Day Hike to Harris Saddle (Routeburn Track)

Routeburn Shelter

Enjoy the world famous Routeburn Track without a heavy pack or costly shuttle busses by day hiking over half of the route in a single day! 

The Routeburn Track is world famous, and with good reason. But the because it is a through hike that requires multiple hut reservations and an expensive car-shuttle or two day bus ride to complete, many people feel overwhelmed or underprepared. This day hike options allows you a no-strings-attached option to seeing the best parts of this 5-star hike.

Start at the Routeburn Shelter end (East end) of the track. The hike begins in beautiful beech forest under the sweeping walls of rocky mountains.

At the half-way point you will pass the Routeburn Flats and begin climbing the south wall of the valley up to the impressive Routeburn Falls Hut passing a recent landslide and remarkable views of the Humboldt Mountains. Climb above the Falls and into an expansive alpine basin. Wind around the left side of the basin and climb among giant boulders as you approach Lake Harris, which will surely leave you speechless.

From your first vantage of Lake Harris, a short walk walk along the bluffs on the south side will bring you to the emergency shelter and your final destination, Harris Saddle.

Views from Harris Saddle include the impressive display of glaciated Mounts Crosscut, Sabre, Adelaide and Gifford.

Turn about and return the way you came.

Pack List

  • 10 Essentials
  • Food & Water: Be prepared for a long, alpine hike
  • Layers: Weather can change quickly and without warning
Show More
RT Distance 14.3 Miles
Elevation Gain 2460.6 Feet
Activities Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Year Round
Trail Type Out-and-Back
Features
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Forest
Picnic Area
River
Romantic
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Great experience

The beautiful scenery, boardwalks and accomodating cabins create an amazing walk for both beginner and advanced walkers. Great experience to meet so many different people!!

It's a lot to take in...

Due to weather conditions starting from The Divide, we had couldn't reach The Harris Saddle on the first attempt. But on our second trip around we did this exact hike! (Couldn't say we were mad about leaving all that extra weight at the base ¯\_(ツ)_/¯) In this hike, you get flat valleys, waterfalls, mountains, and more! You really just have to see it for yourself, it's unbelievably breathtaking.


Please respect the places you find on The Outbound Collective.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Nearby Adventures

More Nearby Adventures

Day Hike the Routeburn Track

8 Saves

Backpack the Routeburn Track

395 Saves

Backpack the Magical Earnslaw Burn

31 Saves