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Icing on the Lake, Canterbury

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Icing on the LakeBeginner

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

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Trail Information






Mt Cook Village

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, small hills only



1:15 (Slow)
0:50 (Moderate)
0:35 (Fast)



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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.

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Features of interest

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

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 30%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 50%

Route Data


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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Start at the carpark for the Tasman Glacier trails

    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



  • Staying Safe


    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!

  • Post run indulgence

    Old Mountaineers Cafe or the Hermitage
    Mt Cook Village

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