Burn Hut LoopIntermediate - Experienced
Submitted by Tim Carpenter
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Back country - remote
Native bushOpen tussock/grasslands
Intermediate - Experienced
From the start, head down the small access road to Dam #2, go across the Dam to the other side. Once across, head over the grass on your L) and the track takes off from the edge of the bush. From here the track is marked with orange triangles.
The initial km or two is sidling along the hill, and then you turn R) to head up the hill. This is a steady climb. Once you reach the bushline you open from the trees into the leatherwood. From here you can see Burn Hut over to your R) on the far ridge. The leatherwood is standard Tararua fare through here - overgrown, rough on the legs, but the trail is easy to follow along the ridge (as it is less overgrown than everything else).
The track follows the ridgeline around until you reach the hut, with a few small ups and downs. Burn Hut is a nice quick stop off, avoid the Long Drop if possible. Leaving the hut, continue along the trail, with some more ridge climbing and leatherwood with some short ascents and descents. The descent begins above the bushline, and continues on fairly continuously down the hill once commenced.
Again the track is marked with triangles and there shouldn't be any issues with navigation. Continue until you hit the Stream (College Creek). Once in the stream head downstream, you will be following this for 1-2km. At low flow navigation is easy, up to the knees a couple of times, at a higher flow, you may need to get a bit more wet in places but should still be ok.
Follow the creek until you hit Baber Forks (you won't miss the stream coming down on river left to join you), exiting the creek on River R) (looking for the track markings and triangle) this is the main Puketarua Track. Follow this back to Dam #3. If you drop right down next to the Dam, make sure you climb back up on the R) and find the track again. There will be markings all the way out to the Dam. Cross the dam, and then continue back down the gravel road for a few km, back to your car, Job done.
Make Up of Run
Technical Single Track: 75%
Gravel Road: 25%
From Shannon you need to end up on Mangahao Road. From the south take Ballance, Clapham, and East Road, and from the north take Stafford, East Road. East Road turns into Mangahao Road.
Continue on Mangahao Road, past the Whitewater Course and Power Station, and this turns into a gravel road. Continue up To Dam #2.
This road is narrow, windy, gravel with some pot holes.
Dam #2 is approx 18km from Shannon.
Parking is just on the side of the Road. At the beginning of Dam #2 there will be a small access road down to the left. Park up on Mangahao Road, out of the way of other traffic.
Waterproof leggings, Thermal leggings, Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.
Burn Hut has water available
You are running down a creek for a while so plenty of water available there
This is the Tararua Range, you can get 4 seasons in 1 day.
Can be cold, hot, windy, snowy, whiteout, clear, so be prepared
This is a popular area with hunters as well.
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