Cascades - Waitaks 20km LoopIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Ryan Cooke
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Intermediate - Experienced
CLOSED DUE TO KAURI DIEBACK. You can sign up to e-updates re the track situation in both the Waitakere and Hunua Ranges here.
Fastest Known Times (FKTs)
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There are currently no male FKTs for Cascades - Waitaks 20km Loop.
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IMPORTANT: Please ensure you use all of the Council provided Kauri Dieback shoe wash stations you come across on the trail. Scrub then spray.
Please clean your shoes before running and after you are finished.
Start beside the information board at the car park. Follow the gravel path downhill a short then cross the swing bridge. Follow Auckland City Walk track for about 100m, and then turn right up Upper Kauri track. Follow this track up for 3km ignoring any other tracks (ie Cascade Track on the left or Lower Kauri on the right). At 3km you will get to a junction with Long Road, take this track to the left.
Continue on Long Road, following the 3 small side tracks (labelled Montana, they soon join back to the main trail after a short distance), you will get to a clearing and track junction (approx 4.7km). From here take Ridge Road Track directly ahead. Continue on this trail for 4km until you emerge onto Cutty Grass track. Turn left here, and continue on Cutty Grass until reaching Scenic drive (just over 3km)
Turn left onto Scenic drive, (stay left and take care with the traffic!) for 300m until the Fairy Falls carpark. Cross the road and follow Fairy Falls track for 100m until reaching a Kauri dieback spray station. Turn left up Old Coach Road Track. After 400m this pops out on Scenic drive again, turn right and up the road 100m where Old Coach Road track heads back into the bush.
Follow the trail until Tawari Road (gravel road), turn left and follow it until Scenic drive again, Turn right along Scenic drive, cross over Mountain Road, then shortly right into Spraggs bush carpark. Follow Spraggs Bush track. Turn left at the junction that indicates Tuaranga Road to the right. Go straight ahead where you get to a 3 way intersection where all directions indicate Spraggs Bush track!
You will soon arrive on Scenic Drive again. Turn right here and follow Scenic drive (again, watch the traffic!!) for nearly 1km until reaching the Waitakere Dam Carpark on the left. Follow the Dam Road to the left down the hill. This is an asphalt road, but the grass verges on the sides are easily wide enough to run on.
After approx 1.2km, and before reaching the dam, there is a tiny track that is on the right (named Cascade View however the sign is not currently there). Head down this track for some awesome views over the valley. The track pops back out on the dam road shortly after, so continue on. Just before reaching the dam, turn sharp right to join 'Waitakere Tramline Walk' and head down the stairs. Turn right and follow the tramline to the end, (going through a short tunnel along the way!), then at the end turn left up West Tunnel Mouth Track.
Follow Andersons all the way down the hill, across the stream at the bottom, then once you hit Auckland City Walk track, turn right. Follow this to the end until you reach the top carpark, turn left down the road to get back to the carpark you started from.
Features of interest
1/2 way down Dam road on the left is a very very short track that indicates "Giant Kauri". Worth a detour for a look
Cascade View Track has views over the Cascade Valley
Lots of Kauri in various other spots on the run (ie heading down Andersons)
Tunnel on Waitakere Tramline
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 15%
Easy Single Track: 75%
Sealed Road: 10%
The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each
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The trail starts from the car park at the end of Falls Road, off Te Henga (Bethells) Rd, which in turn is off the northern end of Scenic Drive. Falls Road passes through Waitakere Golf Course and changes to gravel past the club house.
Plenty of parking although in peak times in gets full quite early in the day. There's a toilet and good info board/map here too.
Park information (from http://regionalparks.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/cascades)
Summer gate opening hours: 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. (Daylight savings)
Winter gate opening hours: 8:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. (Non daylight savings)
Care to be taken along all the small side tracks along Scenic drive
Other track junctions generally marked well
Lightweight fleece top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.
No water on route, however is available at the carpark at the start/finish
Ridge Road and Cutty Grass tracks can get quite muddy and boggy after lots of rain
Post run indulgence
Swanson Railway Cafe
Swanson Railway Station
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See other runs nearby:
Centennial Park trails (Campbells Bay)
Cascade Kauri V1
Hunt For The Wilderpeople
Kuataika Double & Wainamu Bush
Cascade Kauri V2
Puke Ariki (Point View Reserve)
Inner City Bush Trails
Waikowhai Stairs, Bush & Beach
Wainamu - Why Not?
Cascade Kauri Outer Loop
Flat Fun in the East
Rangitoto - Motutapu Double
Rangitoto - Motutapu Double V2
Puhinui Stream Forest Trail
Kuataika Half Marathon
Te Ara Hura West
The Wenderholm Wonder
It may be only 4.5km... BUT...
Mangere Mountain Crater loop
Motuihe Island Loop
Watercare Coastal Walkway
Partial Lunacy Mission
Around the Outside at Te Atatu
Fernhill & Burnside Escarpments
Te Henga Trail
The James Vowles Inspiration Circuit
Riverhead Gates Challenge
Low Tide at Mahurangi West
Mercer Bay Magic
Long Bay Beach, Bush & Cliffs
Bus Station to Beer Spot
Hobson Bay Loopity
Lake Wainamu Loop
The Riverhead Capital E
Onetangi/Trig Hill loop
Must Love Sand and Stairs.
Ernie's Pukupuka Combined Loop
Northcote Multi Trail Loop
Te Ara ki Uta ki Tai
Beach Haven Bridges to Pitches
Strip Trig to Barlow
Puhinui - not just for Horses