Distance: 14.3 km (8.9 miles) roundtrip. Elevation gain: 1400 m (4,600 ft). Duration: 6-8 hours. Unbeatable panoramic views of the Alps and Lake Wakatipu. Challenging winter route.

In the summer, Ben Lomond is an easy rated track flooded with tourists. In the winter, the hike gets a complete makeover by the soft blankets of snow, especially closer to the peak. Although the snow makes the route significantly more challenging, the views afforded are phenomenal and the trail itself is quite an adventure.

Starting from the Gondola car park in Queenstown, the trail ascends quickly up through the forest. After you reach the top of the Gondola, the trailhead levels off and becomes more moderate until you reach the saddle. As you approach the saddle, there is a stunning view of the Alps ahead and Lake Wakatipu behind you. There is also a nice bench for soaking in the views.

Beyond the saddle, the trail is no longer marked in the winter - approaching the summit requires a fair amount of scrambling through rocks and snow. Ice axes or crampons could be used here if you're more uncomfortable with scrambling. The approach to the summit is very steep and the snow is quite deep. Even if you cannot reach the exact peak of the track, the panoramas are unbeatable. The slope is at a perfect angle for sliding down, if you are so inclined, to speed up the pace.

Pack List

  • Warm layers
  • Food + water
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hat + sunglasses
  • Gloves
  • Ice axe/crampons (optional)
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Activities Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Winter
Features
Forest
Scenic

Reviews

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Overall rating: 

Done In Summer

We did this track in summer. Beautiful views from the saddle over the alps. Not too challenging to get to summit as long as you’re in reasonable shape.

Beautiful And Challenging Hike

This was a great hike and a fantastic way to spend a day in Queenstown. The views were spectacular as soon as you reached above the bush line. I definitely recommend crampons even as you approach the saddle as there was lots of ice and slippery snow when I was up there! You can also start from the west of Queenstown of the roundabout where Lake Esplanade turns into Fernhill Road. This portion of the track takes you through the forest and along a river where you can see some waterfalls, though it adds some kms if you're starting from Queenstown.


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