• Activities:

    Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Advanced

  • Season:

    Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    6.2 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3444.9 Feet

Scenic
Waterfall

This is a scenic day hike/scramble in Arthur's Pass National Park that gets you to the top of a peak in the heart of New Zealand's Southern Alps. It's about a two hour drive from Christchurch.

There are actually two trails leading up to the summit: the Avalanche Peak Track and Scott's Track. The former begins at the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre while the latter begins down the main road, across from the Devil's Punchbowl Falls (less than 1 km south of the visitor centre). Both trails begin steeply through dense forest and don't allow for many views early on. The trails are rugged at times, but well-defined and well-maintained.

Above the treeline, the trails are marked by colored metal poles (yellow for the Avalanche Peak Track and orange for Scott's Track). Above the treeline, the trail is designated as a "route" by the national park, meaning that its less defined, rougher, and steeper. On a clear day, navigation is easy, but if visibility is poor, it is suggested to turn back unless you have excellent navigation skills and prior knowledge of the route. Scott's Track traverses a rugged ridge to the summit with a sheer cliff face to the right, while the Avalanche Peak Track is a bit steeper.

From the treeline to summit, it is an easy scramble. Follow the route markers and don't go off trail as there are steep drop-offs. From the summit, you will have access to panoramic views of the surrounding alps on all sides, including Mount Rolleston and Mount Bealy. In early summer, expect snow to linger above the treeline. Generally, the snow patches are small and don't require any technical navigation, but do exercise caution.

Both trails rise approximately, 1050 meters (3500 ft) in 5 km (3.1 mi) and are definitely thigh burners. Be sure to bring enough water with you; if you have a filter, there are some small streams intersecting the trail, but their availability is seasonal. It is best to inquire at the visitor centre about water sources on the trail, as the rangers there will have up-to-date info.

Lastly, the Avalanche Peak Track and Scott's Track can be combined to form a loop, beginning at the visitor centre and ending at the Scott's Track trailhead just down the road.

Pack List

  • Hiking boots/shoes
  • Day pack
  • Food and water
  • Water filter (optional)
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

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

Community Photos

+ Add Photos

Reviews

Overall rating: 

Leave a Review

The views on top are pretty good, and it makes a great introductory hike to NZ tramping. The last 100m-200m to the summit are quite intimidating with some very narrow parts and drop offs that would not be good for an inexperienced hiker afraid of heights . Don't think of attempting in bad weather. If you have another day and more experience, consider descending that back side and connecting this with the Crow Valley. Since Scott's track is less steep, I'd suggest taking it down so it's easier on the knees. The views are better as well.

over 1 year ago
over 1 year ago

Are we missing something? Suggest an edit

Nearby Adventures

Hike the Sugar Bowl Loop in Kings Canyon NP

Tulare County, California

First and foremost, to get to this trailhead you need to drive down a 2-mile, one lane dirt road that is quite steep.

8 Saves

Hike to Ehukai Pillbox

59178 Ke Nui Road, Hawaii

This hike starts directly across from Banzai Pipeline, the famous barreling wave at Ehukai Beach.

7 Saves

Winter Hike to Calypso Cascades

1046 County Highway 115, Colorado

While most people go snowshoeing near the Bear Lake or Glacier Gorge area in RMNP, Wild Basin is a much less trafficked option.

6 Saves