Harris Saddle

Harris Saddle

Lake Harris and the Harris Saddle are highlights of the superb Routeburn Track. It is a stretch to get there and back as a day walk, but for strong hikers prepared for an early start, it is doable. The hike starts at Routeburn Shelter and follows the track along the Route Burn for 90 minutes to two hours to Routeburn Flats. Then it’s another 45 minutes to get to the Routeburn Falls. From there, it is another hour or so, and another 300 metre climb to the saddle at 1,255 metres. To be safe, allow up to four hours each way.

The payoff is the fabulous alpine walk up the wide amphitheatre with steep mountains to the north and south for the extra leg beyond Routeburn Falls. The Route Burn also tumbles down the amphitheatre from Lake Harris at 1225 metres. After about 45 minutes, the track rises above the Lake and then follows the cliff edge to the Saddle. The views are fabulous across the Lake and from the Saddle, there are also views of Hollyford Valley and the Darran Mountains.

There is a shelter on the Saddle, a perfect spot for lunch. If you have enough energy, there is also a short but steep 230 metre, 30 minute climb to the top of Conical Hill at 1515 metres. This provides near 360-degree views of the region.

Be aware, this hike is in a high alpine region. Check the weather carefully and be prepared to turn back if it deteriorates.

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