Hopkins River (I-II) from Dodger Hut to Ram Hill 2WD carpark

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A large beautiful valley with a plethora of huts. Lots of tramping, climbing and hunting opportunities. The packrafting is generally very easy in normal flows, down a wide braided river. Very easy access, you can even get a 4wd up the valley! Good beginners trip.

This trip page is intended for inspiration only, and is collated by the editor of this site from many sources of information. Thank you to Sam Newton for the information.


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Access up valley to Dodger Hut
2WD vehicles can get as far as Ram Hill, but 4WD can usually get a further 9km up to Monument Hut. Beyond Monument, its serious 4WD terrain, but people do head up there.

It’s a day’s walk into Dodger Hut. The walking is pretty straightforward, though crossing the river to access some huts might be problematic in spring flows. In summer, flows are often so low that packrafting becomes difficult or tricky (too shallow to float) Some of the side valleys are bridged when the flows are up a little bit.

Take a look at the DOC webpage on the Hopkins Valley to learn more about access rules, huts and track descriptions.

 

The Hopkins River (I-II) from Dodger Hut to Ram Hill 2WD carpark
Sam Newton reports:

“In early November, we paddled out to Ram Hill carpark in 3.5 hours from Dodger Hut.

For the first couple of kms, there were a few bony patches and it was pretty shallow. As we passed where the Elcho Stream comes in, there was a bit more flow. At drier times of the year, you would be best to start at the confluence of the Elcho and Hopkins.

 

Picking channels was crucial though and was the difference between one of us walking/dragging for a few stretches, while the other paddled on!!

Mainly class I, with a few class II rapids.

The river buts up against a bluff on the true left 2kms south of Red Hut. That was the only tricky spot – we both got tipped out. Not a problem for any half-competent paddler.”

Gauge
Visual. Like most major braided rivers on the east coast, they get can get very low by the end of summer. The best time of year would be spring through early summer, or after a bit of rain. The rivers do flood in spectacular fashion, so make sure there’s not too much rain!

 

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