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.
Jacks Hut to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout
This route to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout begins from Bealey Chasm Car Park, opposite from Bealey Chasm Walk and the north end of Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. Find a small green house called Jacks Hut next to the track to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout. A sign explains the hut’s history:
The road west was built in less than a year. A thousand men with picks, shovels, rock drills, and explosives worked through the bitter winter of 1865. Roadmen lived in simple cottages like this one, beside the section of road they cared for. This rare example of a roadman’s cottage was originally built at Rough Creek (5 km east of here) in 1879. It was home to roadman Jack Murray for over 20 years. In 1909-10, the hut was moved here and roadman Ned Roberts made it home. Ned quit in 1919 and Jack O’Kane moved it.
Apparently, this was a home for Jacks. O’Kane was the last roadman to live here. Afterward, the hut was then used for artists in residence.
Begin hiking south on Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. A sign next to the hut puts the distance to the lookout at 1.2 kilometers (and 2.1 kilometers to Arthur’s Pass Village). Ascend gradually through beech forest, crossing a couple footbridges over small streams. The track leaves the trees and enters an area of alpine grasses with big views of the nearby mountains. Power lines run roughly parallel to the track and are the only obstruction to the above-the-tree views. The road is visible below the track on the right. Avalanche Peak rises to the southwest, topping out at 1,833 meters. Farther south, Mount Bealey is a few meters taller. Look up the valley to the northwest toward the rugged top of Mount Rolleston, which is 2,275 meters tall.
Sections of boardwalk break up the dirt track as it crosses the shrubland and begins to dip in and out of beech tree groves. After passing through the base of an electrical tower, drop into beech forest and cross a stream, 650 meters from the start. Continue along the track and walk below another electrical tower.
The forest becomes denser and the track turns downhill, reaching a series of staircases with a total of over 125 steps that go down into the gorge below Bridal Veil Falls. A cliff of dark rock borders the staircase to the left. At the bottom of the cliff, you’ll see a footbridge crossing Bridal Veil Creek.
Get down to the bottom of the steps and cross the bridge, 1.15 kilometers from the start. Look upstream toward short cascades in the tumbling creek downstream from the waterfall. Across the creek, Arthur’s Pass Walking Track climbs out of the gorge as steeply as it came down. Now its time to walk up at least 125 steps. At the top, you’ll hit a junction. Take the spur to the right to check out Bridal Veil Falls Lookout. Straight ahead, Arthur’s Pass Walking Track continues for another 900 meters down to Arthur’s Pass Village.
From the junction, walk a couple meters out to an overlook where a picnic table 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 down Arthur’s Pass Walking Track toward the village and Devils Punchbowl Walking Track. Otherwise, return the way you came. The 75 meters (245 feet) of elevation change between the high and low points on Arthur’s Pass Walking Track between Jacks Hut and Bridal Veil Falls Lookout includes stair climbs in both directions. 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 95 kilometers. Pass through Arthur’s Pass Village to reach Bealey Chasm Car Park, which is on the left across the road from Jacks Hut. Cross the road to see the hut and hike south on Arthur’s Pass Walking Track. 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 74.7 kilometers southeast to Bealey Chasm Car Park on the south west of Arthur’s Pass.
Trailhead address: State Highway 73, Arthur’s Pass Village, Canterbury, 7875, New Zealand
Trailhead coordinates: -42.9196, 171.5586 (42° 55′ 10.56″S 171° 33′ 30.96″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.
|Arthur's Pass Village to Bridal Veil Falls Lookout |
This 1.8 kilometer round trip hike up Arthur's Pass Walking Track takes a gradual approach to a viewpoint with a perspective of Bridal Veil Falls and surrounding mountains.
|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.