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Hooker Valley Track

Aoraki Mount Cook National Park

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Hooker Valley Track

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  • Matagouri shrubs (Discaria toumatou) dominate the grasslands near the trailhead.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Looking east from the trail at the massive, scree-covered Southern Alps.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The view leading up to the first suspension bridge across the Hooker River. In the near background is Mueller Lake, and behind the lake covered in clouds is Mount Sefton (3,151 m).- Hooker Valley Track
  • Approaching the first suspension bridge.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The silty water of the Hooker River. Mueller Lake and Mueller Glacier is in the center, and the glacier looks more like a rockfall.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Mueller Lake and Mueller Glacier.- Hooker Valley Track
  • A viewpoint with a view of Mueller Lake, Mueller Glacier, and the trail.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The second suspension bridge, the longest and highest of the three.- Hooker Valley Track
  • A stream in the grasslands between the second and third suspension bridges.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Walking into the Hooker Valley. Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,724 m) would dominate the view from here on a clear day.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The third suspension bridge.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The third suspension bridge.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Looking the other direction near the end of the main eastern approach to Hooker Lake.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Clouds breaking over the Hooker Valley.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Looking above Hooker Lake, where you can find picnic tables.- Hooker Valley Track
  • Icebergs in Hooker Lake viewed from the beach on the east side. In the background is the Hooker Glacier and New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook (3,724 m).- Hooker Valley Track
  • The western approach to Hooker Lake is less defined and requires some routefinding.- Hooker Valley Track
  • The view from the west side of Hooker Lake.- Hooker Valley Track
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Magnificent views at every turn. Humongous glaciers and mountains. Family friendly. Very close to Aoraki Mount Cook Village.
Cons: 
Heavy crowds. Exposed to weather and wind.
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Region:
Other,
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
360.89 ft (110.00 m)
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Preferable Season(s):
Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
3.11 mi (5.00 km)
Trail type: 
There-and-back
Trailhead Elevation: 
2,493.44 ft (760.00 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Contributor

If you are looking for an easy hike in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park that features quite literally everything a hiker could possibly want – from rivers, lakes, icebergs and glaciers to wildflowers and incredible vistas – look no further that the Hooker Valley Track. This is a hike that should be on any adventurer’s bucket list. It’s probably not a hike that will push one’s physical limits, especially compared to the hike to Mueller Hut, the other trail from the White Horse Hill Trailhead. As a result, this hike is no doubt the best option for families visiting Aoraki Mount Cook National Park.

The well-defined track begins through a grassland of matagouri shrubs before coming up upon the first suspension bridge, and it then enters thicker shrub forests that lead up into the second and largest suspension bridge about 2.5 kilometers from the trailhead. Be sure to look to the left/east from the trail and look for the lower part of the Mueller Hut route that scales the mountain across the grassland.

After the second suspension bridge the trail enters the Hooker Valley in earnest, and hikers will enjoy a mix of plant life on the ground and mountains soaring into the sky on both sides. On a clear day Mount Cook will dominate the view in front of hikers. Look for a trail that heads to the left just before the third suspension bridge on the left side of the Hooker River for an optional adventure. Otherwise, the main view and picnic area at Hooker Lake is just beyond the suspension bridge.

Hooker Valley is a day hike destination, and hikers will leave the way they entered. A word of caution about this hike: Dress for rapidly changing weather. The location of Hooker Lake, nestled between three of the largest and most heavily glaciated peaks in New Zealand, makes it far windier and prone to precipitation than Mount Cook Village. Even if there is not a cloud in the sky at the village, any incoming weather from the other side of the Southern Alps will often hit Hooker Valley very quickly and forcefully, or it may not hit Mount Cook Village at all. 

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(3 within a 30 mile radius)

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