Trip Summary

What: Shackleton Walk.
Where: South Georgia Island.
When: November 15, 2022 (4 hours).
Distance: about 3.5 miles.
Highlights: a piece of Antarctic history, fabulous scenery and wildlife.


The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, by Caroline Alexander, is a fantastic book about one of the most extraordinary expeditions in modern times.

The only way to get to the start of this walk is via a ship. Landings on both ends of the walk are made by Zodiacs. The walk was opportunistic and not part of our trip’s published itinerary. Perhaps some cruises schedule this walk in advance. In the past, there have been tour operators offering an expedition repeating the entire Shackleton hike across the island.

Why we went

We were on a birding cruise to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia Island, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Various landings were planned on South Georgia Island, and we were fortunate that the former British Officer of the Island was on board our ship. He volunteered to lead a group on the Shackleton Walk. The seas and weather were calm on walk day, making Zodiac landings possible. There was no way we would miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

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Many thanks to our friend Whitney M. for joining us on this walk and providing some of the photographs.

Amy’s Assessment

This walk was one of the five highlights of our three week trip to the Falklands, South Georgia, and the Antarctic Peninsula. It was viscerally and intellectually fascinating to be on the ground that Shackleton, Frank Worsley, and Tom Crean walked on the final leg of their journey to Stromness. The scenery, weather, and wildlife were fantastic.

James’ Assessment

This walk was completely different than the routes we normally have published. It was short, and we had 45 other people hiking with us. However, the story of Ernest Shackleton and his extraordinary 1914-1917 expedition is almost unbelievable and yet true. We decided that including this walk on our site was worthwhile.

A chance to follow in at least a portion of Shackleton’s footsteps was not to be missed and was a major highlight of our entire three-week trip. The scenery was magnificent.

Notes for Potential Hikers

Route Description

The route that we followed was only the final small segment of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s May 1916 crossing of South Georgia: his approach to the Stromness Whaling Station. The route that he traveled has been the subject of much debate, and there are several different possibilities that have been mapped. Our walk followed what was likely to have been Shackleton’s route, but our conditions were entirely different from his. We had not spent 20 months trapped by ice in Antarctic waters; nor rowed a 22-foot boat 850 miles across storm-ravaged seas. We were well fed, well-clothed, and our guide led the way.

Trail Conditions

The route was easy to follow because we followed the guide, as will any other walkers who take this hike. Visitors to South Georgia are not permitted to wander freely, as all human activity is highly regulated in order to protect the environment. The only ambiguous section is at the start through the tussocks and our guide led the way. Fur seals can hide in the tall grasses and sometimes cannot be seen until you almost step on one.

The downhill scree slopes required a bit of caution as the footing was loose in places.

Food and Water

Carry your own.


We were fortunate and had fine weather. Any conditions are possible.