Trail Run Project Logo

The second day of the Milford Track following the Clinton River with spectacular views of the mountains on either side.

Your Rating:      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key







1,357' 413 m


483' 147 m


1,899' 579 m


1,182' 360 m



Avg Grade (3°)


Max Grade (18°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers


Day 2 of the Milford Track starts easy with little elevation gain. From Glade House, head northeast and cross the Clinton River over the suspension bridge. The first part of the track crosses through beech forest with the occasional water fern colonies. After 1.5 miles (shortly after mile marker 2), the track closely follows a river bend north revealing a great view of Dore Pass, the land route to access Milford Track. Shortly thereafter, you can explore the wetlands ecosystem and get a great view of Clinton Valley by taking the short Wetlands Nature Walk on the left. At 2.1 miles (shortly before mile marker 3), a track on the left leads to Clinton Hut.

Around mile marker 5 (at 4.2 miles), you reach the point where the north and west branch of Clinton River merge. Right at the fork you can also get a good view into the northern part of Clinton Valley and onto Mount Mitchelson (6352 feet) towering impressively above the valley. You continue along the west branch of Clinton River. Shortly before mile marker 7 (at 6.5 miles), you cross a huge landslide from 1982 that blocked the Clinton River and created Dead Lake after drowning a large number of beech trees. The water in Dead Lake is very still and you can see plenty of eel and trout. Looking north you can now also see Hirere Falls, a 330 feet waterfall that looks exceptionally good after rain. The area after the landslide is very prone to flooding, and it is not unusual to wade through knee deep water even at dry times.

At 7.2 miles (right in between mile markers 7 and 8), you reach Hirere Falls Shelter, a good lunch spot and also a great viewpoint for Hirere Falls with access to the Clinton River. After the shelter, the forest will clear a bit and offer you the first glimpse at Mackinnon Pass. Just a few minutes further along, the Hidden Lake Track is to the left. It's a nice and short run to a great lake and waterfall. The track will rejoin Milford Track, so it's not a detour. Past mile marker 9 (at roughly 8.7 miles), the beech forest opens up completely to the prairie and offers stunning views of the entire valley. The highlight is Prairie Lake (to the left at 9.3 miles), a great swimming spot for the brave.

After mile marker 10 (with Prairie Shelter to the right), the track starts climbing again through beech forest. Reach another shelter called Bus Stop at 10.6 miles that is used in the event of flooding. Cross the wide rocky river bed and reach Pompolona Lodge.

Flora & Fauna

It is a rare treat to see one of the endangered Blue Ducks (Whio) on the track. They have a fleshy tip on their beaks that allows them to scrape invertebrates off the rocks to eat.

You can find plenty of Water Fern (Matata) in some of the moist areas. It forms large colonies and contributes to the lush forest green. The other plant that stands out is the Green Hooded Orchid (Tutukiwi). It has developed a very elaborate mechanism to disseminate its pollen. Insects get trapped inside the hood by a tongue, covered in pollen, and then released again to pollinate the next flower.


Shared By:

Tilman Giese

Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 1 vote


  5.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in New Zealand


20 Views Last Month
815 Since Dec 28, 2017



Clinton Valley and Hirere Falls from the meadow southeast of Dead Lake
Jan 5, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Looking back down the Clinton Valley from the Milford Track
Jan 6, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
A view into Clinton Valley from the Hidden Lake Track
Jan 6, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Milford Track in the upper Clinton Valley with its numerous waterfalls only flowing after rain
Jan 6, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
View from the clearing next to Hirere Falls Shelter
Jan 5, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ
Clinton River meandering through the Clinton Valley
Jan 6, 2018 near Te Anau, NZ


Current Trail Conditions

Add Your Check-In