Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Waitahinga Dam Loop

Whanganui, Manawatu - Wanganui

Submitted by Melissa Franklin

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Grunt Factor: 21 ?

Gnarl Factor: 76 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Very hilly

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -12.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







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.

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

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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




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.

Trail Legend

Vee (Veerle) Geens

Vee (Veerle) Geens

has completed Waitahinga Dam Loop 3 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

The track is a bit random - the markers are sometimes confusing and I did get a bit list at times. Lots of roots and some good climbs. The dam was peaceful and a lovely space.

Karl Zimmerman

November 12, 2021

Great trail, on the way to the dam particularly Tom's Ridge there are a few fallen trees obscuring track markers. So make sure you don't get so caught up in the moment that you miss a marker and go off track. It can be a bit slippery after rain and can get a bit hazardous (if you're not paying attention) on Harry's Ridge with roots etc across the track. Don't be alarmed by sudden movements seen out of the corner of your eye if running alone... It's just goats escaping as they think you want to chase them down for dinner. All in all a cool wee loop with climbs that give the legs a nice workout. The above directions were perfect to follow, definately a run you'll be keen to do more than once.

Julie Wilson

October 7, 2020

Awesome run, but quite technical with heaps of roots to jump over.

Vee (Veerle) Geens

May 12, 2020

This is a great run, but you need to watch out for trip hazards on Harry's Ridge, as there are lots of Supplejack crossing the path as well as the old fence wire (which tripped me up).

Jo Pearce

October 28, 2019

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