When should you hike a trail? Some hikes lead to fascinating forests, some have tremendous views and others are rich in variety. Share your favorite trails with other hikers and nature lovers.
Usually from March to November. However, one highlight are the two Kneipp basins for water-treading. To enjoy these higher temperatures are recommended: May until September.
This gorgeous scenic trail can be hiked year-round. However, read on for our suggestions regarding the best months:
Mid-April - May: Good chance of dry weather. The temperatures go up to 10 - 15 °C. However, Scotland’s weather is unpredictable. For hikers May is often one of the best months: Warm enough, longer daylight, lush and green landscape, wildflowers bloom, less tourists.
June - August: Long, sunny days, warmest time. However, it’s peak season: Most tourists and highest accommodation prices. Annoying midges are at their worst.
September - October: Less busy and midges start to disappear as well. Temperatures in September are between 10 and 16°C in and between 6 and 12°C in October. Idyllic landscape with beautiful foliage. In October deer are rutting. Great time for hiking and wildlife spotting here.
November - March: It can get very cold and days are short. Guesthouses are often closed.
Recommended from April to October/November. Depending on the weather conditions. After heavy rainfall, the gorge Oppig Grät is too muddy and slippery and it might be difficult to cross the stream several times.
A great month is May, still, some sunlight in the gorge and seldom flowers are in bloom.
The glacier is open year-round. The best time to visit Franz Josef depends on what you’re looking for. Mild temperatures? Ice highlights? Fewer Crowds? Read on for our detailed ‘WHEN TO GO’ tips below. In addition, make sure to check our complete season guide and must-know tips for the breathtaking heli tours!
- Season Guide | Monthly Weather - Busy Times
- Avoiding Tourist Crowds | Time of Day
- Helicopter Tours | 2 Types (Recommended!)
- Hotel Tips | + Hotel Deals with Low Price Guarantee
- Walks and Hikes (Main Hike, Treks, Valley Walk)
- 10 Must-Know Tips | + Things to Do
Special Tip: Planning to visit Milford Sound as well? Check out our detailed guide with many tips: 7 Tips for Milford Sound| A Complete Guide Link to our article. If you need tips about combining Queenstown - Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier, read this TripAdvisor Post: How to combine Queenstown - Milford - Franz Josef — TripAdvisor. If you're looking for a New Zealand guide book. This is our tip: Fodor's New Zealand (via Amazon)
Seasons | Weather - Busy Times
In general, the weather is highly unpredictable in this region, regardless of the season. Within one day it can change radically. Always bring rain gear, despite a sunny weather forecast. The Franz Josef town experiences more than 5 liters of rain each year and 10-15 meters of snow at the top of the glacier. However, in the winter it’s more stable.
Winter (June - August)
Temperatures are low: 5 – 15°C (41-57°F), but the weather is more stable than during other seasons. Winter has the clearest days; everything is clean and pristine. Highlight: The ice moves less in winter, resulting in amazing ice features like crevasses and ice caves which stay much longer. There are significantly fewer tourists, and it’s a lot quieter than in summer months.
Spring (September - November)
Temperatures are rising: 9 – 17°C (48-63°F). September is still quiet but also still a cool month with 6-13°C. October gets a little more busy and warmer. November is already peak season which means it gets crowded during the day.
Summer (December - February)
Mild daytime temperatures between 12 and 25°C (53-77°F). Great for exploring. However, the weather is very unpredictable and can quickly change from sun to heavy rainfall which can last for hours or a whole day. It’s also the very busy peak season: Starting in November (spring) and lasting until March with up to 2700 tourists each day. Be prepared for crowded tracks and photo spots.
Autmn (March - May)
Temperatures continue to be pleasant: 9 – 17°C (48-63°F). However, be prepared for rain like in the summer. In March it’s still busy. The heavy crowds start to dissipate during April and thin out even more in May.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds | Time of Day
It’s usually very busy and crowded in high season between November and March with one million visitors each year. Especially if you want to take the popular 45 minutes walk to the glacier (90 minutes round trip). Although there is plenty of parking space, it fills up pretty quickly by mid-morning. In peak season it can become quite difficult to find a parking spot after 10 AM. The main track itself gets crowded as well, although it thins out a little as you near the glacier. When parts of the track are closed during or after heavy rainfall, it feels even more crowded. Moreover, the helicopter sightseeing and hiking flights start at 8 AM making a lot of noise. Expect one helicopter each minute during the peak season. To dodge the crowds and avoid the disturbing helicopter noise be there early around 7 AM. You’ll experience a much more peaceful walk to the glacier and enjoy the fascinating sights in solitude. You might also try to go after 6 PM in the summer or after 4 PM in the winter when the crowds dissipated again and heli flights are terminated soon for the day. However, the views sometimes can get worse since when clouds descend later in the day. But still, a late hike, still daylight etc., is a great way to dodge the crowds.
Most beautiful months are May in spring and October with autumn foliage.
Weekends are more crowded especially at the Saar-loop which is easily accessible by car and motorbike.
A ferry is necessary for this trail. Timetable: 10 a.m. until 5.45 p.m. from April-October and in March and November weekends only. Monday is a closing day, and if Monday is a bank holiday, it is closed on Tuesday.
Summer offers the best and driest weather in July and August. However, bad weather can still occur. Always check the forecast, bring rain gear and dress in layers to be prepared for every kind of weather. If you want to avoid the most snow, don’t go before June. In May even places like Paradise are still covered with snow. In most years the area is usually snow-free from about mid-July through late September.
Avoiding the Crowds
July and August are also the peak tourist months. Paradise and Sunrise will be quite crowded. If you can, visit in June or September: After the first Labor Day weekend (early September) tourist crowds dissipate. However, there are 3 simple ways dodge the crowds and get a parking lot even during peak season in the summer:
- Be there early in the morning. Preferably before 9 AM. The earlier, the better. Stay at a nearby hotel or lodge (see our tips below).
- Alternatively, you could arrive late, between 5 PM and 6 PM. Most visitors have left the park at 6 PM. You'd avoid most crowds and enjoy one of the fascinating Shorter Hikes.
- Try to avoid weekends and visit mid-week if possible.
Sweet Spot Months
Sweet spot months with fewer crowds and a high chance of good weather are June and September (immediately after Labor Day crowds disappear). In September it’s even snow free, and the visitor centers and all its facilities are usually open until the end of September. But still, try to avoid weekends in September if possible or start early in the morning.