Last Updated: 17th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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The Old Ghost Road - From Lyell to Stern Valley

Westport, West Coast

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 17th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 65 ?

Gnarl Factor: 42 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







The only other Wild Things description of the Old Ghost Road is in the same direction as the Ultra... from the Seddonville end and it is a very different run from that end. Also it is all one run... where most of us mere mortals need to break it up into at least two. So I parked at the Seddonville end and caught the morning shuttle to Lyell, arriving just before 8:30am. The early trail is through forest and then bush.... gently climbing all the time to about 12km, then there is about 6km of largely flat trail through to Lyell Saddle and the first hut of the day. Worth a very short side trip to visit as the views from the hut are magic and a taste of things to come. Back onto the trail and back to climbing, through to the highest point at about 25.5km and through some incredible trail... including the fast becoming legendary Heavens Door. From the high point it is a gentle 4.5km descent to Ghost lake Hut... I wanted to stay here but it had been booked out by the time I booked... but if you get the chance you should stay here... even for an hour or two... the views are forever.... I stopped for lunch and a rest here. From the hut you descend quickly to Ghost Lake itself and the onto a steep switchback section, then the last uphill of the day and then the last 10km downhill to Stern Valley Hut and the end of todays run.

So much... mining relics and history, waterfalls, views forever, wonderful single trail carved out of nothing.... a truly magical trail.

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There is an excellent size carpark if required.

64 km

55 minutes




In the first 10km or so there are a few side trails, but the main trail is very well signposted.

Very patchy.

Waterproof leggings, 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 bag, Cellphone, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions)

There is quite a bit of water throughout the trail and at all huts.

In winter the trail is occasionally closed or limited.

There are places where the trail is very narrow and where there is a rockfall danger. All a well signposted and clear. I could imagine that a few places could get quite muddy in winter.

Trail Legend

Nikki Kear

Nikki Kear

has completed The Old Ghost Road - From Lyell to Stern Valley once in the last year.

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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.

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