From Top Forks Hut to Top Forks Hut via Wilkin North Branch Lakes
Distance: 15.1 km (8.0 DOC hours) - Tramping track - Moderate terrain
Altitude: 600m to 1127m. Gain: 642m. Loss: 637m . Gradient: 5 deg (Moderate)
Skills: Alpine weather (2/7) - Occasional rivers (3/6)
GPX info source: Drawn on map

Note: Described in the reverse direction to your journey

Follow markers from hut down to the river and ford the South Branch (impassable after rain). The markers lead across flats to the true right of the North Branch and follows it up valley. The large side stream coming down from around Peak 1103 will rapidly become uncrossable after rain. The track climbs steeply up a spur above a gorge and then crosses through bush to reach the Disappearing Tarn (not shown on the map) nearly at the edge of the trees. There are small camp sites here but they can be under water after prolonged rain. Once clear of the bush Lake Diana is a short scramble through scrub to the west of the track. Theres more good camping around here. Past Lake Diana the upper valley is open and the track crosses bog land on the way to Lake Lucidus. A sign post points the way where the track splits. Its a short scramble up glacial tailings to reach the lake outlet. For awesome views cross the outlet stream and climb the south moraine wall which is easy going to the top. Avoid the east moraine for its many boulder holes and scrub makes travel impractical. Animal trails lead southeast off the south moraine to reach the north branch which is forded to connect with the Lake Castalia Track. Follow the poled route up valley through scrub and cross the river there where the track begins to climb up towards the Castalia gorge. If you leave the track and head west here you can reach the Lake Lucidus eastern moraine for a great view down the lake. The route to Castalia is cairned through the gorge involving another crossing to the true left and its on up through the gorge to the lake. The eastern side of the lake is easily followed around to the lake head where massive piles of rock and avalanche debris can be explored beneath Mercury and Leda Peaks. Backtrack all the way back down the valley to return to Top Forks Hut.
Top Forks Hut to Disappearing Tarn: 50 minutes
Disappearing Tarn to Lake Diana: 10 minutes
Lake Diana to Lake Lucidus: 30 minutes
Lake Lucidus to Lake Castalia: 1 hour 30
Lake Castalia to Top Forks Hut: 3 hours

Created by: Yarmoss on 2015-08-03. Experienced: 2011-01-01
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