Bridal Veil Falls is a 108-meter (350-foot) waterfall dropping into a beech tree-shrouded canyon near Arthur’s Pass Village. While a walking track doesn’t go to the base of Bridal Veil Falls, you can get a good look at the waterfall, along with the village and surrounding peaks, from Bridal Veil Falls Lookout on Arthur’s Pass Walking Track.
Arthur’s Pass Walking Track is over three kilometers long, connecting Arthur’s Pass Village to a lookout at the pass. The track can be accessed from State Highway 73 at three different points, allowing hikers to split the track into different segments and approach Bridal Veil Falls Lookout from two directions. Starting from Arthur’s Pass Village, it is a 1.8-kilometer (1.1-mile) round trip hike to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout. Setting out from Jacks Hut at Bealey Chasm Car Park, it is a 2.5-kilometer (1.55-mile) round trip hike to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout. The hike from Arthur’s Pass Village to the lookout is gradual, passing through beech forests. The hike from Jacks Hut crosses beech forests and alpine shrublands and includes a canyon crossing that is packed with staircases.
Bridal Veil Falls Lookout from Arthur’s Pass Village
Arthur’s Pass Walking Track begins from Punchbowl Car Park in Arthur’s Pass Village. A sign next to the car park lists the distance to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout at 1 kilometer (20 minutes) away and the distance to Jacks Hut at 2.1 kilometers (50 minutes), where Bealey Chasm Walk begins. Head north from the convenient car park on a gravel trail running parallel to Bealey River. Ahead, on the right, you’ll see two bridges on the route to Devils Punchbowl Falls, which becomes visible above the bridge to the east. The bridge to the north, crossing Bealey River, is part of Arthur’s Pass Walking Track.
Continue up the track past a stone cabin on the left. Slip through a bit of forest and turn right to cross Bealey Bridge to the east side of the river. As you cross the metal bridge, take in the nice views up and down the river. On the other side, come to a junction 250 meters from the start. An information panel and a picnic table can be found at this split. Devils Punchbowl Walking Track parts to the right and is 750 meters long, ascending to the base of a fantastic waterfall. Bear left to continue another 650 meters up Arthur’s Pass Walking Track to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout.
The track quickly enters a forest dominated by moss-covered beech trees. You may spot another plant called dracophyllum, which has intense red leaves in summer and is described as resembling a plant created by Dr. Seuss. The track ascends gradually, with over 100 stairs broken up into small bunches. Roll through undulating terrain as you cross a mountainside that drops away to the west. A couple wooden bridges over small verdant streams. Eventually, approach a junction with a short spur to the lookout on the left. Straight ahead, the track drops into a gorge formed by Bridal Veil Creek. Bear left and step out a few meters to a clearing with a picnic table.
The overlook has a picnic table that hosts views in several directions. Turn to the right and you will see Bridal Veil Falls. The top of the waterfall is visible, gushing out of a crack in the cliffs. The water free falls for a good distance before disappearing behind trees at the back of the canyon, a decent distance away. The waterfall is wrapped in forest that hide much of its length. While this might not be as intimate of a waterfall view as you might have hoped, the lookout does have more to offer. In the opposite direction of the falls, you can look south over Arthur’s Pass Village. Mountains rise up in ever direction.
In the morning hours, the sun will be located behind Bridal Veil Falls, casting rays of light into the canyon that make the waterfall harder to see. Afternoon light offers better viewing of the waterfall.
If you arrange transportation for a through-hike, you can continue up Arthur’s Pass Walking Track, which goes down 125 stairs to a bridge over Bridal Veil Creek and then ascends the other side to make its way to Jacks Hut and Bealey Chasm Walk. Otherwise, return the way you came. Between Arthur’s Pass Village and Bridal Veil Falls Lookout, Arthur’s Pass Walking Track has less than 70 meters (225 feet) of elevation change. If you hike up Devils Punchbowl Walking Track before returning to the car park, you can see an even more impressive waterfall and extend this hike from 1.8 kilometers round trip to 3.3 kilometers round trip (1.1 to 2.05 miles round trip). Dogs and bikes are not allowed. Arthur’s Pass National Park is free to visit and does not have an entrance fee. No permit is required for Arthur’s Pass Walking Track, so get out and enjoy!
Directions: From Sheffield (which is just over 50 kilometers west of Christchurch), take State Highway 73 northwest for 92.7 kilometers. Drive into Arthur’s Pass Village and turn right onto Punchbowl Road. Pass a sign for Devils Punchbowl Track and Arthur’s Pass Walking Track and go down this gravel road to a car park where the trek begins. From Greymouth, on the west coast, drive south on State Highway 6 for 17 kilometers to Kumara Junction. Turn inland on SH 73 and drive 77 kilometers southeast to Punchbowl Road.
Trailhead address: Punchbowl Road, Arthur’s Pass Village, Canterbury, 7875, New Zealand
Trailhead coordinates: -42.9353, 171.56063 (42° 56′ 07.07″S 171° 33′ 38.26″E)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding New Zealand tracks, campgrounds, and lodging.
|Otira Valley Track|
This 3.8-kilometer round trip hike ventures up a valley on the north side of Arthur’s Pass, finding a footbridge over Otira River and broad views of surrounding mountains.
|Bealey Chasm Walk|
This short walk passes through moss-covered beech trees to a bridge over Bealey River where it slips through a ravine.
|Jacks Hut to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout|
This 2.5-kilometer round trip hike on Arthur’s Pass Walking Track crosses beech forests and alpine shrublands, dropping across a canyon to arrive at a view of Bridal Veil Falls.
|Devils Punchbowl Falls|
This 2-kilometer round trip hike ascends to a viewing platform near the base of an impressive waterfall that should be a top priority for Arthur’s Pass National Park visitors.
|Millennium Walk to Avalanche Creek Waterfall|
This 500-meter round trip walk goes from Arthur’s Pass National Park Visitor Centre to a bridge and viewpoint below a waterfall on Avalanche Creek as it approaches Arthur’s Pass Village.
|Old Coach Road Walk|
If you stay overnight at Greyneys Shelter Campground, start the day with this 1 to 1.4-kilometer loop that leaves the campground and travels through the surrounding forest along an old roadbed.
|Kura Tawhiti / Castle Hill Conservation Area|
This 2 to 3-kilometer hike explores a fascinating jumble of limestone boulders close to Arthur’s Pass National Park.
|More trails in New Zealand|
Explore other destinations for walking and hiking (as well camping and lodging) in New Zealand.
|Greyneys Shelter Campground|
Camping is free around this small 3-wall stone shelter along State Highway 73 south of Arthur’s Pass Village.
|Avalanche Creek Shelter Campground|
This 10-site campground in Arthur’s Pass Village has a large shelter and easy access to the park visitor center and nearby hiking tracks.
|Arthur’s Pass Alpine Motel|
This lodging option in Arthur’s Pass Village offers self-contained cabin accommodations that are convenient for visiting Arthur’s Pass National Park.
|Lake Pearson (Moana Rua) Campground|
This campground has about 20 sites along the shore of a peaceful lake between mountains in the Canterbury Region near Arthur’s Pass National Park.