Hike to Franz Josef Glacier

New Zealand Franz Josef Glacier Trailhead

Added by Lauren Schusterman

  • Distance: 5.4 km roundtrip
  • Time: 1.5 hours roundtrip
  • Great way to see the glacier without paying hundreds of dollars to go on it
  • Easy, mostly flat walk
  • Several waterfalls

From the carpark take a quick walk through a green, forested area before making your way into the valley. Here you will get your first view of the glacier. At this point the trail gets a bit rocky but is still very doable. The trail continues mostly flat for the next 35 minutes. You will pass many waterfalls and interesting rock formations on this part of the hike. Right before the glacier platform there is a small uphill. Once you reach the viewing platform there is an amazing view of Franz Josef Glacier. The area around the glacier is very dangerous because of ice and rock fall so make sure to not go past the viewing platform.

Pack List

  • Sturdy walking shoes
  • Camera
  • Warm clothing
Read More

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

Share

Activities:

Chillin, Hiking, Photography

Skill Level:

Beginner

Season:

Year Round

Rating:

Features:

Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
River
Scenic
Waterfall

Are we missing something?

Suggest an edit

How to Get There

11 months ago

Underwhelming

I'll be honest, for those who have seen glaciers in the past, these can be a little underwhelming. I was only able to get as close as about 700 meters, which is still quite far. The path was very well maintained as you can imagine, but it was very crowded. It is one of the crown jewels for NZ, and people know about it. It is some cool scenery and glaciers are always fun to see, but there are better spots to explore in NZ.

11 months ago

about 1 year ago

This is a pretty easy hike to the beautiful Franz Josef Glacier. It's really a shame how much of the glacier has receded since 2008 (when it entered a rapid phase of retreat). Just more of a reason to continually make efforts to preserve our environment and areas like these. Make sure you take the chance to see while you can!

about 1 year ago

Added by Lauren Schusterman

College student at UCLA. Born and raised in Boulder, CO. In love with the outdoors and all it has to offer.

More Adventures Nearby

Day Hike to Harris Saddle (Routeburn Track)

New Zealand / Routeburn Shelter

The Routeburn Track is world famous, and with good reason.

Tobin Akehurst
3 Saves

Hike to Robert's Point (Franz Josef Glacier)

New Zealand / Franz Josef Glacier Trailhead

This trail is one of my favorite in New Zeanand. It wasn't so much 'built' as it was 'discovered'. The trail follows natural erosion and clean exposed flows of glacier carved granite walkways.

Tobin Akehurst
3 Saves

Hike to the Fox Glacier

New Zealand / Fox Glacier Carpark

From the carpark follow the well marked trail to the toe of the Fox Glacier. Do not stray from the trail as unstable ice and moraine can be very dangerous.

Tobin Akehurst
4 Saves