Climb straight up, track to Dasler Bivouac, Hopkins Valley

Image: Tomas Sobek | Creative Commons

Introduction

Hopkins valley, in Ruataniwha Conservation Park, is near Lake Ohau.

Track overview

21 - 35 km return via same track

Walking and tramping

7 - 11 hr 30 min hr one way Advanced: Tramping track

Mountain biking

1 hr 30 min one way Easy: Grade 2

Other activities

  • Four wheel driving
  • Horse riding

About this track

Description

Ram Hill carpark to Monument Hut

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 2 - 3 hr
Distance: 9 km

The start of this track is on private land so please keep to the track. The conservation park boundary is signposted 1 km south of Monument Hut. You don't need to cross any rivers to reach the hut.

Mountain biking

Track category: Easy/Grade 2
Time: 1 hr 30 min
Distance: 9 km

It's a straight forward mountain bike to Monument Hut. You'll need to push your bike over the shingle slip at the conservation park boundary. Some mountain bikers choose to carry on to Red Hut or Elcho Hut - river crossing and backcountry skills are required for this.

Monument Hut - Dasler Biv

Monument Hut to Red Hut

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 6 km

From Monument Hut cross Hopkins River to reach Red Hut. This is a fine weather trip - any rainfall means the river will rise rapidly and you may not be able to return.

Track to Red Hut in Hopkins valley.
Trampers heading to Red Hut in Hopkins valley, Ruataniwha Conservation Park

Red Hut to Dasler Biv

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 6 km

From Red Hut follow the old 4WD track to the start of Dasler Biv Track. The steep track is signposted on the Hopkins River flats. Part way up you'll need to negotiate a small rock bluff. It's well worth continuing above Dasler Biv to emerge out of the alpine scrub for great views.

Rock bluff on Dasler Biv Track.
A tramper negotiates the rock bluff on Dasler Biv Track

Monument Hut - Richardson Rock Biv

Monument Hut to Elcho Hut

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 4 hr
Distance: 9 km

The most direct route to Elcho Hut on foot is to stay on the true right of Hopkins valley. Elcho Hut is a New Zealand Alpine Club Hut.

Hopkins valley. Photo: DOC
A mountain biker cycling out from Elcho Hut

Elcho Hut to Cullers Hut

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 30 min
Distance: 1.5 km

Cullers Hut (also known as Apricot Hut) is often overlooked as it is tucked way off the beaten path. Cross Elcho Stream and look for the hut in the bush margin.

Cullers Hut to Dodger Hut

Track category: Tramping track
Time: 2 hr
Distance: 5.5 km

To cross the Dodger Bridge over Hopkins River continue from Cullers Hut on the true right of the valley. Otherwise cross Hopkins River in the wide open flats area near Elcho Hut and travel on the true left to Dodger Hut.

Dodger Hut to Erceg Hut

Track category: Route
Time: 3 hr
Distance: 7 km

People often underestimate how long it takes to get to Erceg Hut. There is a DOC sign for the hut clearly visible in the riverbed.

Upper Hopkins valley.
Upper Hopkins valley

Erceg Hut to Richardson Rock Biv

Track category: Route
Time: 1 hr
Distance: 3 km

From Erceg Hut stay on the true left to reach the rock biv.

Getting there

Hopkins valley is at the end of Lake Ohau Road, 60 km from Twizel. Follow SH 6 from Twizel, then turn into Lake Ohau Road.

The sealed road changes to gravel after passing Lake Ohau Lodge. Drive carefully and watch out for stock grazing beside the road. As a courtesy, drive slowly past Lake Ohau Station buildings to reduce dust.

Park your car at the Ram Hill carpark at the road end, or if you have a 4WD vehicle carry on to Monument Hut.

Four wheel driving

You can take a 4WD vehicle into Monument Hut and beyond if river levels are low. Vehicles are not permitted in the Huxley valley or past Elcho Hut in Hopkins valley.

Horse riding

The Hopkins valley is good for horse riding when river levels are low.

Know before you go

Maps: NZTopo50 BZ14 Mt Barth, BY14 Mt Ward, BY15 Birch Hill

Dog access

Taking your dog into the Hopkins valley isn't an option if you're walking - you first need to cross private farmland to reach the conservation park boundary. If you're taking a 4WD from Ram Hill carpark across the farmland, keep the dog confined to your vehicle until the conservation park boundary.

There is an ongoing trapping and poison operation for possums in this area. Monitor your dog and use a muzzle to avoid any potential scavenging of possum carcasses.

Contacts

Te Manahuna / Twizel Office
Phone:   +64 3 435 0802
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Email:   twizel@doc.govt.nz
Address:   15 Wairepo Road
Twizel 7901
Postal Address:   Private Bag
Twizel 7944
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