Last Updated: 21st May 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done

Burn Hut Loop

Shannon, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Tim Carpenter

Last Updated: 21st May 2024

Intermediate - Experienced

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 40 ?

Gnarl Factor: 66 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote



Dog Friendly

Native bush

Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.0%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.9%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

Public toilets are available in Shannon and there is a long drop at Burn Hut.

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.

18 km

35 minutes





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.

Trail Legend

Daniel Pringle

Daniel Pringle

has completed Burn Hut Loop once in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

The tops have been cut back (great job!) and are now very easy to navigate. The long drop is operational again too. I'm only giving the trail a three due to the river section. It was lovely at first, then became quite a chore. Constant knee deep water and slippery rocks and even my dog sustained an injury. Probably lovely to do in summer! The dams were so interesting.

Richele McKenzie

May 20

This is more an adventure run/hike at the moment than a run. It is VERY overgrown along the tops, so much so that it is hard to find the trail in places. The tops are basically unrunnable at the moment. Once they have been cut back it would get an extra star for sure. I would take map and compass as the weather can come in quickly up there and with limited trail visibility it can get a bit tricky. It is also sparsely marked once you hit the river section so you really just need to pick a route through here and keep an eye on the map for where to turn back up into the bush.

Kym Skerman

December 5, 2020

A lovely trail but I wouldn't say it's particularly runnable other than the 4ish km along the road. The trail is relatively easy to follow other than 1 or two spots that may require you to take a look for the orange markers. The track is quite overgrown on large parts along the top so care is required to ensure you don't trip. Running would not be possible (at least for a mere mortal such as myself). The rock hopping through the stream is fun for the first 500m or so. Maybe it would've been nicer if the water wasn't so cold hahaha. Would definitely recommend doing this loop if you can. 6 hours would be about right for a novice/intermediate as I don't think there are realistically many places where you could push the pace - short of flying up those uphill sections and pinballing the downhills

Lewis Marama

August 2, 2020

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