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Key Summit

Intermediate
 4.7 (13) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

Spectacular views of some of Fiordland's finest scenery from an easily attained summit.


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Map Key

4.7

Miles

7.6

KM

Out and Back

3,080' 939 m

High

1,733' 528 m

Low

1,389' 423 m

Up

1,389' 423 m

Down

11%

Avg Grade (6°)

33%

Max Grade (18°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers

Overview

Key Summit is an outstanding easy excursion from the Milford Road or a quick side-trip from the Routeburn Track. Its position at the intersection of multiple major valley systems gives Key Summit commanding views of several of Fiordland's spectacular mountain ranges. The popularity of this track is well-deserved.

Description

The climb to Key Summit begins at The Divide trailhead, and starts on the Routeburn Track heading toward the Lake Howden and Lake Mackenzie Huts. The track is well graded and passes through pleasant forest with limited views. After a gradual climb a signed intersection points the way to the Key Summit Track, which veers above the Routeburn. The smooth track heads uphill via a series of moderate switchbacks.

As the trail emerges from the forest, there are outstanding views down the Hollyford Valley as a taste of the more expansive views to come. Near the top of the climb the trail forks as part of a worthwhile nature loop. The route meanders on the high summit ridge, past beautiful tarns and with many outstanding viewpoints. The turnaround point is the Lake Marian Viewpoint, where you can just see Lake Marian perched in a high hanging valley in the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley. After completing the summit nature loop, head back down the way you came.

Shared By:

Almonzo Wilder

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 13 votes

#514

Overall
  4.7 from 13 votes
5 Star
77%
4 Star
15%
3 Star
8%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#7

in New Zealand

#514

Overall
74 Views Last Month
12,941 Since Mar 15, 2015
Intermediate

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Photos

NZ Mountain Safety Council has created this video guide for the Routeburn Track. The alpine section of this 'Great Walk' will take the entirety of your second day. This video takes you through this alpine section in detail.
Feb 25, 2020 near Queenstown, NZ
Emily Peak from Key Summit
Mar 15, 2015 near Queenstown, NZ
Lake Marian surrounded by the mountains that source the tarn
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
Hollyford Valley
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
Ascending on the Key Summit Track, you have a magnificent view of the mountains across the Hollyford Valley
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
One of several lakes near Key Summit with Mount Christina in the background
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ

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Check-Ins

Nov 21, 2019
Sean Sherry
Apr 22, 2019
Tyler Pantle
Well-built, easy hike with great views 4.7mi — 2h 45m
Apr 20, 2019
Emily Leland KH
Mar 18, 2019
No Thanks
2h 20m
Dec 26, 2018
Ryan Phin
Dec 23, 2018
Debbie K
4.7mi
Nov 26, 2018
Greg Vassmer
4.7mi
Nov 24, 2018
Sally Mimms
Rainy day, view somewhat obscured but an all gravel/rock trail is nice on a rainy day. 4.2mi — 2h 30m