Mount Guy

Mount Guy

Mount Guy is a small mountain in Hakatere Conservation Area situated North-East of Lake Clearwater. It’s a hike that leads to 360-degree panoramic views from the summit of the surrounding mountain in Hakatere Conservation Area. The hike is well marked and easy to follow right the way to the summit. At the time of hiking the Mount Guy Track to the summit, we met hikers young and old, even a family making their way up to the summit. Getting up and down should take no more than 4 hours returning giving you a good chance to explore the surrounding area or shorter walks such as the Lake Clearwater Track or Mt Sunday. The best seasons to hike Mount Guy is early winter or spring when the surrounding mountains are sugar-coated with snow creating a picturesque landscape.


4 hours


8.5 km


671 m


BX19, BX20

Matt & Cam looking out over towards the Clent Hills whilst a paraponter begins his flight back down

43°35′31″S 171°05′07″E

In Detail

The times that are posted up on the DOC signs at the bottom of Mount Guy are quite off, so if you find yourself quite confused about how long it should take you to reach the summit I would bargain on between two and two and a half hours. Hiking this in winter could become difficult when the area receives good dumping of snow. A good way to keep an eye on the weather and the conditions around Mount Guy is by checking out the Lake Clearwater Webcam on Windy.Tv it also shows wind speeds for the area and gives a fair indication on the weather for the area.

Descending back down the Mount Guy Track to Lake Clearwater

Getting There

From Christchurch take SH1 (state highway one) out to Rakaia then turn right onto Thompson’s Track. At Ashburton forks make a dogleg turn and continue on Thompson’s Track taking a right shortly after bringing you onto Tramway Road. Make a further small dogleg turn onto Ashburton gorge road which will take you through to Hakatere. Follow the road straight at Hakatere where the road becomes gravel. Eventually, you’ll reach the township of Lake Clearwater. Turn down anyone of the streets, and follow it right the way down Mount Guy Street or Mount D’Archiac drive and you will find a small car park at the end of the road. There’s a small toilet that is maintained by the community situated in the main car park at the camp-site.


The track starts from the end of Lake Clearwater township as you follow the Lake Clearwater Track around to the base of Mount Guy. There is a small sign, approximately a quarter of the way around the lake that points to a track and a stile at the base of Mount Guy. From crossing the fence it is simply a matter of following the poled markers to the summit which are well placed making the track reasonably easy to follow. Once you get to the summit you have the opportunity to head off-trail and navigate you’re way off track down to Te Araroa linking up with the Eastern Link Track until merging with the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track. An easier option is to return via the way you came. The descent gives you the chance to appreciate how high you climbed and magnificent views of the area.

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At the start of the track, you should find a sign at the start of the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track that shows the timing and the distances for some of the common hikes that start from the small township. The sign correctly states here that it’s approximately two and a half hour to the summit of Mount Guy. We found the timing to be relatively accurate going at a moderate pace. Later on, we noticed a sign at the start of the Mount Guy track that stated that it was only one and a half hours to the summit of Mount Guy after walking for less than half an hour. Don’t trust the timing on this sign, but allowing 4 hours return should be plenty.

The initial signpost at the start of our hike up Mount Guy

Lake Clearwater Circuit Track

The Lake Clearwater Circuit Track is where the hike begins. You’ll find yourself following a wide vehicle track with enough space to walk three abreast. It’s a great section to warm your muscles up before the climb to the summit begins. A feature along this part of the hike is a small wooden bridge spans the outlet of the lake. From this bridge, it is only a couple of hundred metres before you reach a stile and Department of Conservation sign indicating the track to Mount Guy begins.

Top: Warming up the legs along the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track
Bottom: Looking across Lake Clearwater to the Two Thumbs Range and Cloudy Peak Range

Mount Guy Track

The Mount Guy Track starts with the crossing of a stile and then along a flat easy-going trail to get to the base of Mount Guy. The trail is easy to follow along this part and can even be seen from high up as you climb the peak. Starting early in the morning during winter we found that much of the ground was frozen solid from an early morning frost. The sun had still not yet reached this part of the track during the morning hours freezing any mud. Fortunately, none of the track was slippery underfoot.

Top: Ashton bringing up the rear along the flats before the climb
The shadows made for a much cooler start ideal for compensating on getting warmed up on the climb

The Ascent of Mount Guy

The climb begins with a small rolling mound and then transitions almost immediately to the steep ascent. There ain’t no messing around and you’re right in the thick of the climbing here making your way up the well-formed track through the small mountain grasses. The first notable milestone up along the hike up Mount Guy is a small rocky outcrop that juts out as a natural viewing platform just off the track. On a clear day like we had you get a beautiful view right the way down the valleys towards the Two Thumbs Range and Cloudy Peak Range.

Top: All the boys battling there way upward on the uphill climb
Cam. Matt and Tyler taking up the lead through the early stages of climbing Mount Guy

The higher you climb, the better the views become. Meanwhile, the dirt beneath your feet transitions to rock and smaller plants of mountain daisies and tussocks. If you are following a group of hikers along the track it’s easy to see where the trail leads. Following a snaking trail right the way up to the summit. The most notable point over this section is a rocky outcrop along the trail which makes for a false summit. It’s a great point to aim for and to allow yourself a chance to grab some water and food.

Top Left: Oscar taking the time for a breather whilst on the Mount Guy Track
Top Right:
A trail of hikers all climbing towards the summit of Mount Guy
Oscar, Ashton, Matt & Cam taking the time to rest in the warmth of the sunlight

Summit Push

Fortunately from this false summit, there is only a negligible amount of vertical metres to climb before reaching the summit of Mount Guy. The trail flattens off soon enough and then you are only a few minutes away from the summit. A couple of rocks that jut out along the way that makes for great opportunities and make for some of the best viewing points on the way back down.

Top: Ashton & Oscar picking their own routes along the ridge that the track follows
Nearing the top Ashton gets close to a notable rock slab nearing the end of the major climbing section
Bottom: Oscar, followed by Sam as they close in on the summit of Mount Guy

Mount Guy Summit

The summit of Mount Guy is marked by a small rock pile with panoramic 360-degree views. On a clear day, you can see right the way out to the Canterbury Plains, over towards the Mt Somers Range and beyond. We were fortunate that the day was relatively calm and there was hardly a breath of wind at the summit. On such a calm day there were a number of paraponters who took off from the North-Eastern side of the Mount Guy and flew back down. There’s plenty of room to sit back and enjoy the views whilst eating your lunch up here.

Top: Panorama of the boys standing on the summit of Mount Guy and our surroundings
Bottom: Cam & Matt soaking up the surroundings as a para-ponter glides on buy


The return journey was relatively straightforward. We decided to return via the same track back down to the car. It’s even easier to follow the track down while other people are coming up. Between spotting the orange poled markers and the trail of people it takes at least half an hour less to descend Mount Guy.

Top: Beginning the descent back down to Lake Clearwater again
Oscar grabbing onto a rock for support whilst Sam exaggerates a scary face
: Rounding the corner with Lake Clearwater becoming much more prominent in our view

An alternative route to Mount Guy Track is to navigate off track and descend the western ridge of Mount Guy. This connects up with Te Araroa. If you follow the Eastern Link Track this will eventually link up with the Lake Clearwater Circuit Track. Ensure that you have a map and compass with you if you are planning on attempting this route along with other emergency supplies in case you find yourself lost.

Sam standing out on a ledge near the end of the descent over looking Two Thumbs Range