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Knights - Shorts loop track with Toka peak, Manawatu - Wanganui

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Knights - Shorts loop track with Toka peakIntermediate

Submitted by Vee (Veerle) Geens

Info Info
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Trail Information





Manawatu - Wanganui

Palmerston North

Back country - remote


Very hilly

Native bush
Open farmlands
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


5:00 (Slow)
4:00 (Moderate)
2:30 (Fast)



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This is a beautiful classic day walk in the Ruahine Forest Park and quite fun to run as well.

Start at the Limestone carpark and run the first couple of hundred meters over farmland before crossing a river (depending on the amount of rain you may end up with wet feet at this crossing) and start the track through the bush.

Going up Knights track the beginning is quite undulating until you reach the river for a second time. After crossing the river and the grassy patch the real climb begins. Classic Ruahine steep climb to the ridges. Enjoy all the beautiful bush (tall Rimu, changing to the leatherwoods and grasses on the open tops).

Once you reach the top of the track you can go have a short detour to Toka peak which offers on a beautiful day incredible views all across the ranges with fabulous views of Hawke’s Bay, Manawatu, and the Central Plateau and Mount Taranaki.

Retreat your steps and now follow the Shorts track which is lovely running across the tops for some time before dipping back into the bush and descending down.

The last couple of km's are wonderful running.

Make sure to check the weather before setting off as this track is partially on the open tops! The wind can be absolutely ruthless and snow can be expected in winter.

The track is well marked.

You can do this in either direction; the Knights track is shorter and steeper, while the Shorts track is a bit longer and less steep (though still pretty steep in places).

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Features of interest

If you run the ridge from the Shorts track back down (or the opposite), be sure to watch out for a New Zealand falcon flying over, it seems to be living there and is a beauty.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 70%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 10%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

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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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    The track starts from the Limestone carpark (put Sixtus lodge in google maps if it doesn't show up or it'll send you the wrong way). You have to drive a short way over some gravel and open one gate to get to the carpark.

    Couple of carparks available, no public toilet at the start.

    78 km

    73 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    The track is pretty clear, orange triangles in the bush, poles on the tops. Careful in bad weather as visibility can drop on the tops!

    Very patchy.

    Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Map.

    There is water from the river at the beginning of the track, but afterwards no clean water (or bring a water purifier for the tarn water if desperate).

    Can get very muddy after rain, exposed to cold winds on tops at any time of year, snow on the tops in winter, check the forecast!

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