Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done

Icing on the Lake

Mt Cook Village, Canterbury

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 12 ?

Gnarl Factor: 39 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only




Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +4.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -6.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







This short combo provides the intrepid trail runner a chance to explore what the Tasman Lake and Blue Pools trails have to offer. The views are drop dead stunning and most times of the year you should get to see icebergs in NZ's newest and fastest growing lake which have calved off the end of NZ's longest but sadly rapidly retreating glacier.

Start first with the trail into the Blue Pools. These kettle lakes were named many moons ago when the Tasman Glacier was much more proximate (actually within the last 50 years). Sadly ice no longer maintains the azure blue colour they were named after, and now they are rainfall fed and green. There is an old trail which you follow past 3 or 4 small lakes, increasingly technical in terrain, but a fun bit of rock hopping and trail.

Eventually this unmarked route comes out onto the old Ball Pass Rd, so either loop back down that or simply retrace your steps back to the junction to the lookout.

Next is a short sharp ascent of around 100m of vert up steps and track to the lookout. Commanding 360 degree views here right up the Tasman Glacier and across the terminal lake. Soak it up, you'll also realise you are sitting right under Aoraki Mt Cook if you look up to the left skyline.

The third and final segment of this run is down to the Tasman River. its here where you will get up close and personal to the lake and any icebergs that have made their way down. Take the unmarked but obvious 'route' back around the top of the moraine, awesome short section of technical running above the lake round to the wharf. Retrace your steps back 1km approx to the carpark and your work is done.

Tasman Glacier Lake outlet; Blue Pools; Stunning mountain views; Icebergs

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Short drive from Mt Cook village. You could hitch a ride with local tourist operators for a small fee I'm sure, in the event that you've made it here without your own transport

9 km

12 minutes




Generally good.

Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Cellphone, Map

Bring some from Mt Cook

usual mountain seasonal expectations

Don't be tempted to swim in the Tasman Lake. its 3 degrees C and will likely give you a heart attack!

Old Mountaineers Cafe or the Hermitage
Mt Cook Village

Trail Legend

Raewyn Peters

Raewyn Peters

has completed Icing on the Lake once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great little link-up of all the little trails around the Tasman. Lots of overgrown matagouri in the blue pools area when I was there, got totally scratched up!

Sierra Alef-Defoe

October 10, 2023

Wonderful winter stroll… microspikes out for the first time this season… for the Blue Lakes section… lots of ice and icy snow on ground and on rocks. Not much view of Mt Cook or the glacier until the very end. Worth the wait though.

Mike Tennent

July 9, 2023

Lovely trail with lots to see. The route to the largest of the blue pools is spiky with lots of Spaniard and Matagouri so wear long pants if it’s not too hot. Mind not to scare the tourists - it can be busy at the lookout.

Richele McKenzie

January 6, 2022

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