Hike up Avalanche Peak

6.2 miles 3444.9 ft gain  - Out-and-Back Trail

Added by Justin Dong

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.

Read More

Tags

Hiking
Scenic
Waterfall

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

Good Views, Take Scott's Track down

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.

Nearby Adventures

  • Hike to Devils Punchbowl Falls, Arthur's Pass

    An awesome 1 hr return walk in natural New Zealand bush. At the apex of the track is the fantastic Devils Punchbowl Falls with water constantly plummeting 131 metres off of the edge of the hill face above which can be seen from the main road throu...

    1.2 miles 492.1 ft gain

  • Hike the Temple Basin Ski Field

    Arthur's Pass National Park is an extraordinary area of New Zealand's South Island, nearly untouched, with accessible trails into the mountain pass, which is part of New Zealand's "Southern Alps". This trail leads into the free ski camp, a basin t...

    4.3 miles 3300 ft gain

  • Backpack to Lake Mavis

    DAY 1Greyneys Shelter (SH73) – Goat Pass - 5h / 9km (5.6mi) / +400m (1300ft) The route starts here, near Greyneys Shelter on SH73, 5 km (3.1mi) south of Arthur’s Pass Village. You will need to cross Bealey River after it meets the Mingha River, b...

    16.8 miles 3937 ft gain

  • Hike the Avalanche Peak - Crow River Valley Traverse

    The beginning starts with the popular day hike climb up Avalanche Peak in Arthur’s Pass, NZ. You can view that route on the Outbound here. Scott’s Track up is a bit longer but less steep and with better views so I’d recommend taking that up. Shoul...

    2.3 miles -2624.7 ft gain