- Peel Forest Park
- Total Ascent
- Tristram Harper Memorial Hut (4 bunks)
- Turn-off SH 79 north of Geraldine to Peel Forest. First turn left after the Peel Forest store leads to Blandswood. Veer right before the bridge and park in the obvious area at the start of a steep shingle road. Track starts approximately 400m up at the road end
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Locally, Mt Peel is talked about as being three parts: Little, Middle and Big. Little is well-known to many visitors to Peel Forest but Middle and Big are less frequently climbed and require greater resolve and fitness. They also fall outside the DOC administered Peel Forest Park and follow a largely unmarked route.
There is a short but steep walk up a metal road from the Blandswood Road car park to the start of Deer Spur Track. The walk up Deer Spur is relatively straightforward, and allows for fast travel. There are some steeper sections, but generally the track is well maintained, well used and easy to ascend.
It should take around 2hr to Tristram Harper Memorial Hut, just below the summit. The hut is actually a shelter, providing a toilet, foldaway table and two long benches without mattresses, but easily accommodates four. There is a rainwater tank, but it can empty out in dry conditions.
The track from Little Mt Peel is unmarked, and expands into a multi-choice route at Middle. The path to Mt Peel’s summit is easy to follow, and a couple of route choices near the top both lead to it. It’s not technical and anyone with good fitness should safely enjoy this ascent.
Summit views include Aoraki/Mt Cook to the west, and to the east the braided Rangitata and Rakaia rivers.
Mt Peel is a highly recommended big day out experience in good weather. You will be rewarded with outstanding views and plenty of healthy exercise.