Hooker Valley Track

Hooker Valley Track

Stretching for about 60 km (37 miles) through the rugged Southern Alps, Aoarki/Mt. Cook National Park is home to 19 peaks over 3,000 meters (9,800′) tall, including New Zealand’s tallest summit (and the park’s namesake). Our first hike of our month-long New Zealand adventure, the Hooker Valley Track is an easy out-and-back through the scenic alpine terrain. Gaining only 606 feet (185 m) of elevation over 7 miles (11 km), the flat route weaves around the shores of Mueller Lake, through the scrubby brush of Hooker Valley, and is punctuated by three steel suspension bridges that span a rushing glacial river, each swaying from side to side in the wind as you make your way across. The path culminates at Hooker Lake – a milky, glacial pool nestled at the base of 12,218-foot (3,724-meter) Mt. Cook, where small icebergs float in the opaque waters, each shimmering a dazzling crystalline blue in the early morning sun.

Total distance: 7.1 miles
Elevation gain: 606 feet