Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Alex Knob

Franz Josef Glacier, West Coast

Submitted by Mike Tennent

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 32 ?

Gnarl Factor: 54 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back


Native bush


Open tussock/grasslands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +15.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -15.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Very easy run to follow (just not to run) - from the carpark follow the signs. After about 1.5km of 'tourist footpath' you will see the sign pointing left to Alex Knob. Take this and start to climb. Reasonably well groomed at first, but climbing it soon gets more technical and from there to the top is a real mix.

There are two viewpoints of the Glacier on the way up... the Rata and the Christmas... take the time and get some shots if it's clear, because it can change quickly and not be there when you get back. As you near the top you will think you see the Knob, however there are several 'false Knobs' before you actually reach the top.

Have a breath, take pics if its clear and head back the way you came.

This trail includes the peak Alex Knob .

Two of the best views you can hope to get of Franz Josef Glacier. If you get a clear day on top, you may even get the very best!

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is carpark for about 8 vehicles although it is often full, just up or down the road there are other places to park your vehicle off the road.

1 km

2 minutes




Very patchy.

Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map

Surprisingly for the area, there is no water other than a couple of small tarns where the water has been standing for probably too long to drink.

This route can have snow and ice in winter, so if you are attempting it then, make sure you have a full set of gear, microspikes, and all the safety gear and clothing. There are also a couple of boggy areas that could become tougher in winter.

Quite a few rocks to manouvre over, so be careful if wet.

Trail Legend


Sonia Panapa

has completed Alex Knob once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Did this over Easter weekend 2022. bout 3 hours all up. great weather greater views

Callum McIntosh

October 20, 2022

I really enjoyed doing this one. Yep, it's not really a run going up. But I wasn't feeling that keen on running this particular morning and so I enjoyed the hike up. The forest has a beautiful magical quality to it. And then at the top I got some amazing views of the glacier as luckily it was pretty clear.
There wasn't running for me when I started going downhill either, but after the really rocky technical and steep parts were done I was able to have a fun speedy run down the rest of the track.

Damon Nicholas

January 26, 2022

What a great run! Amazing views of Franz Josef glacier and all the way out to the coast (if you get a clear day like I did!) The terrain is definitely gnarly to run in parts - you probably won’t be making any speed records here, but you’ll certainly be having a great time!

Vikki Baker

April 9, 2021

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