Whilst most people do a cruise or hike the Milford Track, the 3-hour return hike to Lake Marian is a hidden gem you’d be nuts to miss out on…


  • Dense, mossy, jungle-like trail
  • Snow-capped mountains and unpolluted skies
  • Freshwater lake
  • Towering waterfalls
  • Unbeatable panoramic views

Lake Marian Track

This is an extraordinary hike with the most beautiful end reward that most visitors who come to Milford Sound miss.

The trail starts at a carpark and is 3 hours return. The first 30 minutes of the track is fairly easy as it has been well maintained but after that, the track steepens and the footing becomes more difficult. The trail climbs continuously through forest and avalanche clearings.

Along the way, views across the valley toward Key Summit and the Alisa Mountains are fantastic. Occasional short sections require hands and balance and make for the biggest challenges on the walk. The grade lessens as the track climbs into the “hanging” portion of the valley, and Lake Marian is reached after a short descent.


Pat Suraseang Lake Marian Hike Milford Sounds New Zealand nz mountain snow gear equipment


The scenery is peacefully dramatic, with the calm, mirrored lake backdropped by soaring snow-capped mountains and the occasional roar of distant avalanches. There are limited areas to set up camp as it is mostly rock with patches of grass here and there but it is unlikely that anyone else would choose to camp here overnight so space is not a problem.

The lake is fresh glacial water from the mountains and would be an incredible swimming hole in the summer months. There are no camp facilities except for a drop toilet just before you arrive at the lake so make sure you have room to carry your rubbish back.

Note: Be sure to check the weather as the trail can become very wet and muddy.

Essential Gear

  • Water (lots)
  • Food
  • Tent/ Sleeping gear
  • Camera
  • Tripod
  • Swimmers
  • Torch
  • Bug spray

How To Get There

The Lake Marian Track is accessed from the unsealed Hollyford Road, off the Milford Road (before the tunnel entering Milford Sound). The track is signposted from a car park area about 1 km from the turn-off.



  • Hiking
  • Swimming
  • Camping
  • Photography
  • Rock skimming

Skill Level


Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration

2.5km return/ 695m / 3 hours return