IntroductionTrampers on this route up the Crooked River valley should have backcountry navigation skills.
The route to Jacko Flat Hut follows the Crooked River and is very rough and steep in places. It passes spectacular gorges and rapids, intermingled with deep, blue pools of still water.
Several slips and windthrown trees have made navigation on this route difficult. Allow additional time to navigate these sections. Make sure everyone has a map, compass and excellent backcountry navigation skills.
It is 6 hr (7.8 km) to Jacko Flat hut.
Travel is easier from Jacko Flat Hut to Top Crooked Hut. It is a further 2 hr (5.4 km) to Top Crooked Hut.
The route up to the Morgan Tops, just downstream and opposite Top Crooked Hut, is very steep.
Once onto the tops there are several options for experienced trampers. A popular option is to travel on to Lake Morgan Hut and then exit via Mount O’Shanessy and the Brian O’Lyn Route down to the Haupiri River.
Jacko Flat Hut
Top Crooked Hut
Drive north from Greymouth to Stillwater on SH7 and turn right into Arnold Valley Road (approximately 13 km). Follow this road to Moana (approximately 40 km).
From Moana drive south (towards Christchurch) for approximately 14 km, turn left on to Bell Hill Road. Turn right after 1.8 km onto the public (unmaintained and rough) Rotomanu-Kopara Road.
The last section of this road crosses private land and permission needs to be obtained from the owner Bruce Burgess, phone +64 3 429 0901. There is a gate at the start of the road that is padlocked. The key needs to be obtained from Bruce.
The turn off at the locked gate is signposted, and there is a signpost at the start of the track in the carpark (paddock).
Parts of this route run along ever-changing braided riverbeds and travel along them is at the discretion of tramping parties. Rivers rise quickly in wet weather and a good knowledge of river crossing is essential.
Parties should be experienced and self-contained with cookers and a tent/tent fly in case of delays. Maps and a compass are essential.
Experience in the alpine environment is needed if you are going to head up to the Morgan Tops. The area is rugged with a high point of 1462 m. Navigation skills are needed as it would be easy to get lost in claggy / whiteout conditions.