Daniells DashBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Tony Sharpe
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Back country - remote
Out and Back
Undulating, small hills only
Beginner - Intermediate
The 8.5km trail into Lake Daniells from the Lewis Pass Highway is an entry level back country experience, whether you are walking or running. An overnight stay at the Manson- Nicholls Memorial Hut is recommended, but avoid staying on busy holiday weekends as its very popular with families. The hut is a memorial to three people who sadly lost their lives when the hold hut was engulfed by a landslide during an epic storm.
Park up at the Marble Hill campsite, where you are literally standing on the Alpine Fault. There's a short wall constructed nearby with an informative information panel that outlines what is expected to happen here when the legendary sleeping giant lets rip.
The track disappears into the forest and quickly reaches an impressive small gorge from which the campsite takes its name. Cross the bridge and follow up the flanks of the Alfred River on well marked and gentle trail. The deeper in you head the more amazing the forest gets, these trees have stood guard over proceedings here for hundreds, even thousands of years, and its amazing how many shades of green there can be.
There are a few undulations and small hills along the way, but the whole trail is 100% runnable. There can be a few muddy patches around, but it ain't a trail run without some mud splatter on the West Coast!
Be sure to pause every now and then and check out the prolific bird life. Huge efforts have been put in here to control predators, and the work has really paid off with South island Robins, tomtits, warblers, kakariki and kaka present in strong numbers, just to name a few.
The hut should be reached by most within about an hour and a half, walking time is a generous 3 hours. Theres a jetty and the lake and its shallow out to quite a distance but good for a dip to cool down on a hot day. Unless you are staying at the hut don't linger too long though as the sandflies will pounce.
Return the same way. The Lake Daniells track is pretty much doable in any conditions, but if its wet and cold be sure to be adequately provisioned in gear.
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Features of interest
Pristine native forest
Make Up of Run
Moderate Single Track: 10%
Easy Single Track: 90%
Marble Hill Campsite, SH7 Lewis Pass
Park up at the campsite.
Pretty hard to go wrong, but always be cogniscent of where you are. Some people have been lost here, tragically.
Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, 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.
Water is in abundance here, being pristine West Coast valley floor. Plenty of creeks to fill up in along the way
Snow possible in winter
No mobile reception. Leave intentions and take a PLB
Post run indulgence
Springs Junction is the nearest service centre with a small cafe.
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