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greenBlue Franz Josef Glacier Valley Track

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1.7 mile 2.8 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 422' 129 m
Descent: -203' -62 m
High: 975' 297 m
Low: 719' 219 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)


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Trail shared by Kristen McGlynn

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Bad / Closed 30 days ago See History

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A short climb to the foot of the Franz Josef glacier.

Kristen McGlynn

Features River/Creek · Views

Family Friendly While there are some slightly rocky sections to navigate, seeing a glacier in this amazing setting is sure to reward the kiddos for their effort.

This track is sometimes closed due to ice collapse, flooding or landslides. Stay on the path at all times as the hazards of the valley include icefall, rockfall, river surges, and floods.


This short track winds up the valley that was dramatically carved by the retreating Franz Josef glacier. The first half mile of the track is easy and well-maintained, and you can occasionally catch a glimpse of the glacier in the distance.

Once past this forested section, the track heads out onto the rocky riverbed of the Waiho River. Here the trail turns to more of a rocky surface with the general route laid out by markers, but hikers will have to pick their way a bit more carefully along the rocky riverbed. On your right, keep an eye open for Trident Falls, a long and snaking waterfall that cascades down the steep green hillside to the west.

As you near the end of the track, you'll come to several safety barriers and a short climb to the viewpoint. Be sure to stay on the path here as the closer you come to the terminal end of the glacier the more dangerous the conditions are. Risk of ice fall, rock fall, and river surges are serious hazards year round.

From the viewpoint, you'll be treated to a truly spectacular view of Franz Josef glacier, complete with rushing waterfalls, cracking ice, and tumbling rocks, an impressive and formidable sight.

Once you are done taking in the view of the glacier, simply retrace your steps back the way you came.


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Nov 30, 2018
Gabriel Pierson
Mar 1, 2018
Laure Leroy
Jan 21, 2018
Simon Guichard
Jan 9, 2015
Junyi Julia Zhang

Trail Ratings

  3.2 from 6 votes


  3.2 from 6 votes
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in New Zealand


15 Views Last Month
383 Since May 29, 2017
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

A good walk along the glacier valley floor. The reward is a close-up view of the Franz Josef glacier and views of several waterfalls. The walk can be crowded as it's the main trail to the glacier view. Mar 18, 2018

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