9.7 miles
4,972 ft
-3,402 ft
1 mile
High Point


  • Activities
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T5 Demanding Alpine Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Direction
    Both Directions
  • Climb Difficulty
    Black Diamond
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Sometimes hard to follow
  • Season
    December - May
  • Alpine Trail
  • eBike Allowed
  • Global Ranking
    #17085 in Hiking [+]
    • #38558 in Trail Running
  • Local Popularity
    5 in Hiking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
  • Land Owner

Multiple fatalities have occurred on this route so make sure you have the right skills and equipment. Be prepared to turn back if conditions are unfavourable – failure to make good decisions while attempting this traverse may result in
serious injury or death.

The route connects the West Matukituki Valley with the Dart Valley. DoC recommends trampers begin from the Matukituki side as ascending is much safer than descending.

From the bushline, the route is narrow, steep and very exposed - you will need your hands to climb. The track becomes slippery in wet conditions and a fall can be fatal - turn around if weather deteriorates.

If the route is attempted in reverse (from the Dart) the pylon and orange-poled route MUST be located before descending into the Matukituki Valley. This section of the route is much more difficult to go down than go up.

Avalanche hazards exist between June and November.

Access Info

From Wanaka it is 54 km to the Raspberry Creek car park – the last 30 km is unsealed. The route is then accessed from the West Matukituki Valley, which is the recommended starting point.

Although much more difficult in reverse, the route can be accessed via the Rees-Dart Track.

Public transport is available to and from all the connecting tracks.


This route is suitable only for people with navigation and high level backcountry skills and experience.

Traditionally Indigenous Territory
More Stats for Cascade Saddle Route hike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    1,571 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,527 ft
  • Altitude start
    1,527 ft
  • Altitude end
    3,097 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    4 miles
  • Distance down
    5 miles
  • Distance flat
    3,005 ft
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Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Inadequate
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
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