5 - 6
FATMAP difficulty grade
The hike from Wye Creek to Lake Alta in New Zealand is a challenging, 13.5 km / 6-7 hour hike that takes you through beautiful alpine terrain in New Zealand's Southern Alps.
Managing the logistics of the hike is one of the more complicated parts of the day.
It is strongly suggested to only attempt the trail in one direction (from the Wye Creek car park on Lake Wakatipu).
Out and back is possible, but makes for a 12+ hour day of swift hiking and is extremely challenging.
Starting out at Wye Creek car park, follow the Wye Creek Route through a series of switchbacks up towards the trail proper.
There are a series of spectacular views along the way, and rocks and cliffs around are popular climbing spots.
Once above the treeline the trail follows the stream through tussocks and native bush.
The trail is not always well-signed From here, with orange triangles and the occasional cairn offering some guidance.
It is worth remembering that the stream should stay on your left as you climb up towards the waterfall. The waterfall in itself is a bit of a scramble.
The rocks can be loose and there is no defined path so pick your route carefully.
Once above the waterfall, you'll start to catch glimpses of Lake Alta and the end of the hike.
However, be warned: this part of the trail experiences rapid changes in weather, and often has late-season snow.
As well as being challenging, the route is enormously rewarding with views over one of the most stunning lakes in New Zealand.
Not always well-touristed, if you have not left a car at the Alta car park make sure you have arranged transport in advance, or be prepared to walk the 14km on the road back into town. The hike is recommended for experienced hikers who are in good physical condition.
It is important to be properly equipped for the hike, including proper hiking boots, equipment for extreme weather conditions (including snow and ice) and carrying plenty of water and snacks.