The classic and reasonably popular walk up the Bealey Spur Track offers excellent views over Arthur’s Pass National Park for less effort than climbing nearby mountains. There’s also no avalanche danger, so after significant spring snowfall we headed out there on a weekday to see some magical snowy scenes. And being on a weekday we had the place to ourselves. You can get great views of the braided Waimakariri River Valley from quite early on in the walk at roughly 980m of elevation. Most people continue through attractive beech forest and over plains of tussock grass to Bealey Top Hut, but for the full experience I recommend continuing past the hut to a minor peak at 1545m.
The snow you see in these pictures had already melted by the afternoon at lower altitudes, despite it being one of the colder days of the year. So if you are hoping to get the best of a snowy but sunny day in spring then set off early.
Track notes at the end. Another good alternative is to climb nearby Mt Bruce. I’d say this is a better walk but involves more effort to get the best views.
Bealey Spur to point 1545m: The Scenery
Here’s a short video in the forest as we descended. Apologies for the heavy breathing: it was actually hard work trying to keep my phone steady as I walked. Sophia says at the end, “Welcome to fairyland”; it really was.
It’s an obvious track to Bealey Top Hut, then a marked route through a final patch of beech forest, then open tussock to the cairn that marks the minor peak at 1545m.You have to park your car below the small settlement of Bealey, and then walk 700m along a road to the trail head. And there’s more information if you need it on the DOC website.
It’s also possible to continue on and do a long circuit walk over point 1907m and back along Blind Spur. One for longer summer days.