Lake Marian Track

Lake Marian Track

Location - Milford Road, South Island, New Zealand
Distance - 2.5 km return
Elevation gain - 695 m
Duration - 3 hours return
Grade - 3, Intermediate

Lake Marian (695m) is located in the Milford Sound area and is a hidden gem not to be missed. This is an extraordinary hike with the most beautiful end reward that most visitors who come to Milford Sound miss.


  • Dense, mossy, forest trail
  • Snow-capped mountains and unpolluted skies
  • Whitewater
  • Fresh water lake
  • Towering waterfalls
  • Panoramic views

The journey

The Lake Marian trail starts at a carpark and is 3 hours return. The first 30 minutes of the track is fairly easy as it has been well maintained but after that, the track steepens and the footing becomes more technical. The trail climbs gradually through forest and avalanche clearings.

Along the way, views across the valley toward Key Summit and the Alisa Mountains are fantastic. Occasional short sections require hands and balance and make for the biggest challenges on the walk. The grade lessens as the track climbs into the "hanging" portion of the valley, and Lake Marian is reached after a very short descent.

The scenery is peacefully dramatic, with the calm, mirrored lake backdropped by soaring snow-capped mountains and the occasional roar of distant avalanches. There are limited areas to set up camp as it is mostly rock with patches of grass here and there but it is unlikely that anyone else would choose to camp here overnight so space is not an issue.

The lake is fresh glacial water from the mountains and would be an incredible swimming hole in the summer months albeit still cold. There are no camp facilities except for a drop toilet just before you arrive at the lake. As this is a hike in hike out campsite, you must carry your rubbish back out.

Be sure to check the weather as the trail can become very wet, slippery and muddy.

Getting there

The Lake Marian Track is accessed from the unsealed Hollyford Road, off the Milford Road (before the tunnel entering Milford Sound). The track is signposted from a car park area about 1 km from the turn-off.

Interactive map

Essential Gear

  • Water (3 litres)
  • Food & snacks
  • Tent & sleeping gear
  • Camera & tripod
  • Swimmers
  • Headlight / torch
  • Insect repellent


  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Photography
  • Book reading
  • Meditation & yoga
  • Rock skimming :D

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