From The Divide car park, the Lake Howden Walk follows the first hour of the Routeburn Track.

The majority of this walk is through beech forest and many extend the hike to include the Key Summit Track which branches off from it briefly. The climb to Key Summit is then through subalpine shrublands, with views over the Hollyford Valley and the Humboldt and Darran Mountains. 

At the summit, the track continues around as a loop around the summit. You will be able to see the alpine tarns and bogs and reach the Lake Marian Viewpoint. Once you’ve done the loop, head back down the Key Summit Track and continue on to Lake Howden, where the forest opens onto views of the lake and more mountains. There is a hut at the lake, so this is a popular stop for an overnight hike before returning to The Divide the next day or continuing along the Routeburn Track.

In order to fully enjoy the mountain views that this walk offers, it is preferable to do it on a clear cloudless day.

The Department of Conservation emphasizes the importance of keeping to the track as alpine soil and vegetation are very fragile.

Quick Facts about this walk

  • Location: Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand
  • Time needed: 3 hour walk
  • Distance: 3.4 km
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Bikes allowed: No
  • Route: Return
  • Elevation: 380m
  • Wet Feet: No
  • Toilets: There are toilets at the start of the walk and at Lake Howden Hut.
  • Dogs: No
  • Mobile Coverage: Unknown
  • Last Updated: April, 2020

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Summary points about this walk

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