Looking for a great trail in Nelson Lakes National Park? AllTrails has 12 great hiking trails, views trails, walking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Gearing up for a challenge? There are 6 hard trails in Nelson Lakes National Park ranging from 5 to 24.3 miles and from 2,024 to 5,846 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!




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Did this last week. Incredible hike and views. Switchbacks up and back down, but worth it. Can see Mt. Owen and other peaks in the distance, and surrounded by snow-topped ridges. Loved it

beautiful walk done with residual snow! so nice!

A beautiful walk though lovely Beech forests. Easy to do in a morning, picnic in one of the little beach coves and catch the boat back.

Such a nice day hike! I would agree with other users in that it is more on the upper side of moderate rather than hard. It took us 2 hours and 40 on the actual track, not including lunch. We went another 2-3 km on the Roberts Ridge route, which I would definitely recommend! That gave us some extra views with a cool walk along the ridge. It can get really windy on that part though!! Definitely would suggest the pinchgut track first, the ascent through switchbacks was tough but not extreme, and it’s pretty quick. We got up to the top in an hour and a half and we are in moderate fitness. We got really lucky with the weather for late April, about 23 degrees with a full sun. It made for a great day with a nice hour and 10 min decline from the ridge track cutoff (we were really quick at that point though lol). 10/10 would recommend for some good lake and ridge views !!!!

Difficult trail with quite a few switchbacks - the roots of trees you have to navigate your way around on the trails can be especially slick after rain. All that to say, the climb is unbelievably worth it! Second the prior recommendations for pushing past Parachute Rocks to the top - the views of the Saint Arnaud Ranges on the other side of the range and the mountain lakes are outstanding and well worth the extra 15-20 minutes of (albeit steep) climbing. Couldn't recommend this hike enough!

amazing trail ! Enjoy and don't forget to take some beers at the top ;)

Splendid trail with gorgeous but !! But you need to be sure footed, and to have good weather. I arrived from mount Cedric trail and went down on that trail with crazy winds all along the ridge. I sometimes had to lie down not to fall. The path is really well indicated.

7 months ago

Really nice hike through forest, moutains and lakes. I stayed in Lakehead hut, upper travers Hut, Blue lake Hut and Sabine Hut (amazing sunset on the lake). it's an easy path if you do the classic trail as there is not so much elevation appart from the saddle. A side trip to blue lake is really nice to add and to Angelus hut as well ( you have to book the hut in advance if you want to stay up there overnight). I took the mount Cedric trail and then the Robert Ridge : it has absolutely incredible views but be prepared to have a really steep trail to glum (1400m up for only 7km). And you want good weather. I had such strong winds on the Robert Ridge that I literally had to lie down a few times. Also I would recommend staying in coldwater instead of lakehead as the hut has a nicer view :) bad you can see eels in the water

great hike ,pinchgut is the best way up

by far my favourite hike in nz. diverse views and terrain and not as busy as the nz great walks.

recommend going to the highest peak on the ridge...only an extra 15mins and you can see the whole lake!! absolutely incredible .... have to do it with good weather..

8 months ago

Did the track clockwise, the first part (lakehead track) is easy walking along the lake, ends in a nice and long swingbridge. The next part (cascade track) moderately gains altitude at the beginning, then after 20 kilometers of walking comes the hiking part. Really nice streams fall down on the craggy area, but you need to be careful when it’s windy up there, considering that your legs are not that fresh after 20km. Once you have gained 600-700m altitude, you reach Angelus hut which sits next to a beautiful lake. The surrounding is awesome, it is hard to stop staring it through the windows. If the weather is nice, take the robert’s ridge track on the second day, the view is beautiful all along the way. Some parts are rocky and steepy, they reqiure stable legs and some hiking experience.

Pretty steep on rocks towards the top! Windy up there too. Great views

Absolutely amazing hike! Steep uphill at the start with views of the lake then a steady hike across the top of the ridge. Lots of really fun rock hopping made it really exciting and a bit tough at times :D Definitely give yourself the whole day if you plan on on doing this in one day!

Great walk, nice hut! Hut and campsite was booked, Butter we gave it a go. Hut keeper said, that it is possible to tent at the official campground, but we have to pay the double (20 NZD pp.), There is also a freedom campground 5 min behind the hut. We chose this and were allowed to use toiletts and water form the hut. Lakewater is also drinkable and you should jump inside, it's really great!

10 months ago

11 hours for this loop, take care with the wind near st robert summit and prepare to have your shoes wet for the track near the lake !

Nice hike! I'd start from the upper parking lot - the track up has lots of shade, which is nice for the uphill, and then you can do the downhill section in the full sun instead. Took us 3 hours including a lunch break - I'd say it's more moderate than hard!

11 months ago


Thu Nov 08 2018

Amazing views, interesting and diverse tracks, nice huts.

Nice solid track the whole way and amazing views of the lakes. It even started snowing once we reached the hut!

switchbacks for days both up and down in the exposed sun. stellar views and well maintained.

Quite steep but beautiful walk. Plaque said 5 hours we did it in 4 with kids 10 and 12 year old with brakes. Rewarding trek.

Awesome views but bloody tough climb. Definitely not moderate!

this is a very interesting loop. I would rate it on the high end of moderate versus hard. I started the loop going up the steepest portion first and came down the less steep and longer side. while it is a consistently uphill slope, the trail is solid and winds it's way in and out of forested areas with excellent views of Lake Routiti. the last section is very steep. you can rest at the shelter at the top before heading down again. the track down has some deep ruts and is mostly in the open without shade. The trail ends at the lower car park, not the upper car park, so you may have another 10 minutes of walking on the gravel road if you parked at the upper car park.

Challenging. Switchbacks for days. Steep at the end. But well worth it! Make sure you do the last bit up to the ridge

Mon Mar 05 2018

Note: This is the same trail as "Lake Rotoiti Lakehead Track." My photos include pics of the "Cascade Track" from Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut (trail not listed on AllTrails).

Mon Mar 05 2018

Note: This is the same trail as "Lake Rotoroa Route." My photos include pics of the "Cascade Track" from Lakehead Hut to Angelus Hut (trail not listed on AllTrails).

Beautiful view of the lake and surrounding mountain tops on the way up and at the top.

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