Dunedin Skyline Walk - Escarpment Track - Track Guide
The Escarpment Track is a unique track - it is built to a basic track standard (formed track and well marked, but no boardwalks or similar). You will be carefully watching your feet as you travel from the Cloud Forests of Leith track to Cowan Road, near Mt Cargill.
The Escarpment Track can be walked in either direction. If you have walked up the Cloud Forests of Leith track you will find the Escarpment Track directly opposite on the far side of the power lines (the entry point is sign-posted). Alternatively, you can park in the parking area off Cowan Rd, near the top sweeping bend (where you first overlook Blueskin Bay). Cross the small layby, and look for the orange track marker pole on the other side of the fence.
Escarpment Track: Described from the powerlines to Mt Cargill
The Escarpment Track is on a more or less even contour until the Sullivans Bridle Track is reached (the OTMC hope to restore this track back towards the 3 Peaks Track in the near future). There is a small stream to cross just before the bridle track - it has not been known to become dangerous.
Leaving the Sullivans Bridle Track, the Escarpment Track winds and gently climbs through the bush as it climbs up to the first viewpoint - Pigeon Rock. The track is muddy in places, and there is one fence to climb (barbs have been removed).
After a short steep climb beside the base of Pigeon Rock you will arrive at a great viewing spot. Great views are to be had from Swampy Summit right round to northern Silver Peaks. Mt Watkin and the Kakanuis are visible in the distance. The track traverse along the top of Pigeon Rock, and heads into a remnant area of pine forest.
After the pine trees, the track climbs up to Pigeon Hill - there is another short scramble up a small rock outcrop (good handholds), followed by a short sharp climb to the top of Pigeon Hill. Follwo the marker poles along the lip if the hill until you find the orange markers indicating where the track drops down again from Pigeon Hill.
Thjis final section of the Escarpment Track to Cowan Road had been all but lost following an unusually heavy snowfall in 2013. The OTMC spent 2014 clearing the major windfall, and during 2015/16 have recut the vegeation and remarked the track where needed (with standard orange triangles).
There are several viewpoints on this section of the track, allowing views to be had right around to Taiaroa Head at the entrance to Otago Harbour. A final climb up a final rock outcrop brings you to Cowan Road.
The Escarpment Track is graded as suitable for trampers rather than walkers - tramping boots are recommended.