53.72 mi

Elevation gain

10,850 ft

Technical difficulty


Elevation loss

11,240 ft

Max elevation

5,331 ft



Min elevation

1,285 ft

Trail type

One Way
  • Photo of Rees Dart Track


4 days one hour 52 minutes




December 7, 2020


January 2020

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5,331 ft
1,285 ft
53.72 mi

Viewed 337 times, downloaded 6 times

near Paradise, Otago (New Zealand)

When we started off on the hike, the main goal was to see Dart Glacier and Cascade Saddle. It did not disappoint even though the Dart isn’t the most impressive glacier I’ve ever seen. Glaciers are only part of the scenery here as the many views down the valleys made by those glaciers and the teal rivers that flow from the glaciers are every part of what makes the hike impressive. Within these long valleys were also the most pleasant surprises, the many meadows that made doing a twirl irresistible.

There are several aspects that made the hike difficult, but total distance and total elevation gain weren’t really among them. If you stay to the 5 day recommended itinerary, the total elevation gain and distance were all manageable. What is difficult is dealing with the swampy trail along the Rees, the many speargrass that’s looking to take a bite out of you, or the just how relentless the elevation changes may be on these advanced trails. i.e. what are switchbacks? Luckily for us, we weren’t bothered by sandflies during our hike, but they can be a major difficulty along the trail. The Rees Dart track is rated as advanced by the DOC and they are pretty accurate about those ratings. The most technical section is the Cascade Saddle Route with several stream crossings that can become swollen and very dangerous and care is needed for the scramble up the steep scree slope to gain the saddle with plenty of exposure. It is definitely a section that you need to be aware of the conditions and be ok with turning around in case the weather doesn’t work out for you.

For our full report, see:

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