Mount Crichton Loop Track
*Mount Crichton track current has storm damage. Check the latest DoC track conditions before heading out.
An easy trail passing through native beech forests, over rivers and past a waterfall, with views of Lake Dispute and, Lake Whakatipu and fascinating glimpses of Central Otago goldmining history.
• Distance: 6.4 km loop
• Duration: 2.5 hours
• Difficulty: Easy, with a gradual 370m climb.
• Best time of year to go: Good all year but be prepared for ice on the trail in winter.
• Location: Between Queenstown and Glenorchy
• Start / finish point: Park just after the Twelve Mile Delta Campground, 12 km from Queenstown on the Glenorchy-Queenstown Road. The carpark is on your left as you head towards Glenorchy.
• Insider’s tip: The trail is well maintained, but if it’s been raining, wear good boots for the muddy sections. Bring insect repellent because the sandflies are friendly. There are toilets at the carpark and at the Sam Summers Hut.
The Mount Crichton Loop Track hiking experience
At the start of the trail, you can go left over the bridge or right. Left is an easier climb with a more gradual incline. If you head left you’ll climb through beech forest until you come to an old mining tunnel once used as a tail race in Twelve Mile Creek Gorge. It’s safe to explore and a short return trail out the other end takes you down to a clearing along the river.
Just along from the tunnel you reach the halfway point of the track, and the Sam Summers hut. Built on the site of a Chinese goldminers camp in the 1930s, Sam lived here with his family while prospecting for gold. Although the hut is no longer available for overnight use you can still explore it during the day and read about the history of the area. It takes about an hour to walk to the hut, which is the halfway point of the track.
After Sam Summers Hut, the track continues to follow Twelve Mile Creek. Walk through mountain beech and mānuka, and you’ll find yourself at a viewpoint overlooking Lake Dispute and Lake Whakatipu. Here you can follow the track back to the car park or take the Lake Dispute Track out onto the Glenorchy Road.