Home / Trips / Otago

Valley of the Trolls, Mt Aspiring National Park

The Valley of the trolls and Lake Harris viewed from Lake Wilson. Photo: Sarah K Smith
Mt Aspiring National Park
14km to Lake Wilson
Total Ascent
8-10hr return from Routeburn Shelter Road End
From Harris Saddle on the Routeburn Track or via Deadmans Track in the Hollyford Valley
GPX File
Valley of the Trolls (gpx, yo 162 KB)
Your device does not support GPX files. Please try a different device.

For those looking for a special side trip off the Routeburn Track that offers a pristine environment and an uncrowded location a world away from the busy Great Walk, an overnight stay at Lake Wilson, passing through an area known as the Valley of the Trolls, comes highly recommended.

The Valley of the Trolls is reached from Harris Saddle by tracing around the western side of Lake Harris via a goat track. The valley is a fragile swampy area so you,ll need to be careful as you pick your way through the swampy tarns. At the head of the valley, the outlet of Lake Wilson descends as a waterfall down a deep gut in the wall. A variety of unmarked routes provide access to Lake Wilson depending on your experience and the conditions.

Whichever route you choose, navigation, route finding skills and a head for heights are required. Gaining the headwall reveals Lake Wilson surrounded by a series of lesser unnamed peaks with Mt Erebus to the north-east.

Pitching a tent here makes for a magical campsite.Rocks near the lake outlet provide a superb vantage point, offering unrivalled views over the Valley of the Trolls and Lake Harris to the Routeburn Track.

A shorter, but more brutal, way to Harris Saddle is via Deadmans Track from the Hollyford Valley.