NELSON TRAILS

Gordon’s Knob

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Gordon’s Knob (1592 m) is a peak on the Gordon Range, southwest of Nelson. The unmarked route to the summit is a challenging full-day return trip through tussock and scree. The easiest way to access Gordon’s Knob is via Inwood Lookout. Gordon’s Knob is named after William Gordon Bell, who purchased land in the Upper Motueka valley the 1852. Gordon Creek also bears his name, and Golden Downs Forest, which today occupies the land he once owned, is a corruption of the original name ‘Gordon Downs’. The settlement of Belgrove also stems from the Bell surname.

Details
Length13 km return from Inwood Lookout
Time Required6-7 hr return from Inwood Lookout
Trail TypeWalking track/Unmarked route
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation1025 m
Max Elevation1685 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see local DOC office

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Connections

Hunters Hut and Te Araroa Trail

  Walking

Access

  1 hr 15 min from Nelson

 

Gordon’s Knob is access from Inwood Lookout. Head south from Nelson along State Highway 6. Just past Belgrove turn left onto Wai-iti Valley Road (the main road to St Arnaud from Nelson). The turnoff to Inwood Lookout (Wai-iti Road) is approximately 11 km from Belgrove. Allow 45 min to reach the Wai-iti Road turnoff from Nelson. The forestry road to the lookout, Wai-iti Road, is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. Wai-iti Road heads through recently-felled pine and beneath the power pylons, then climbs northwards up the side of the ridge to 750 m elevation and turns south, climbing straight along the top of the ridge all the way to the lookout. The road is steep and rough in places.

 

Please see Mt Richmond Forest Park access to check for road closures before you go. Logging, and high fire risk in summer will close access.

 

You can reach Gordon’s Knob via Motueka Gorge, though this is best done as an overnight trip; stay at Hunters Hut and tackle Gordon’s Knob on the second day, exiting via Inwood Lookout.

Description

Begin on the track that continues south along the ridge from Inwood Lookout. The track alternates between open tussock and beech forest for the first kilometre, before opening up to tussock and low alpine scrub for the rest of the way along. The ridge is reasonably flat initially, then it starts steepening toward the main Gordon Range, going from 1120 m to 1440 m in approximately 900 m. The poled route to Hunters Hut continues to the top of the ridge (Hunters Hut is 2-3 hr away from this point). You will see a cairn marking the point to turn off to the right (west) to reach Gordon’s Knob. Follow this route, which is marked by cairns, along the treeline on the northern side of the range, below the peak shown as 1564 m on the topo map (which is unofficially known as North Peak).

 

This will drop you down into a 1240 m elevation saddle, before you must grind your way back up 400 m up through tussock onto Gordon’s Knob. You will reach 1640 m elevation amid snow tussock and open scree. Turn left (south) to reach the true summit. The official summit (1592 m) is further north, though the true summit (referred to by some as ‘Gordon’s Top’) is nearly 100 m higher, at 1685 m. Enjoy the magnificent view of Red Hill across Motueka Valley, and southwest toward the mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park.

 

Return the way you came.

Safety

Gordon’s Knob is an alpine route, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The track above Inwood Lookout is very exposed and has a reputation for being windy, so adequate outdoor clothing is essential. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go. Though the Richmond Ranges do not typically receive as much snowfall as the Western Ranges, Gordon’s knob usually receives more snow than peaks further north given its exposure to the southwest. Snow and ice may be present for weeks during winter, which will require you to be very careful traversing steeper sections of the route.

Gordon’s Knob
Mt Richmond Forest Park

Gordon’s Knob (1592 m) is a peak on the Gordon Range, southwest of Nelson. The unmarked route to the summit is a challenging full-day return trip through tussock and scree. The easiest way to access Gordon’s Knob is via Inwood Lookout. Gordon’s Knob is named after William Gordon Bell, who purchased land in the Upper Motueka valley the 1852. Gordon Creek also bears his name, and Golden Downs Forest, which today occupies the land he once owned, is a corruption of the original name ‘Gordon Downs’. The settlement of Belgrove also stems from the Bell surname.

Details
Length13 km return from Inwood Lookout
Time Required6-7 hr return from Inwood Lookout
Trail TypeWalking track/Unmarked route
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation1025 m
Max Elevation1685 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see local DOC office


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Access

  1 hr 15 min from Nelson

 

Gordon’s Knob is access from Inwood Lookout. Head south from Nelson along State Highway 6. Just past Belgrove turn left onto Wai-iti Valley Road (the main road to St Arnaud from Nelson). The turnoff to Inwood Lookout (Wai-iti Road) is approximately 11 km from Belgrove. Allow 45 min to reach the Wai-iti Road turnoff from Nelson. The forestry road to the lookout, Wai-iti Road, is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. Wai-iti Road heads through recently-felled pine and beneath the power pylons, then climbs northwards up the side of the ridge to 750 m elevation and turns south, climbing straight along the top of the ridge all the way to the lookout. The road is steep and rough in places.

 

Please see Mt Richmond Forest Park access to check for road closures before you go. Logging, and high fire risk in summer will close access.

 

You can reach Gordon’s Knob via Motueka Gorge, though this is best done as an overnight trip; stay at Hunters Hut and tackle Gordon’s Knob on the second day, exiting via Inwood Lookout.

Description

Begin on the track that continues south along the ridge from Inwood Lookout. The track alternates between open tussock and beech forest for the first kilometre, before opening up to tussock and low alpine scrub for the rest of the way along. The ridge is reasonably flat initially, then it starts steepening toward the main Gordon Range, going from 1120 m to 1440 m in approximately 900 m. The poled route to Hunters Hut continues to the top of the ridge (Hunters Hut is 2-3 hr away from this point). You will see a cairn marking the point to turn off to the right (west) to reach Gordon’s Knob. Follow this route, which is marked by cairns, along the treeline on the northern side of the range, below the peak shown as 1564 m on the topo map (which is unofficially known as North Peak).

 

This will drop you down into a 1240 m elevation saddle, before you must grind your way back up 400 m up through tussock onto Gordon’s Knob. You will reach 1640 m elevation amid snow tussock and open scree. Turn left (south) to reach the true summit. The official summit (1592 m) is further north, though the true summit (referred to by some as ‘Gordon’s Top’) is nearly 100 m higher, at 1685 m. Enjoy the magnificent view of Red Hill across Motueka Valley, and southwest toward the mountains of Nelson Lakes National Park.

 

Return the way you came.

Safety

Gordon’s Knob is an alpine route, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The track above Inwood Lookout is very exposed and has a reputation for being windy, so adequate outdoor clothing is essential. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go. Though the Richmond Ranges do not typically receive as much snowfall as the Western Ranges, Gordon’s knob usually receives more snow than peaks further north given its exposure to the southwest. Snow and ice may be present for weeks during winter, which will require you to be very careful traversing steeper sections of the route.

Connections

Hunters Hut and Te Araroa Trail

Walking

Updated 20 February 2019