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Gertrude Saddle Route Trail is a 5.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Glenorchy, Otago, New Zealand that features a waterfall and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and walking and is accessible year-round.

Length 5.2 mi Elevation gain 2,171 ft Route type Out & Back

Hiking

Walking

Forest

Views

Waterfall

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Rocky

Scramble

Off trail

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Contact
Tips
Getting There

Homer Saddle to Getrude Saddle Traverse, also know as the McPherson - Talbot Traverse is an extreme hike, only suited for experienced back-country hikers with navigational and technical skills. This is not to be taken lightly. The route starts at the Homer Tunnel car park, (closed during Winter months due to avalanches). There is no set trail for the Homer Saddle scramble, so just head on up for approximately 45 minutes to an hour, until you reach the saddle. Here, you will be rewarded with views of both sides of the Homer Tunnel. Traverse right, along the ridge until you reach Talbot's Ladder. Here, minor rock climbing is required. A harness, rope and helmet are essentials for safety. Once over Talbot's Ladder, veer to the right, staying on the ridge, heading towards Mt McPherson. Traverse across the snowfields, with an optional stop at Mount Talbot. Boots, crampons and ice axe highly recommended. Descend down the glacier towards Gertrude Saddle, finishing the hike at the Gertrude Saddle car park.

There are no facilities on this route. This is pure back country.

Highly recommended to carry an EPIRB / Emergency Beacon for routes as such. In an emergency, follow instructions on device to signal for help.

The weather in the Darran Mountains can be extremely unpredictable. Be prepared for all types.

From Te Anau, drive on SH94 towards Milford Sound for 100km (allow 1.5 hours), until you reach the Homer Tunnel car park located on the right hand side of the road, before entering the tunnel. From Milford Sound, drive on SH94 heading back towards Te Anau for 18km (allow 30 minutes). Enter the tunnel and as soon as you are leaving the tunnel, turn left into the Homer Tunnel car park. Note: the Homer Tunnel car park is closed during Winter months May - October, due to avalanches.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (49)
Photos (19)
Recordings (31)
Completed (98)
Katarina Renaldi
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 21, 2020
HikingSnow

Attempted Gertrudes saddle on the 20th of May and could not make it past the saddle. Unfortunately the rocks were covered in frost and ice and without the proper equipment (not even sure if crampons would have helped) it was not safe since it is a sheer cliff and one wrong step would be a fall to death. I would suspect this track is a beautiful walk from mid to late November through March, but would not attempt unless its above 15 degrees at the carpark. Did get to see 2 kea, but could not see over the saddle to get the amazing view of Milford Sound that is pictured in the cover photo.

Théo Péronne
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 20, 2020

Super rando, le sommet et magnifique, il faut des bonnes jambes, ne pas être maladroit et que ce soit sec. ( 60% de la rando sur de la roche )

Josh Jupiter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 31, 2020
HikingRockyScramble

Very difficult hike, it is not a walk in the park. Be prepared with the proper attire and take the caution signs seriously. Don't attempt in the rain. Follow the path, easy to get lost. But a good hike with solid views.

View Josh 's Recording
Dor Hirsch
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 30, 2020
Hiking

טרק מדהים עם נוף מעולה על המילפורד סאונד חשוב לעלות רק כאין גשם וכשיש מעט עננים אחרת לא רואים כלום ויכול להיות מסוכן.

View Dor's Recording
Klára Černá
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 1, 2020
HikingRockySnow

This trail is totally beautiful. Little bit of snow on the top, but i wouldnt rate it as extreme. Worst is the loose gravel in the mid part, klimbing/walking on the rocky top was much easier for me. With a little bit of effort you can awoid stepping in the snow. The climb is definitely worth it. The views to the bay and the saddle are amazing!! + no bugs. If sunny, dont forget sunscreen, i burnt my face hard

Sarah Dietrich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

We wanted a shorter, less challenging walk so just did the first 40 minutes, approximately the first third of the track, then turned back. This part of the track is rough underfoot with tussock and rocks, and well marked with orange-topped poles. Beautiful views and fairly flat on this first section along the lower Gertrude valley.

