The Cairnmuir track follows the range of the same name and runs from Cromwell to Clyde on the south side of the Cromwell Gorge. Because of its central location it has 360 degree views and on a clear day mountain peaks many kilometers away may be seen.
The full walk is 25.5 km, 9 hours and is a marked tramping or cycle route. A shorter option which provides wonderful views of the Cromwell area and the mountain ranges beyond is 6 km, 2.5 hours. This is the start of the full track so there is always the option to go further than described below.
The track starts at the Conservation Department sign on Cornish Point Road, reached by turning into Cairnmuir Road just over the Bannockburn Bridge. This is vineyard territory and there are options to stop and enjoy food and wine along the way before or after your walk.
The track winds steeply up the hill and when a small saddle is reached, goes through the gate up the main ridge on an old four wheel drive track. There are markers to guide you the whole way. This is an arid landscape with wild thyme predominating in many places. 3 km up this track, just before a small descent, there is a good place to stop, soak in the view, have a bite to eat, and then return the way you came. All the way down the views are spectacular and combined with the fragrance of thyme this is a memorable Central Otago walk.