Introduction

Doubtful valley in Lake Sumner Forest Park can be reached from beside SH 7 (Lewis Pass highway) about 165 km drive from Christchurch.

Track overview

About this track

Description

Doubtful Valley Track follows the Doubtful River to Amuri Pass with two huts on the way. The Lake Man and Devilskin Saddle Routes branch off this track.

Doubtful Valley Track

SH7 to Doubtful Hut

Time: 2 hr

Take care with river crossing; cross the Boyle River then follow the poled track on the true right of the Doubtful River across open flats to the bush. Here, pick up the track to Doubtful Hut.

Doubtful Hut

Doubtful Hut

Category: Basic/bivvies
Facilities: 2 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served
Doubtful Hut to Doubtless Hut

Time: 1 hour 30 min

Continue up grassy river flats and sections of track until you reach the Doubtful–Doubtless confluence. Cross the Doubtful River and then the Doubtless River to reach the Doubtless Hut on the true left of the river.

Doubtless Hut. Image: Brian Dobbie.

Doubtless Hut

Category: Standard
Facilities: 6 bunk beds, heating, mattresses
Bookings not required - first come, first served
Doubtless Hut to Amuri Pass

Time: 2 hr

From the hut, cross the Doubtless River and follow the track for about 10 minutes to a junction. Follow the track up the Doubtful River, crossing after about 20 minutes to the true right.  The track follows the river to cut across Phantom Flat. At the top end of the flat, the track climbs steeply to the bushline. An old pack track crosses Amuri Pass.

Lake Man Route

This trip links the Doubtful and Hope valleys. The new section of Te Araroa by SH7 (Tui Track) now makes this a 2–3 day round trip. It can be walked in either direction, but is easier to start from Doubtful valley.

The tramp is recommended for experienced trampers; there are river crossings and the middle section over the Doubtful Range is rugged – the section from Pussy Stream to the ridge is very steep.

Doubtful Hut to Lake Man Track junction (Kedron River)

Time: 1 hr

The Lake Man Track junction is off the Doubtful Valley Track - between the Doubtful and Doubtless huts.

Kedron River to Lake Man Biv

Time: 2 hr 30 min

Route follows the true left of the Kedron River for a short distance before climbing through beech forest. After about an hour the track levels out and sidles above the Kedron River for about 30 minutes. Lake Man Biv is reached after a steady short climb through small alpine clearings.

Lake Man Bivvy. Image: R Hawke.

Lake Man Bivvy

Category: Basic/bivvies
Facilities: 2 bunk beds
Bookings not required - first come, first served
Lake Man Biv to Hope Valley Track junction

Time: 4 hr

Route climbs above the biv for about 20 minutes to the bush edge. Follow the poled route for about an hour over a low tussock ridge to the western slopes of the middle tributary of Pussy Stream. Then follow the marker poles to the last pole situated at subalpine level on a steep narrow ridge.  Descend the steep ridge to the large orange marker at the bush edge and further to reach the middle tributary of Pussy Stream. (NB: Near the bottom of the ridge the route turns sharply left down a narrow track. Don’t overshoot this turn as from this point the ridge takes a near vertical drop to the stream).

Follow Pussy Stream to the bush edge at St Jacobs Flat in the Hope valley, and then across tussock flats on the true left of Pussy Stream to the Hope River. This section is unmarked with numerous stream crossings. Cross the river to the Hope Valley Route. From here it is about 30 minutes to the Top Hope Hut, or an hour to St Jacobs Hut.

Devilskin Saddle Route

This track links the Doubtful and Nina valleys via Devilskin Saddle. It can be walked in either direction, but it is recommended you walk it from the Nina valley.

This track is suitable for experienced trampers and combines mountain beech forest, river flats and an alpine saddle crossing.

See: Nina valley tracks and routes 

Getting there

View the Lake Sumner and Lewis Pass access map.

Lake Sumner Forest Park lies 100 km northwest of Christchurch between the Lewis Pass and Arthur’s Pass National Park.

There is a car park by SH 7 - approximately 5 km further on from Windy Point and 5 km before Boyle Village. Leave vehicles at your own risk.

There is no bridge over Boyle River from this access point, but the swingbridge at Windy Point (approximately 2 hours walk) can be reached via Tui Track if the river cannot be crossed.

Transport services

East West Coach Services run daily between Christchurch and Westport – 0800 142 622.

Atomic Shuttles run Christchurch to Nelson and Nelson to Christchurch daily. Ph +64 3 349 0697; freephone 0508 108 359 www.atomictravel.co.nz

Further information and transport bookings can be made at the Hanmer Springs i-SITE Visitor Centre.

Know before you go

Safety is your responsibility:

  • Have the correct and the most up-to-date information
  • Take a topographic map if going into more challenging country, i.e. something more than a tramping track.
  • Always be prepared for sudden weather changes. Check the latest forecast, especially if any river crossings are required.
  • Equip yourself well and prepare for the worst. Take enough food and water and the right clothing.
  • Ensure someone else knows where you are going and when you plan to return.
  • If staying in huts, fill in the intentions book. This may save your life.
  • Dial 111 immediately for any fire emergency.

Contacts

Rangiora Office
Phone:   +64 3 313 0820
Address:   32 River Road
Rangiora 7400
Email:   waimakariri@doc.govt.nz
Full office details
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