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Hiking the Mount Crichton Loop Track, Queenstown

Hiking the Mount Crichton Loop Track, Queenstown

There’s a great variety of sights on offer on the Mount Crichton Loop Track, a two-three hour hike on the road between Queenstown and Glenorchy. You’ll walk by a clear river surrounded by native bush, an old goldmining hut, a waterfall, views of a small lake, a big lake and plenty of hills. Keep reading for all the details!

Mount Crichton Loop Track

As with any loop track, you have two options when starting the Mount Crichton Loop Track. Which way to walk it? The answer for this walk is clockwise, so cross the bridge and then head up the left side of the river. If you go anticlockwise you’ll have a massive hill to climb straight away – I wouldn’t recommend it.

With the right decision hopefully made, the first part of the track is quite relaxing. It slowly climbs above the river and is mostly shaded, which is key on a hot summer’s day. There aren’t many views on this part of the track but it’s a pleasant bit of forest to walk through.

Sam Summers Hut + Waterfall

After a steady climb you’ll eventually reach Sam Summers Hut. This hut was built by Mr. Summers, a depression era goldminer, in 1930. It’s survived nicely to this day (lots of repairs I’m sure) and is quite a cool thing to see amidst an otherwise deserted forest.

Just around the corner from the hut you’ll see a waterfall (12 Mile Creek Falls). From there you cross the bridge and then head back down the hill on the other side. At least I thought that’s what would happen.

More Climbing

But the track didn’t head back down the hill. It kept climbing for at least another 20 minutes or so.  We figured the track was climbing up to a grand viewpoint, but eventually it just started to meander down.

The Final Stretch

Once we properly on the way down it was much more relaxing (it was a hot day, so hiking uphill gets a little tiring). You’ll get a great view of Lake Dispute and Lake Wakatipu on the way down, as well as some views of the forested hills and low mountains of the area you’ve been walking through for the last couple of hours.

The Details

  • Where does it start? The track starts at the 12 Mile Delta car park. You then have to walk down and cross the road. There are a couple of parks right next to the road, which means you could cut out the maybe 10-minute return walk from the car park to the road, but it’s really not that bad.
  • How long does it take? It took us just over two hours. We walked quickly though, so if you’re a bit slower or if you have kids, it might be closer to three hours.
  • Is it hard? With an elevation gain of 300 metres, it’s no walk in the park. The track is in great condition though and if you’ve done a bit of uphill hiking before it shouldn’t be a problem.

How does it compare to the other hikes in Queenstown?

There are so many hiking options in Queenstown that it can be hard to choose the best one for you. I think the Mount Crichton Loop Track is ideal for people who have already done Queenstown Hill or Ben Lomond, or just wants to do a pleasant, sight-filled walk. You don’t get the iconic views of Lake Wakatipu, but there are plenty of other hikes for that. Check out our post about the best Queenstown hikes, it might make your decision on which ones to do a little easier.

Are you planning a trip to Queenstown? Check out our list of the best things to see and do!

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Jon Algie

A travel blogger from New Zealand who has just returned home after 6 years abroad. Join me as I see as much of the South Island as I can.

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