NELSON TRAILS

Mt Patriarch

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Mt Patriarch (1656 m) is a peak overlooking Wairau Valley in Mt Richmond Forest Park. The route to the summit is challenging, though a 4WD forestry road provides foot and MTB access to within short distance of it.

Details
Length17 km return (walking, from DOC route start)
Time Required6-7 hr return (walking, from DOC route start)
Trail Type4WD road/Route
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation1200 m
Max Elevation1656 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see Nelson DOC office


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Connections

Mid Goulter Route

  Walking




Access

  3 hr from Nelson | 2 hr from Blenheim

 

From Nelson, head east along State Highway 6 all the way into Marlborough. Turn right onto Northbank Rd, which is just before the Wairau River bridge. Follow Northbank Rd for 33 km to the right-hand turnoff to Top Valley. Head up Top Valley and follow the DOC signs that indicate the way to Mt Patriarch and Lake Chalice. Staircase Rd winds up the valley side through pine forest for 8.7 km to the Mt Richmond Forest Park boundary, then sidles the valley to Staircase Saddle. Lake Chalice car park is on the right side of the road, though continue for a further 7 km along the range until you reach the grassed parking area just before the DOC sign reading ‘Mt Patriarch Route’ (1200 m elevation). Beyond here the 4WD road is rougher; though you can drive beyond the sign right to the road end (1440 m elevation), doing so is not recommended.

 

If you’re riding, you can park at Lake Chalice car park for some extra distance. You can even start from the Top Valley floor and ride up Staircase Rd.

 

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

Description




From the car park, the road continues along the range, climbing gently into the Goulter Valley side and allowing good views of Lake Chalice. The track to Mid Goulter Hut (3 hr away) branches from here. The bulk of Mt Patriarch comes into view further along the range, and the road sidles over a scree slope and descends gradually to the Wairau Valley side of the ridge. The surrounding vegetation is dominated by a mix of exotic conifers, which give the landscape a North American alpine feel. The road steepens and climbs through a couple of zig-zags to 1440 m elevation. This marks the end of the 4WD road, and the beginning of the route. Riding is impossible beyond here, so you will have to leave you bike and continue on foot.

 

The route traverses the narrow, craggy ridge. This requires sure-footedness and is probably not suitable for those who do not have a head for heights. The route drops off the top of the ridge and onto the Goulter side, where it sidles beneath precarious bluffs and across active rock slides that drop very steeply to the valley far below. Proceed along this section with extreme caution, especially when visibility is poor and the route is not always obvious.

 

The slope eases and the route climbs to a barren, rock-strewn saddle. Follow the poles for the remaining climb up to the summit, which is marked by a trig and a DOC sign. At the summit, enjoy the expansive views of Wairau Valley, the mountains of Inland Marlborough, and the rugged peaks of the Richmond Ranges.

 

Return the way you came.

Safety

Mt Patriarch is an alpine environment, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The route reaches a high elevation and is very exposed, so proper outdoor clothing is essential. Be sure to check the alpine weather forecast before you go. You must always be prepared for freezing conditions and take extreme care if snow and ice and are present. The route beyond the 4WD road is physically challenging and in places is difficult to follow. There are no water sources along the way, so make sure you carry plenty of your own.

 

See the Mountain Safety Council website for useful information on preparing for the outdoors.

Mt Patriarch
Mt Richmond Forest Park

Mt Patriarch (1656 m) is a peak overlooking Wairau Valley in Mt Richmond Forest Park. The route to the summit is challenging, though a 4WD forestry road provides foot and MTB access to within short distance of it.

Details
Length17 km return (walking, from DOC route start)
Time Required6-7 hr return (walking, from DOC route start)
Trail Type4WD road/Route
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking, trail running and MTB
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation1200 m
Max Elevation1656 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see Nelson DOC office


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Access

  3 hr from Nelson | 2 hr from Blenheim

 

From Nelson, head east along State Highway 6 all the way into Marlborough. Turn right onto Northbank Rd, which is just before the Wairau River bridge. Follow Northbank Rd for 33 km to the right-hand turnoff to Top Valley. Head up Top Valley and follow the DOC signs that indicate the way to Mt Patriarch and Lake Chalice. Staircase Rd winds up the valley side through pine forest for 8.7 km to the Mt Richmond Forest Park boundary, then sidles the valley to Staircase Saddle. Lake Chalice car park is on the right side of the road, though continue for a further 7 km along the range until you reach the grassed parking area just before the DOC sign reading ‘Mt Patriarch Route’ (1200 m elevation). Beyond here the 4WD road is rougher; though you can drive beyond the sign right to the road end (1440 m elevation), doing so is not recommended.

 

If you’re riding, you can park at Lake Chalice car park for some extra distance. You can even start from the Top Valley floor and ride up Staircase Rd.

 

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




 

Description

From the car park, the road continues along the range, climbing gently into the Goulter Valley side and allowing good views of Lake Chalice. The track to Mid Goulter Hut (3 hr away) branches from here. The bulk of Mt Patriarch comes into view further along the range, and the road sidles over a scree slope and descends gradually to the Wairau Valley side of the ridge. The surrounding vegetation is dominated by a mix of exotic conifers, which give the landscape a North American alpine feel. The road steepens and climbs through a couple of zig-zags to 1440 m elevation. This marks the end of the 4WD road, and the beginning of the route. Riding is impossible beyond here, so you will have to leave you bike and continue on foot.

 

The route traverses the narrow, craggy ridge. This requires sure-footedness and is probably not suitable for those who do not have a head for heights. The route drops off the top of the ridge and onto the Goulter side, where it sidles beneath precarious bluffs and across active rock slides that drop very steeply to the valley far below. Proceed along this section with extreme caution, especially when visibility is poor and the route is not obvious.

 

The slope eases and the route climbs to a barren, rock-strewn saddle. Follow the poles for the remaining climb up to the summit, which is marked by a trig and a DOC sign. At the summit, enjoy the expansive views of Wairau Valley, the mountains of Inland Marlborough, and the rugged peaks of the Richmond Ranges.

 

Return the way you came.




 

Safety

Mt Patriarch is an alpine environment, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The route reaches a high elevation and is very exposed, so proper outdoor clothing is essential. Be sure to check the alpine weather forecast before you go. You must always be prepared for freezing conditions and take extreme care if snow and ice and are present. The route beyond the 4WD road is physically challenging and in places is difficult to follow. There are no water sources along the way, so make sure you carry plenty of your own.

 

See the Mountain Safety Council website for useful information on preparing for the outdoors.

Connections

Mid Goulter Route

Walking

Updated 1 January 2020