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Waitahinga Dam Loop, Manawatu - Wanganui

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Waitahinga Dam LoopIntermediate

Submitted by Melissa Franklin

Info Info
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Trail Information





Manawatu - Wanganui


Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Native bush


2:00 (Slow)
1:40 (Moderate)
1:20 (Fast)



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Starting at the sign go to you right and follow the Okehu Ridge trail, continue to follow the trail towards Cropper's Clearing and Tom's Ridge. Once you make to to Cropper's Clearing follow the signs to Tom's Ridge (you can go to your left to the Rimu walk and Harry's Ridge but its recommended to take Tom's ridge going towards the dam due to the steep descent to the dam which would be very hard to come back up). Follow this trail which will end with a steep descent and then taking a right turn (sign posted) at the bottom towards the Dam. Once making it to the Dam you have to follow your footsteps back to the bottom of Tom's Ridge but go right here following Harry's Ridge. Harry's Ridge walk ends at a fork, left towards Cropper's Cleaning and right pointing to Quarry carpark. Go right and this will take you through the Rimu walk which finishes on the Okehu Ridge track. Run along this track until another fork, left going back the way you came on the Okehu Ridge track and right to the Pines track. Go right and follow the trail through the grass and pines which will eventually end on a gravel road. Go left on gravel road and about 150m along you will see the entrance on the right to chicken run. If you take this trail it will take to view points of Ruapehu and Wanganui region on a clear day and loop around back to the carpark and make the run about another 1km longer. I didn't have time for this when of doing this trail and just continued on the gravel road back to the carpark.

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Features of interest

Waitahinga Dam (use to be water supply for Wangauni).

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 0%

Technical Single Track: 85%

Moderate Single Track: 10%

Gravel Road: 5%

Route Data


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I did it!
  • Access

    From Wanganui drive to Kai Iwi and turn right onto Rangitatau East Road. Travel 20km (11km beyond Bushy Park) and turn left onto Junction Road. The entrance to the walks is on the left about 1km along Junction road. From the carpark, walk 200m up the quarry road to the main sign and the start of the tracks. Please note these trails are closed in July and August.

    The carpark is at the start of the private Quarry road. It isn't big so get in early to ensure a spot.

    35 km

    42 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    This isn't an "easy" track both by the trees roots and steep descents but also due to the lack of a "noticeable" track. However, there are lots of track markers along the way so you do need to keep your eyes on your feet as well as for the track markers constantly. Multi-tasking ability is a must for this trail!


    Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map.

    No water, I wouldn't drink from the Dam, though they say you can swim in it if you wish.

    Is cold in winter (under forest cover for most of the run) and muddy after rain. Trails are closed in July and August.

    Fence lines may be obscured so watch out for barbed wire.

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