4 - 5
FATMAP difficulty grade
The trail up to Alex Knob may not be the longest on the South Island, but don't be fooled: this is a challenging hike for experienced bush walkers.
Start out early in the day to avoid the clouds that often roll in through the afternoon.
The trailhead starts out at around 2km on the Glacier Access Road, and climbs steadily up through a variety of forest.
From sub-alpine scrub to alpine meadows, there's plenty to take in as you climb.
And then there is the Glacier.
With stunning views out over the Franz Josef Glacier from both the Rata and Christmas Lookouts, there are plenty of worthwhile lookout points on the way up.
Above the tree line, the forest opens out into tussock fields, before you reach the summit at 1303m. A 15.2km / 6 hour hike, leave plenty of time to take in the views - and enjoy the occasional detour to Louisa Peak or Lake Wombat. This is considered a technical route, and hikers are advised to check in with the Westland Tai Poutini National Park Visitor Centre before heading out