Klondyke Spur & Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park, West Coast NZ

A varied walk up the Klondyke Spur Track to above the bushline, with great views before you return via tarns & the Klondyke Valley Track.

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park

On our first trip to the South Island West Coast we’d been denied views on our only long walk of the holiday due to the typical cloudy and wet weather. So with a good long weather window in late summer we headed west again, and our first of two excellent walks was this circuit up the Klondyke Spur Track and down the Klondyke Valley Track. The views were very good, but there was also a nice variety of forest and alpine vegetation, and a number of picturesque tarns in two alpine basins. A period  of off-track walking (linking the two tracks) adds to the adventure.

Some people opt to camp near the tarns, however it makes a good day-walk of moderate difficulty. Track notes at the end.

We also did the nearby Mt Haast Route in the same weekend: really excellent views on that walk, although this circuit offers a more varied walking experience. To avoid indecision best do both.

Klondyke Spur & Valley Tracks: The Scenery

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Lush forest as we ascended Klondyke Spur.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia was a bit ahead and was waiting for me above the bushline.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
The upper and lower alpine basins visible here.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Looking west down the Inangahua River Valley. We stayed in in Reefton which is down there at the end of the valley.

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Impressive topography to the north-west. Very glacial.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
The upper alpine basin.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
A panorama of the upper alpine basin.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia admiring the view from the walk’s high point – 1541m.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
A panorama of ridges and peaks to the north-west.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
A close up look at those ridges and peaks.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Looking east.

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Drooping down to the upper basin. The high point of the route is on the right.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
The big tarn in the upper basin.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Arriving at the upper tarns.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Attractive spongy land in a small tarn.

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Sophia as we prepared to leave the upper basin.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
The route back along the Klondyke Valley Track.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
A varied patchwork of different vegetation types surrounding the lower tarns.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Before we started our descent to the lower tarns.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
An attractive speargrass flower.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
The lower alpine basin.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Entering the forest at the start of the Klondyke Valley Track.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
There were lots of small and attractive cascades along the Klondyke Valley Track.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
One of a few attractive cascades on the Rahu River Right Branch.
Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
Some really nice patches of forest on the Klondyke Valley Track.


Track Notes

Klondyke Spur and Valley Tracks, Victoria Forest Park
You could do this circuit in either direction, however we ascended up the Klondyke Spur Track and got to the views early, then descended steeply off the ridge to the upper tarns. From there you descend steeply down on the true left of the Rahu River Right Branch to the lower tarns, where you pick up the Klondyke Valley Track.

You could do this circuit in either direction, however we ascended up the Klondyke Spur Track and got to the views early, then descended steeply off the ridge to the upper tarns. (You can descend in a few places – just avoid bluffs on the way down). From there you descend steeply down on the true left of the Rahu River Right Branch to the lower tarns, where you pick up the Klondyke Valley Track. The tracks were quite muddy so choose appropriate footwear. More information on these and other nearby routes on the DOC website.

Author: Edward Hathway

I'm a clinical psychologist and keen hiker.

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