“A short run to experience one of the iconic sets used during the filming of the Lord of the Rings - Edoras!”
— Kristen McGlynn
Dogs: No Dogs
Admittedly more of a Lord of the Rings sight-seeing stop than a must-do run, this particular track is more of a destination for LOTR fans. That being said, the valley where this track is located is absolutely stunning, and there is something to be said for getting off the more popular tracks to see the less-traveled areas in this region.
The track itself climbs up Mt. Sunday which is a distinctive knoll on an otherwise very flat plain. The start of the trail heads across a short suspension bridge over the beautiful braided river that runs around the base of the knoll. You'll run past crystal clear water and great grey stones that have eroding from the sheer mountains that hem in this plain. The land is covered in large tussocks of golden flaxen grass which are particularly beautiful at sunset when the light is golden.
Once to the base of Mt. Sunday, the climb is short and steep (no switchbacks here!) As you climb to the top, try to imagine the extensive movie set that was once built atop the hill. Amazingly, when filming was done, the entire set was disassembled and the land was replanted with native plants as if the set had never existed. It is much better this way as all the details are left to your imagination.
The top of Mt. Sunday, while by no means really a mountain, does give you a memorable perspective to the river, valley, and surrounding mountains. The latter are particularly impressive as these grey granite giants are so steep that their faces are marred with rock slides that have the appearance of avalanches. Snap some photos from the top, have a giddy moment of pretending you are in Middle Earth, and then retrace your steps back the way you came.