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Hooker Valley Track

Easy/Intermediate
 4.8 (25) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Epic Southern Alps scenery every step of the way.


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Map Key

6.2

Miles

10.0

KM

Loop

2,882' 878 m

High

2,498' 761 m

Low

449' 137 m

Up

449' 137 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

7%

Max Grade (4°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Overview

On a sunny day this is one of the world's greatest easy day hikes or runs. Seriously. Expect unparalleled mountain scenery, complete with knock-out views of Mount Cook and neighboring peaks, groaning glaciers, crashing waterfalls, rushing rivers, and icy lakes. The trail crosses three exciting swinging suspension bridges as it meanders gently through the wildflower-strewn Hooker Valley.

Need to Know

This is a deservedly popular walk, so expect company. Mornings and evenings offer beautiful light and a chance to escape the crowds. There are a couple of picnic tables along the way. You can actually walk next to the shore of Hooker Lake catching some real icebergs!

Description

From the trailhead at the White Horse Hill Campsite, follow signs toward Mueller Point and the Hooker Valley. The trail begins by meandering up and around a glacial moraine that obscures views of the valleys ahead. At the top of the short initial climb, the lookout at Mueller Point offers a first glimpse of the spectacular scenery to come. From the vista point, views extend across Mueller Lake to the glacier-clad headwalls of Mount Sefton which rises some 2,300 meters from the valley floor.

Beyond Mueller Lookout, the trail drops briefly to the first of three impressive swinging bridges over the Hooker River. The first bridge is named Lower Hooker Suspension Bridge, the second Hooker Bluff Bridge and the last one is Upper Hooker Bridge. From here, the route meanders gently up the Hooker Valley, and after the second swinging bridge views of Mount Cook at the head of the valley dominate the scene. Enjoy the amazing scenery in all directions and alpine wildflowers on the easy walk on graded trail and boardwalks. Shortly after the third swinging bridge, the trail ends at a lookout over Hooker Lake. At the top end of the lake, the Hooker Glacier calves icebergs into the water and an unobstructed view of Mount Cook rises above. Once you're done taking in the scenery, head back the way you came.

Flora & Fauna

The beautiful and endemic Mount Cook Lily is abundant on this trail. Also, watch for Kea, which can be found anywhere along the route.

History & Background

The Alpine Memorial near the start of the tramp is dedicated to all those climbers that have lost their lives trying to conquer Mt. Cook. The sign in the memorial reads "To the memory of mountaineers and guides lost to the hills".

Shared By:

Almonzo Wilder with improvements by Nikos Taskos

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 25 votes

#328

Overall
  4.8 from 25 votes
5 Star
76%
4 Star
24%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in New Zealand

#328

Overall
35 Views Last Month
5,526 Since Dec 14, 2014
Easy/Intermediate

58%
0%
38%
0%
4%
0%

Photos

Mueller Lake and Mt. Sefton from the Mueller Lookout
Dec 14, 2014 near Mount C…, NZ
First of three swinging footbridges along the Hooker Valley Track.
Dec 14, 2014 near Mount C…, NZ
Mount Cook rising up out of the Hooker Valley.
Dec 14, 2014 near Mount C…, NZ
Hooker River as shot from Lower Hooker Suspension Bridge
Apr 11, 2020 near Mount C…, NZ
Hooker Valley with Mt. Cook at the right
Feb 17, 2018 near Mount C…, NZ
Hikers approaching the end of the Hooker Valley Track
Feb 17, 2018 near Mount C…, NZ

Current Trail Conditions

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Check-Ins

Aug 20, 2020
Dominick Benedetto
incredibly scenic and mellow trail — 2h 45m
Feb 28, 2020
Emily Nichols
6.2mi — 2h 30m
Jan 18, 2020
Nicole Kelly
Nice fairly flat route. Beaut glacier lake with ice bergs at the end. 6.2mi — 2h 45m
Nov 26, 2019
Jake Rice
Nov 13, 2019
Andrew Hart
Rain and wind. 6.2mi — 9h 00m
Nov 13, 2019
Yajing Gao
Sep 20, 2019
Wenjun Cui
Mar 19, 2019
Joey Altchech