Tramping track||Uses: Walking|
|Physical Difficulty: Hard||Primary Direction: Uphill|
|Start Elevation: 150 m (Marsden Valley Rd) or 250 m (weir)||Finish Elevation: 715 m|
|Dog Access: Dogs are prohibited in Marsden Valley Conservation Reserve||Links to: Involution, Widdershins, Jenkins Hill Road|
|Length: 2.4 km (from Marsden Valley Rd to top of range – includes some of Involution)|
|Time Required: 30-45 min going up|
|Trail Type: Tramping track|
|Physical Difficulty: Hard|
|Primary Direction: Uphill|
|Start Elevation: 150 m (Marsden Valley Rd) or 250 m (weir)|
|Finish Elevation: 715 m|
|Dog Access: Dogs are prohibited in Marsden Valley Conservation Reserve|
|Links to: Involution, Widdershins, Jenkins Hill Road|
The start of Scout Track is only a 5 minute drive from Stoke up Marsden Valley Road. At the end of Marsden Valley Road there is a small car park on the right, just before the quarry. Here you will find an information panel with a map and details on trail times and distances. There is also plenty of room to park alongside the road.
Cross the vehicle bridge at the road end (just up from the car park) and follow the gravel road to the weir, which heads straight up the valley (Glider Road forks to the right and crosses Poorman Stream). The road climbs steadily uphill for 800 m to the weir (you’ll pass the downhill end of Involution on the way).
You can also reach the start by following the road to the weir and turning right onto the Loop Track, which crosses Poorman Stream. The Loop Track turns right to head back down the valley; turn left instead to get onto the Scout Track.
The track is rough so good footwear is necessary. At the weir you will find a steep, slippery slope with a rope to help you up onto Scout Track. Scramble up this slope and follow the track as it climbs steeply up the range through native bush dominated by kānuka and five finger. From the weir it is only 600 m to the intersection with Involution, but a vertical climb of 315 m. The average gradient is around 50% and is reasonably consistent the whole way up. Note the predator traps and nest boxes on either side of the track, which are maintained by Marsden Valley Trapping Group.
Involution has effectively replaced the upper portion of the Scout Track, though the latter does continue straight uphill, intersecting Involution as it sweeps back and forth down the hill slope. You can take either track for the remaining distance to the top of the range, though if you are taking Involution be very mindful of bikers coming down the track. Jenkins Hill Road is reached at the top of the range (715 m elevation).
To return to Marsden Valley, there are several options; you can head back down Barnicoat Walkway or Glider Road, via Widdershins. Alternatively, you can head back down the way you came, though instead of going back down the Scout Track, continue down Involution for a gentler downhill gradient.