The Old Ghost Road - From Lyell to Stern ValleyBeginner - Intermediate
Submitted by Mike Tennent
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Back country - remote
Point to Point (one way)
Native bushPlantation/exotic forestRiversideOpen tussock/grasslandsOpen ridges/tops
Beginner - Intermediate
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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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.
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Features of interest
So much... mining relics and history, waterfalls, views forever, wonderful single trail carved out of nothing.... a truly magical trail.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 0%
Technical Single Track: 25%
Moderate Single Track: 25%
Easy Single Track: 50%
Farm Road / 4WD Track: 0%
Gravel Road: 0%
Sealed Road: 0%
Lyell is a camping area on State Highway 6 between Inangahua and Murchison. It is very well signposted... catch a shuttle from the other end and you cannot get lost!
There is an excellent size carpark if required.
In the first 10km or so there are a few side trails, but the main trail is very well signposted.
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.
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