Hike to Gertrude Saddle
New Zealand › Gertrude Saddle Track
Added by Josiah Roe
Breathtaking views of the Gertrude Valley, Mount Crosscut, and part of Milford Sound in the Fjordlands. The Gertrude Saddle track is an excellent day-hike, passing through the glaciated Gertrude Valley past waterfalls and alpine lakes ending with a fantastic view.
The trail begins at the signposted car park along Milford Road just before the Homer Tunnel, about 98km from Te Anau. Follow the marked track through the valley and left, steeply uphill. About halfway up you will cross the Gertrude Stream below a large, steep waterfall.
Upon reaching Black Lake, continue up to your right. There are steel cabins to assist with the climb, as the rock can be slippery when wet or icy. Scramble up the boulders to gain the saddle.
As an option, Barrier Nob to the NE is easily climbed, though snow and ice can persist late into the summer, so crampons and an ice axe are recommended.
- No permit required
- Daypack with food and water
- Good trail shoes and/or hiking boots
- Trekking poles
- Topographic Map: http://www.topomap.co.nz/NZTopoMap/nz14833/Gertrude-Saddle/Southland
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Fun hike with awesome views
You might have to wait a bit for a good weather windows but it's well worth it. It's fun hiking and mild scrambling up to the saddle. I would also recommend continuing further towards Barrier Knob as far as you are comfortable with. That part starts with hiking and then turns to easy scrambling on good solid rock until the last iffy part to the summit.
Weighing the effort vs. the reward, this hike should be topping most lists worldwide. I kid you not, from the roadside the trail will lead you onto a pass overlooking milford sound and the surrounding fiordland mountains in like 2-3 hours. Yes you need a good weather window and yes you will need crampons if there is snow (aka. not in the summer) But there are few places where you have to put in this little effort to gain this much reward. especially in this region of the world. 10/10 best day-hike I have done.
Difficult but Rewarding Views
Attempted this hike today in warm sunny weather and was unable to make it to the top because of significant snow. It was possible to make it up to Black Lake but the rocks were very slippery. Above that there was too much snow to continue to the saddle. Within the first 20 minutes of the hike there are 1-3 major river crossings depending on which way you go, which results in wet boots unless you're smart and bring water shoes. The walk through the valley makes its way through a small boulder field at one point which can be hard to navigate for those without good balance. Overall really pretty views of the surrounding mountains and waterfalls but had its challenging moments.
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