The 58 km Gillespie Pass Circuit is a varied and beautifully wild long-distance tramping route through Mount Aspiring National Park in the Otago region of New Zealand’s South Island.
This long-distance track can be walked in both directions and is recommended for experienced trampers only due to several demanding river crossings. Whichever way you walk, the trailhead can be reached by commercial jet boat and will need to be arranged in advance.
Despite its challenges and dependence on weather, this track rewards with less traffic, waterfalls, rivers, forests and alpine landscapes; and an abundance of native flora, fauna, wildlife and vegetation, and offers the chance to add another day to the trip and visit to the glacial Crucible Lake within Siberia Valley – only accessible on foot. Crucible Lake makes for an excellent day hike option at around 7 km from Siberia Hut, which also involves a river crossing.
Young Hut, Siberia Hut and Kerin Forks Hut are available to stay in on route, whilst the Young and Kerin Forks Hut work on a first come first served basis, the Siberia Hut requires booking so it is always best plan ahead and book as required. The hut facilities are basic and include bunks, non-flush toilets, water that needs treating or boiling and basic cooking facilities.
A unique but challenging and potentially dangerous part of this track are the river crossings. There have been fatalities over the years which is why the DOC stresses the importance of trampers being confident and proficient in river crossing skills and experience, whilst carrying a tent is always advised in case of any rivers becoming impassable after rainfall and causing trampers to become stranded. Trampers must be prepared to wait for water levels to drop in order to cross and keeping track of weather forecasts is key on this route.
Trampers should prepare with sufficient food in case of adverse weather and rain making the unbridged rivers impassable as well as appropriate wet weather gear and extra warm layers.
This loop is not recommended during the winter due to snow, ice and risk of avalanche.
Based on our data, the trail is graded as hard. For information on how we grade trails, please click here
. Also, check our latest community posts for trail updates.
This trail can be completed in approx. 3 - 4 days. Caution is advised on trail times as this depends on multiple variables. For more info, click here