Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done

Gillespie's Pass Return

Makarora, Otago

Submitted by Martin Trvaj

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate - Experienced

Save Trail Save

I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 79 ?

Gnarl Factor: 50 ?








Login as a VIP to see driving directions, distance and time.

Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +7.9%

Average Downhill Gradient: -7.9%


Login as a VIP to see the trailhead information.

Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable






Cross the stile and follow the orange poles to the junction of the Young and Makarora rivers.

Crossing Makarora River is challenging. You need to be 100 percent confident or you can use a commercial jetboat or start at Blue Pools (extra 14km - Check DOC brochure).

First approx. 5 km is relatively easy to run in beech forest, later track goes up and down with a lot of roots and muddy spots. Sometimes is hard to run. Once you reach the hut, take rest and have a snack, because it is gonna be big later. Approx. 1 km from the hut you reach a wide-open area (valley). You follow (orange poles) the track until you reach the head of the valley. Get enough water from the creek before you start climbing up to Gillespie pass. It is really hard and steep. Once you reach the pass enjoy the beautiful view and then go the same way back.

Great view from pass and beautiful valley. Beech forest.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Car Park is signposted (green DOC sign) on the left, 3 km north of the Makarora Tourist Centre.

3 km

5 minutes





Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters

You can get it from the hut, but there are numerous small creeks. Get enough water for climbing to the Pass.

The alpine section between Young hut and Gillespie pass is avalanche terrain between May and November.

The river crossing (Makarora River) is very challenging, even when the river is low.
The alpine section between Young hut and Gillespie pass is avalanche terrain between May and November.
Avoid Young valley during heavy rain.

You and Gillespie's Pass Return

As a VIP member you can record private notes for this trail, see all of your times and more.

Register Now

Already have an account? Login now

Trail Reviews

This is awesome can't believe its only got 4 stars. 5 more me! I think going up Gillespies is prefeable form my experience of going down it. The full loop around Siberia and Wilkin is great too, with the Crucible additiion. Recommend a hut night for that and an extra day,If you get stuck by the river at all you can go up 12 odd km of trail up to Blue Pools, but if you can't cross the Makarora because of high flows you probably shouldn't be mucking around up Gillespies!

Tony Sharpe

April 28, 2020

Login to submit a review

Trail Running Community

Find people who are interested in or have completed this trail run.

You must register or login to view this feature.

Register Now

Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

Gillespie Pass Circuit

Gillespie Pass Circuit

Length: 51.5km

Level: Experienced

Other trails nearby
Mt Shrimpton Track

Mt Shrimpton Track

Length: 8.3km

Level: Beginner - Intermediate

Brewster Bimble

Brewster Bimble

Length: 5.4km

Level: Beginner - Intermediate

Find more trails and peaks nearby