Submitted by Jonathan Cook
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Front country - easily accessible
Out and Back
Please note: all peaks in the Tongariro National Park are sacred to the local hapū Ngāti Hikairo Ki Tongariro, who ask that we show respect by not climbing them. Access is not actually banned, so this is a conscience call for all trampers and runners.
Starting at the car park, run up to the 'Saddle' on the well made trail which alternates between fine gravel, loose rock, sections of boardwalk and flights of stairs. Then scramble up to the crater rim of Ngauruhoe "Mt Doom". You will see a few different paths leading up to the rim. I prefer the steeper rocky ridgeline because its more stable under foot. If you attempt to walk straight up the scree slope, its 3 times harder because for every 3 steps up you slide two steps back. Wear gloves.
Then scree run back down to the saddle, massage cramp out of legs and be thankful you wore gloves for that part because the scoria is sharp and you will be using your hands a fair bit. Once back on the trail, leg it back down to the car park.
Features of interest
You are in the World famous Tongariro National Park; and climbing an active volcano that was filmed as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings movie.
Make Up of Run
Untracked / Route only: 20%
Technical Single Track: 10%
Moderate Single Track: 20%
Easy Single Track: 50%
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
Start at the Mangatepopo car park for the world famous Tongariro Crossing.
Large busy carpark .
Regular bus drop off/pick up point for hikers walking the Tongariro Crossing.
In fine weather no issues.
Heading back down to the saddle could be difficult if the weather closes in causing a white out as navigating back to the trail is very visual dependant.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).
Most running water is very clean. you follow a good stream bottom half , but don't drink from the crater lakes!
Sleet, snow, ice and blizzards during winter months.
Exposed to very strong cold winds and heavy rain/sleet on tops at any time of year.
Pick your day carefully regardless of the time of year, because the weather can change very quickly.
The scoria is sharp. Gloves highly recommended for the scree slope.
Trail can be very icy winter months.
Post run indulgence
because I do it the best
bottom of Whakapapa skifield access road. 15min drive
its close and interesting
how far are you willing to drive?
Restaurant at top of the gondola/ National Park/ Ohakune/ Turangi
Sponsor this trail
See other runs nearby:
Round Ruapehu (RTM Track)
Taranaki Falls & Tama Lakes
Tongariro Northern Circuit
Ketetahi Carpark Time Trial
Taranaki Falls Beauty
Sash and Door Trail
Silica Rapids trail
Ruapehu Mile Higher Club
The Great Pinnacle