Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Red Tarns

Mt Cook Village, Canterbury

Submitted by Anna Brooke

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 9 ?

Gnarl Factor: 50 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back


Native bush

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Farm Road / 4WD Track

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +23.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -23.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







Anybody can walk this, let's see how fast you can run it!

Well maintained path up through Alpine forest and scrub. The views are out of this world. It's one of those up up up runs then down down down after a nice loop of the red tarns.

This run goes up the easier side of Mt Sebastapol. Lots of steps, and more steps, then some more. Advise taking poles for balance.

In the morning/evening you'll enjoy little native birds keeping you company. Views of Mt Cook, Mt Sefton & Mt Annette. 

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Parking near the Mt Cook Village Public Shelter is available or at the DOC visitor centre.

1 km

1 minutes




Follow your nose on the track

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone

Nil. Don't drink from the tarns as they contain fragile alpine organisms.

Weather can be variable any time of year. Generally dry and good in summer. Watch out for snow/ice when it's cold but after a warm spell you can get away with doing it in winter in your runners. If there's snow/ice you'll need spikes as a minimum and after some storms/freezes it may be not run friendly. Just turn around if it gets too slippery.

Trail Legend

Brooke  Cox

Brooke Cox

has completed Red Tarns 5 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

A they really love a stair in this area! Great views for such a short distance

Lauren Mai Anderson

March 7, 2022

Great little jaunt, I reccomend tagging this one into the Governors bush loop.

Paul Nicholas

May 7, 2021

This is a favourite! Everytime I come to Mt Cook, i always walk up to the Red Tarns. The view of Mt Cook is just spectacular from here. Also, it's where Mr Sharpe got down on one knee, so it's also very personal place for me <3

Sharon Sharpe

August 5, 2020

One of my favourate all time places to either walk or :run". Can't remember my exact running time but it was less than an hour up and down. A special location for me as its where Mrs Sharpe said yes.

Tony Sharpe

July 31, 2020

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These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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