COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
Trail Run Project Logo

Key Summit



4.7 mile 7.6 kilometer out and back
71% Runnable


Ascent: 1,389' 423 m
Descent: -1,389' -423 m
High: 3,080' 939 m
Low: 1,733' 528 m


Avg Grade: 11% (6°)
Max Grade: 33% (18°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Almonzo Wilder

Spectacular views of some of Fiordland's finest scenery from an easily attained summit.

Almonzo Wilder

Features Views · Wildflowers


Key Summit is an outstanding easy excursion from the Milford Road or a quick side-trip from the Routeburn Track. Its position at the intersection of multiple major valley systems gives Key Summit commanding views of several of Fiordland's spectacular mountain ranges. The popularity of this track is well-deserved.


The climb to Key Summit begins at The Divide trailhead, and starts on the Routeburn Track heading toward the Lake Howden and Lake Mackenzie Huts. The track is well graded and passes through pleasant forest with limited views. After a gradual climb a signed intersection points the way to the Key Summit Track, which veers above the Routeburn. The smooth track heads uphill via a series of moderate switchbacks.

As the trail emerges from the forest, there are outstanding views down the Hollyford Valley as a taste of the more expansive views to come. Near the top of the climb the trail forks as part of a worthwhile nature loop. The route meanders on the high summit ridge, past beautiful tarns and with many outstanding viewpoints. The turnaround point is the Lake Marian Viewpoint, where you can just see Lake Marian perched in a high hanging valley in the Darran Mountains across the Hollyford Valley. After completing the summit nature loop, head back down the way you came.

Run this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Need to Know, Flora & Fauna, Runner Notes, History & Background

Rate This Run

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Run

Check In


Mar 22, 2018
Daniela Giebel
Feb 22, 2017
Frieda Levycky
Good clear path. First half nicely shaded. Not too steep. Stunning views the whole way,but particularly at the summit. 4.7mi

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 13 votes


  4.7 from 13 votes
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Run Rankings


in New Zealand


143 Views Last Month
12,618 Since Mar 15, 2015



NZ Mountain Safety Council has created this video guide for the Routeburn Track. The alpine section of this 'Great Walk' will take the entirety of your second day. This video takes you through this alpine section in detail.
Feb 25, 2020 near Queenstown, NZ
Emily Peak from Key Summit
Mar 15, 2015 near Queenstown, NZ
Lake Marian surrounded by the mountains that source the tarn
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
Hollyford Valley
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
Ascending on the Key Summit Track, you have a magnificent view of the mountains across the Hollyford Valley
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ
One of several lakes near Key Summit with Mount Christina in the background
Feb 7, 2018 near Queenstown, NZ


Trail Run Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Running