Itching to do some hiking in Wanaka, but not up for the grueling trek that is Roy’s Peak? Well, the Mount Iron hike might be the one for you. Like Roy’s Peak, it affords lovely views over Lake Wanaka and the surrounding hills, but without the intense incline, 6 hour round-trip duration, or complete lack of shade.
Psst: If you are planning to hike Roy’s Peak, these are my tips to know beforehand!
HIKING WANAKA’S MT. IRON TRAIL
The Mount Iron hike in Wanaka starts right across the Puzzling World, near the Highway 84 entry into town. It’s much closer than the Roy’s Peak trailhead, so you can easily walk there rather than catching a ride. If you do have your own car though, there is a little parking lot at the trailhead (map below).
While this hike is nowhere near as steep as it’s more-famous neighbor, it’s still got a decent incline. It’s definitely doable though, especially if you are going at a slower pace than I was while I rushed to make it to the top before the sun disappeared.
This hike is named as a loop trail, but I only saw one direction to hike once I got the the trailhead, so I did it as an out-and-back hike to the top. This was fine with me, since I wanted to stay facing Lake Wanaka and the setting sun on both the ascent and descent. This should take you between 1.5 – 2 hours round trip, depending on pace and how many stops you make. At the top, there’s even a cute bench to soak in the pretty surroundings, so pack some snacks and stay a while!
Wanaka is a popular stop on most New Zealand itineraries, and while hiking Roy’s Peak is at the top of many lists, much fewer people even know about Mount Iron. That means this hike will be much less crowded, making it all the more enjoyable!
WHAT SAY YOU?
Will you be hiking Mount Iron while in Wanaka? Do you have any other suggestions for cool hikes in Wakana that aren’t Roy’s Peak? I’d love to know for when I return, so let me know in the comments below!