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Pets allowed
No
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
5.00 km (3.11 mi)
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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. 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

Not Required

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.

Trailhead Elevation

2,493.44 ft (760.00 m)

Net Elevation Gain

360.89 ft (110.00 m)

Address

Hooker Valley Rd
227
Mount Cook National Park 7999
New Zealand

Features

Historically significant
Waterfalls
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Shelters
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

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