Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit, Craigieburn Range, Canterbury NZ

A pleasant half-day walk in the Craigieburn Range taking in views from Helicopter Hill, then more views from Lyndon Saddle to Camp Saddle.

Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit

This circuit walk in the Craigieburn Range visiting Lyndon Saddle and Camp Saddle is a good half day option with views of the Castle Hill Basin, Craigieburn Range and Torlesse Range. We took a side trip to Helicopter Hill (1256m) for the first of the views, and that would make a much shorter but worthwhile walk if you had limited time. For a bit more adventure then climb off-track along a ridge at about 1500m to Camp Saddle, with views all the way. The return section is a pleasant enough walk down through tussock and then back into native forest.It’s not a hard walk except for one section climbing steeply up a spur onto the ridge to Camp Saddle, however there is an alternative route that might be easier – more info in my track notes at the end.

Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit: The Scenery

Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
On the Luge Track to Lyndon Saddle.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
Climbing to Helicopter Hill.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
After Helicopter Hill we climbed up the spur centre right. It was super steep at the top and so I suspect that once out of the forest, crossing scree to the spur on the left could have been better. There was an impact track heading off in that direction.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
The Craigieburn Range from Helicopter Hill.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
The Torlesse Range from Helicopter Hill.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
Very steep and loose ascent up the ridge.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
View over the Castle Hill Basin.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
One of the valleys in the Craigieburn Range.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
A wide panorama of the Craigieburn Range containing some of the ski field areas, although not that much snow about.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
The view south-west from point 1550m.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
Looking down our route south from Camp Saddle.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
On the track leading to the Broken River ski field access road.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
Walking back down the road was not too bad.
Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
Still very frosty back at the car at 2pm.

Track Notes

Helicopter Hill-Lyndon Saddle-Camp Saddle Circuit
We walked anti-clockwise. The walk is on tracks, roads or marked routes except for the section from Lyndon Saddle (below Helicopter Hill) up through forest on an impact track and then up a spur and along the ridge to Camp Saddle. Note that our route straight up was very steep and loose, and I suspect following the dotted line route would be easier (there was an impact rack heading off in that direction we probably should have taken). 

We started on the road at the beginning of the Luge Track. Walk as far as Lyndon Saddle where you can take the side trip to Helicopter Hill for views of the area.

After heading back down, climb up through forest on an impact track that has occasional orange markers, but only seen if travelling down the hill. When out of the forest we walked straight up onto the ridge leading to Camp Saddle. Note that our route was very steep and loose, and I suspect following the impact rack heading off over scree to the left and then up the other spur would have been easier. 

It’s easy walking once on the ridge and then down on a marked route from Camp Saddle, which becomes a track through the forest and eventually joins the ski access road which you take back to the start.

You’ll need about half a day for this walk. We got our notes from the Canterbury Foothills and Forests tramping guide. 

The pin in the map below is in fact the beginning of the road into the area – the Luge Track is probably a 5 minute drive along this unsealed road.

.

 

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.