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Copland Hot Pools Splash'n'Dash, West Coast

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Copland Hot Pools Splash'n'DashIntermediate - Experienced

Submitted by Mike Steel

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Trail Information





West Coast

Fox Glacier

Back country - remote

Out and Back

Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Intermediate - Experienced

7:00 (Slow)
5:30 (Moderate)
4:00 (Fast)



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If you're near Fox glacier, it's a pleasant in-and-back run up to the Copland hotpools which are delightful natural thermal pools by a hut nestled under the imposing steep and glaciated mountains near Mt Sefton.

From the carpark, follow a well-marked track the whole way, mostly through bush on the left side (true right) of the Karangarua and then Copland rivers, with several crossings of side streams (some bridged if needed), which is runnable for most of the year, except after/during heavy rain. There is a small hut at roughly half way (Architect Creek hut just off the trail).

The track steepens further upvalley before descending slightly and then arriving at the spacious Welcome Flat hut. Two minutes from the hut is the cluster of hot, bubbly, soft-bottomed pools with a stream nearby to cool off in, well worth spending some time soaking in and admiring the views. Depending on the season you're likely to have the hot pools to yourself (since most trampers will be heading out or heading in) though you might still want to pack a tiny pair of togs/bikini/whatever in your running kit in case it's more busy. Sunhat, sunglasses and insect repellent might also enhance the experience. Further up-valley the trail leads to Douglas Rock hut, and beyond that it becomes an alpine route as it winds its way up to the famous Copland Pass on the main divide. Once you've blissed out enough in the hot pools head back the way you came - it's a bit easier and faster being mostly downhill.

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Features of interest

The hot pools are perhaps the best in NZ. The views of the Sierra Range from there add to the experience.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 50%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Route Data


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  • Access

    26km south of Fox Glacier village you come to an impressive bridge over the Karangarua river. A few metres before it is a short gravel road that leads to a DOC carpark/campsite and the start of the trail.

    Plenty of parking, and not visible from the highway.

    26 km

    21 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Well-marked track the whole way


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

    Plenty of water in side-streams and at the hut

    Track can become impassable after heavy rain.

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