“A steep climb to pretty alpine tarns with panoramic views of Mount Cook.”
— Almonzo Wilder
Birding · Views · Wildflowers
Rising steeply from Mount Cook Village, the Red Tarns Track leads to a set of beautiful alpine pools suspended high above the valley floor. The top of the trail features spectacular views of Mount Cook and its surroundings.
From the public shelter in Mount Cook Village look for the signed track to Red Tarns. The walk starts on a paved path that meanders out of the village to a bridged crossing of Black Birch Stream. From here the climbing begins, as the track heads straight up the valley wall on the lower slopes of Mount Sebastopol. The track is mainly stepped the entire way, but is steep and can have warm sun in summer.
As you climb higher, views of Mount Cook and the surrounding valleys continue to improve. Eventually, the climb tops out at a hidden bench on the valley wall, where the Red Tarns are tucked against the mountain. Views from the top are outstanding, and this is a popular sunset walk from the village. A small loop at the top of the trail explores the Red Tarns.
Flora & Fauna
Watch for Kea and New Zealand Falcon along the trail, and check out the carnivorous Alpine Sundew plants on the margins of the Red Tarns!