The Lake Alta hike Queenstown is a short and easily-accessible alpine hike located high up on the Remarkables Mountain Range above Queenstown.

Lake Alta Hike Queenstown leads to arguably, one of the most beautiful alpine lakes in South Island New Zealand. Sitting at the base of a small dome of jagged peaks, the lake is so picturesque that it was featured in the Lord of the Rings as Dimrill Dale. The short but rewarding hike is often considered one of the best Remarkables hiking trails.

Even if you’re not a LoTR fan (how could you not be), a drive up the Remarkables range and a short 1-hour return hike to Lake Alta should be on anybody’s Queenstown bucket list.



Getting to the Lake Alta Track

Access to the Lake Alta hike Queenstown is located directly from the car park at the Remarkables ski area. Getting here takes approximately 30 minutes from Queentown central.

You’ll need to turn off on State Highway 6 (SH6) at the signposted junction to the ski area. From here, it’s a steep, winding, but well-maintained road that climbs all the way up the mountain slope.

Driving up to the Remarkables

Driving up to the Remarkables is a bit of an adventure in itself, and the views are certainly a warm-up for things to come.

The road is steep, however easily managed in a 2WD in the warmer months. In winter or after a snowfall, you will need to have snow chains fitted. There are several chain-fitting aisles to pull into on the way up and at the base.

Remarkables access road Cost: $10 per car only during the Summer months (16 December to 30 April)

SHOTOVER COUNTRY FROM LAKE ALTA SADDLE VIEWPOINT
View of Shotover and Kawarau River from the road

READ MORE: COMPLETE LIST OF BEST THINGS TO DO IN QUEENSTOWN


Alta Hike Queenstown Information

After making it to the skifield carpark, we found a signpost with trail information immediately after turning right up the pedestrian roadway.

This is in fact, the trailhead. The start of the hike, therefore, involves some road walking up to the ski fields before continuing on to the right, up a slope, and over a well-marked trail.

LAKE ALTA HIKE QUEENSTOWN

Hike Length and Duration: 3.5KM (1 hour) return to the Lake. 5KM (1.5 -2 hours) return to the saddle viewpoint.

Difficulty: Easy

Lake Alta Elevation: 1850M

There are a few small and gentle creek crossings before reaching the Lake Alta, but they are easily managed without getting wet.

The track is fairly steep the entire way up to the lake, gaining approximately 220M of elevation from the carpark to Lake Alta. To the saddle viewpoint, expect another 150M of elevation to reach just over 2000M.

More information and up-to-date track status can be found on the official DOC website.

Don’t miss the Ben Lomond Hike from Queenstown

Lake Alta Hike GPX Map

Below I’ve included the Lake Alta GPX route that I recorded on my Garmin watch. This track might be useful for those trying to find the way up to the viewpoint on the saddle. However, remember that conditions change and you shouldn’t rely purely on GPX.

GPX File: Download

My Strava: Visit


Best Lake Alta Viewpoint: The Saddle Scramble

We had heard that it was possible to make an easy scramble up to the overlooking saddle directly north of Lake Alta. We couldn’t see a marked trail, but we figured we would try our luck by walking up the rocks to the obvious rocky outcrop under the saddle.

Once we approached the rocks, we could make out a clear scrambling route all the way to the top of the smooth, grassy saddle to the right.

To find the exact route that we took, refer to the GPX file or my Strava above. Note that since it’s not a DOC track, you’ll need to attempt this at your own risk. In saying that, we considered it to be easy and relatively safe, at least in Summer. I’d imaging that it’d be slippery and a lot more dangerous in Winter.

LAKE ALTA VIEW
Lake Alta Saddle Viewpoint

DON’T MISS: GUIDE TO THE 8 BEST HIKES IN QUEENSTOWN


View From the Top

After a short but steep scramble, we were rewarded with incredible views of Lake Alta beneath us. On the other side, there are uninterrupted views of Lake Hayes, the Kawarau River, and even the giants on the Mount Aspiring range poking above the Coronet Peak ski fields beyond the valley.

LAKE ALTA QUEENSTOWN HIKE
SHOTOVER AND SADDLE VIEWPOINT AT LAKE ALTA
Lake Alta Saddle Viewpoint

More Epic Queenstown Hikes

I hope that this guide to the Lake Alta hike Queenstown answered all your questions and inspired you to visit this Queenstown gem. For more pictures, scroll to the bottom of this page, where you’ll also find links to more epic hikes around Queenstown such as Ben Lomond, Moke Lake, and Queenstown Hill.

Alternatively, check out this mega-list to the 31 Best Hikes in the South Island.


WHERE TO STAY IN QUEENSTOWN

Where I stayed: Spaceship Car
During my recent visit to New Zealand, I cruised around in style in a Spaceship rental car. These are great for budget adventure travelers since you’ll get your accommodation and transport ticked off in one neat package.

Cheapest Hostel in Queenstown: Base Backpackers
Queenstown is known for a lot of things; adrenaline sports, epic day hikes, and awesome nightlife. What it’s not known for is anything to do with the word cheap. In saying that, if you book ahead, you’ll still be able to get a dorm bed for under $25NZD at Base Backpackers.

Lakefront Hostel with a Vibe: YHA Queenstown Lakefront
YHA opposite the incredible Lake Wakatipu is one of the best and highest-rated hostels in Queenstown. If you’re looking to meet other adventure travelers, be close to the action and prefer a comfortable dorm bed, don’t look past YHA Lakefront.

More Photos of the Lake Alta Hike Queenstown

REMARKABLES SUNSET VIEWPOINT OVER THE RANGE
REMARKABLES SUNSET HIKE
SUNSET AT THE REMARKABLES
MOUNT ASPIRING FROM THE REMARKABLES
MOUNT ASPIRING FROM THE REMARKABLES
Rock scramble back down to Lake Alta
SHOTOVER AND SADDLE VIEWPOINT AT LAKE ALTA

MY CAMERA AND PHOTOGRAPHY EQUIPMENT

For a list of all my camera, hiking, and backpacking gear and where to find them at the best prices, visit my shop.

MORE EPIC HIKES IN QUEENSTOWN NEW ZEALAND

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