Julianne Pekel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 24, 2019
HikingBridge outNo shadeRockySnow

Just attempted Gertrude’s Saddle and sadly didn’t make the summit, but the hike was still well worth it!! Absolutely gorgeous, pristine nature. Tons of waterfalls in the Spring (Nov), wildflowers, blue water. As we approached the final climb, just before Black Lake, things got sketchy. Lots of deep, melting snow to cross. Prime avalanche conditions - so we turned back. I should also mention we had a clear & sunny day, I wouldn’t recommend ever trying to do in the rain as others have mentioned. Parking lot easily accessible and open. Lots of warning signs (NZ is overly cautious it seems). We took our boots off and had knee deep water across the stream, about 5 crossings in total. Some took a detour around the streams but told it does add an hour. We averaged 45 mins/mile with lunch stop and photos.

View Julianne's Recording
Jason Brightman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2019
Hiking

First hike my bride and I did on our honeymoon. If kias could speak we’d be in trouble! We did it in December and had some snow patches to deal with. We had no real gear other than trecking poles and guts, but we made it, despite a ranger turning back because they didn’t have an ice axe. The views at the top were everything! Our favorite honeymoon hike. If we have a kid we’ve agreed to name it Gertrude, regardless of its sex.

Aurélie BC
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 27, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Amazing views at the top. The path is well marked and equipped so it's not too hard to go through the steep parts. However, do not attempt it on a rainy day ! The rocks are incredibly sleepery when wet. You will need some warm clothes to keep you warm up there and be careful if you have bad knees/anckles as you walk on loose rocks most of the time.

Patrick H.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 22, 2019
HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble
View Patrick's Recording
Christine Connell
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 17, 2019
HikingNo shadeRockyScramble

Gertrude Saddle has gotten extremely popular in the last few years - and for good reason. It's a fun hike with gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. The hike is about 8.6 miles out and back and took me 5.5 hours with an overnight backpack and sprained ankle. The beginning of the hike is through some trees, but the remainder follows a river/river bed until a short scramble and then a boulder field before reaching the saddle. The trail is fairly well marked, though I did get briefly lost coming out of the trees on the way back. I'd recommend downloading the AllTrails map just in case. The beginning of the hike is basically walking over loose rocks, so if you have a bad ankle like I do, be careful! The scramble section has cables, so it's fairly easy even if you aren't comfortable on rocks. The boulder field is well marked with cairns and markers and if you follow them, it's not bad. While Gertrude Saddle is very safe on a dry day, people have died when the weather has been bad. Numerous signs along the trail warn hikers of the danger. Do not attempt Gertrude if it has been raining! We were the only campers the night we stayed at Gertrude Saddle. It was peaceful, but very windy and cold! Be prepared if you plan to camp. @christinexploring Www.christinexploring.com

Collin Shumaker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 14, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Amazing hike. Definitely do NOT attempt if wet: there are lots of steep slick rocks. After the valley it gets very steep very fast, but definitely doable in good weather. Make sure you pay attention to the trail markers!! Once you reach the top there are a few different lookout points, all of which have beautiful views of the fjords.

View Collin's Recording
Renan L.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 8, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

Tough hike, especially when heading back down. You’ll have to watch your step as loose stones are everywhere. Phenomenal view at the top.

Emma Jackson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 6, 2019
Hiking

Need to know what you are doing - otherwise it can be dangerous if you don’t. Never go if it’s slightly wet or frozen - as you are very exposed and scrambling. We went on a perfect autumn day and set off early. Managed to get up to the saddle in 1 hour 50 minutes (excluding break). HIGHLY recommended to all experienced hikers. One of my favourite day hikes in NZ!

View Emma's Recording
Yoshi Cortes
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 30, 2019
Hiking

Very steep and treacherous but the views at the top are amazing! Do not do in bad weather though.

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Vanessa Garcia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 21, 2019
Hiking

Epic AF!! Scrambled up in about an hour and forty minutes. Just in time to catch the view before it got too cloudy. The hike alone would have been worth it though. Lots of rock scrambling which is my jam. Was still really beautiful but would have loved more time with the view. Definitely recommend on a clear day.

View Vanessa's Recording
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