Glacier Burn Track

Glacier Burn Track

Glacier Burn Track


5 Rankers Reviews

2 Face-to-Face

16 Glenorchy

Your Nature Guide

Marios Gavalas's avatar

Marios Gavalas

Author And Researcher

Nau mai, haere mai

Nau mai, haere mai

I'm Marios, delivering the best of Aotearoa's nature walks to your device.

I've personally walked hundreds of New Zealand's tracks and spent months in libraries uncovering interesting information on New Zealand/Aotearoa. And you'll find a slice of that research on this page - enjoy!


Deep Nature

FREE MAP - The best of 21 nature guidebooks on one map.

Online Maps

FREE Header

Deep Nature NEW

Author Marios Gavalas, Rankers and hundreds of contributors bring you a free web map to help you get lost (and find yourself) in Aotearoa's nature.

FREE Header

Camping NZ NEW

Welcome to New Zealand's most comprehensive database of freely available camping information. This is the only travel map of its kind in NZ.



approx 6 km return | 3 hours 30 minutes return to bushline

Glacier Burn Track accesses a hanging valley, with vertical mountain headwalls and fine views out back to Glenorchy and the Richardson Range.


This is a fair weather track, as Glacier Burn can rise quickly and be difficult to cross on the return journey.


The parking area is signposted 5 km from end of tarseal on Greenstone Road.


Follow the orange topped posts over the stopbank and cross Glacier Burn. This may be tricky after periods of rain.

The track enters the towering beech forest and climbs progressively. Crown ferns and mossy patches carpet the forest floor. Approaching the treeline views of the impressive basin appear above.

Beyond here it is a mountain area and if you venture further you should be aware that there is plenty of rock that could fall on your head.

And be sure to know how to find the orange triangle to get back on track.


Over the last 2 million years the Earth has undergone at least 12 glacial episodes, times when the global climate is significantly cooler than today. The rain falls as snow in upland areas, compacts, and over time forms vast ice sheets.

Geologists have purported various theories for why Ice Ages occur. Today it is generally accepted that since Antarctica has occupied its present position, and allowed a large ice sheet to develop over the land’s surface, this has had the effect of reflecting large quantities of solar radiation back to space (white being the best reflective colour). Once coupled with the fact that solar output of radiation is not a constant (it varies on a 40,000 year cycle) and that the orbit of the Earth around the sun is not a perfect ellipse (the wobble is on a periodicity of around 100,000 years), the changes in the global solar radiation budget can vary enough for episodes of global cooling to occur.

During the last glacial episode, ice stacked up in the upland areas of the Southern Alps and weaved ways down the valley courses to either side. Whereas water leaves a V-shape in a valley profile, the glacial signature marks a characteristic U-shape. The glacial bulldozers charged through whatever lay in their paths and the U-shaped valleys, already carved by previous glaciations, were deepened and their form accentuated. The Hooker Valley are apt examples of this distinctive profile.

As the weight of ice scours down the headwall of a watershed, it nibbles back at the head of a valley until it meets the glacier of the adjacent watershed. The bowl at the head of a valley is a cirque, well illustrated at Glacier Burn.

Hanging valleys are the remains of a tributary glacier that met the main valley glacier. Smaller glaciers harness less erosive power and are less able to incise deeply into the bedrock. They thus meet the main valley glacier at the same height, but do not cut down as deep. When the glaciers melt, the hanging valleys are left perching above the main valley.


Feature Value Info


DOC Otago

Central government organisation


South IslandQueenstown RegionGlenorchy


  • Walking
  • Free


Guru's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Nice walk through the forest, very curious fantails and other small birds. I was alone and being less noisy stumbled upon some Bambi's around a bush few feet away, so that was a highlight. Some sections are steep and can be demanding, not a family place with kids. There's a stream that I used to fill my water bottle, but there are no toilets on this route some come prepared ;)

Reviewed almost 2 years ago

Thank You - to the thousands of travellers that have contributed to our Top Voted NZ Activities Map - it's free from Rankers.

John's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Nice walk, steep on the way up. Pretty slippy when wet.

Reviewed about 3 years ago

Breanna Alexander's avatar

Breanna Alexander

Ranking: 10/10

Very tough walk! BUT 100% worth it!! A once in a lifetime experience, no one else walking the track but us. Beautiful views at the top and along the way. Make sure you are prepared to sweat!

Reviewed over 5 years ago

Camping NZ App Icon

Camping NZ App

Every camping site on your iPhone™, iPad™ or Android™ phone or tablet. Avoid camping penalties using this council approved app. Featuring offline maps.

Download from the App Store Download Android app on Google Play

Till's avatar



Ranking: 10/10

Impressive 2 hour walk (return) to a small glacier and its basin.

Reviewed almost 6 years ago and experienced in January 2016

Val Phillips's avatar

Val Phillips

United States

Ranking: 8/10

Free track steep for an hour but worth it once at the top. When clear, great views of surrounding peaks and Kinloch and Glenorchy Valleys.

Reviewed over 9 years ago and experienced in March 2012

DOC Managed

Thanks to all the good people working for the NZ Department of Conservation - for all your hard work - making NZ more beautiful, accessable and healthy! Cheers 😍

Cymen Crick's avatar

Cymen Crick