St James Walkway: Stunning Alpine Scenery
This tranquil subalpine track has long been a favourite destination for trampers. Suitable for all ages and abilities, the 66 kilometre track usually takes five days.
There are five serviced huts on the walkway and you can also stay in the Magdalen and Rokeby huts.
Day 1: Lewis Pass – Cannibal Gorge Hut or Ada Pass Hut
The track leaves from the carpark near the Lewis Pass summit. Walk across a natural open bog, through the forest then descend in a steep zig-zag into Cannibal Gorge on the Maruia River. Cross the swing bridge and walk six kilometres to the Cannibal Gorge hut set on a large grassy flat.
If you’re still full of energy, you can carry on, following the Maruia river through beech forest and open alpine fields to Ada Pass hut.
Time: 3 hr, 30 minutes (7km) to Cannibal Gorge hut (sleeps 20)
5 hours (10km) to Ada Pass Hut (sleeps 14)
Day 2: Ada Pass Hut – Christopher Hut
From Ada Pass Hut and its spectacular views of the Spenser Mountains, the track leads through native forest over Ada Pass into the Ada valley. The beech forest gradually gives way to open areas of tussock and mountain beech. Keep an eye out for the wild horses.
Pass the historic Christopher Cullers Hut on the way to Christopher Hut with a sweeping panorama of mountains and valley.
Time: 4 hr, 30 min (10.5km) (sleeps 14)
Day 3: Christopher Hut – Anne Hut
From Christopher Hut, descend down the valley along the banks of the Ada River. Walk through open flats, matagouri thickets and open rolling and swampy ground. Ada Homestead is well worth a visit. Cross a suspension bridge over the Henry River before arriving at Anne Hut and some great river views.
Time 4 hr 30 min (13km) (sleeps 20)
Day 4: Anne Hut – Boyle Flat Hut
From Anne Hut, this walk crosses several bridges as it makes its way along the Anne River.
The track continues up and over the Anne Saddle into the Boyle Valley. A suspension bridge over the Boyle River takes you within 100 metres from the Boyle Flat Hut.
Time: 7 hour 30 min (17km)(12 bunk)
Day 5: Boyle Flat Hut – Boyle settlement
The final section passes through flats and bush alongside the Boyle River. Suspension bridges criss-cross the Boyle River, leading you down the valley to reach SH7 at Boyle village.
Time: 5 hours (14.5 km)
Well signposted, and marked, the St James Walkway is not difficult but the climate can be extreme so it should not be attempted in winter unless you’re an experienced tramper.