Hidden Lake LoopIntermediate
Submitted by Isaac Walker
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Back country - remote
RiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
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Starting at Boundary Creek Hut head up river toward Top Hut and the Omarama Saddle. 16 river crossings await you. You will pass Top Hut and head up the saddle - simply follow the road and signs. When you reach the top of the saddle take a left through the gate and follow the fence line. This will guide you up and over a ridge - a 4wd track will soon appear - jump on this as it is much easier going.
At about the 15km mark you will be crossing over a plateau - this is where you veer left. There is a rock cairn by the fence but if you miss it don't worry too much, cross the fence and keep heading in a diagonal direction to the left. You will get a sense of where the Hidden Lake is if you look at a map prior to the run. Once you hit the boulder field you know you are in the right area. Head over the boulder field, once you climb up a little you can see if you are heading in the right direction of the lake, it will be pretty obvious. Watch yourself over here as the boulders are quite large and loose.
The lake is gorgeous. Good spot to take a breather. Cross around in front of the lake to the left and head up the most obvious route to guide you to the top ridge. Head up and over the ridge and you will see a 4wd track - make your way towards this - there will be multiple routes and it is quite slow going over the loose rock and scree. Once you hit the 4wd track you will follow this all the way to the end with one left turn at the high point on the range (2098m). It is quite a long slog along the top but the views over the valley below, tarns and back over towards Wanaka/Mt Cook and Omarama are unbelievable. At the high point turn left and follow the 4wd down. There is a decent 'up' on the way down and it may seem like you are going waaaay left for a while, don't worry as it hooks back right - just adds a few more kms for you to do. The trail finishes up right back on the doorstep of Boundary Creek Hut. Plenty of rivers to relax in afterwards.
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Features of interest
Hidden Lake and boulder hopping just before it is definitely a great feature of this run. Brilliant views up on St Bathans Range.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 15%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 15%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 60%
Boundary Creek Hut. Other start points could include Homestead Campsite - this would add an extra 6-7km each way onto this guide. Or from the East/West Manuherikia River Junction which would add about 5km each way.
Either Homestead Campsite or the junction of East/West Manuherikia Rivers. Staying in Boundary Creek Hut is ideal. If you are a keen and good in a 4wd (and the rivers are not too high) then you can drive to the hut.
Hidden Lake - check out a topo map prior to running and get a good idea where to turn off to find it.
Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions), Gaiters.
Hidden Lake has plenty of water at around 16km - otherwise nothing else.
Would be be very difficult in winter conditions and after periods of rain (river crossings in the valley).
Boulders, large rocks on 4wd tracks make it difficult to run occasionally.
Post run indulgence
Your own treats at the hut!
Boundary Creek Hut
NZ's most haunted pub!
Great food, coffee and staff.
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