Last Updated: 21st May 2024


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Wilkie and The Enchanted Ridge

Stratford, Taranaki

Submitted by Emily Shrosbree

Last Updated: 21st May 2024


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I've done it Done

Grunt Factor: 17 ?

Gnarl Factor: 48 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +11.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -13.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







Set off from the DOC sign just above the visitor centre, signed towards Wilkies Pools. The first section is wide, buggy-friendly track with some boardwalk. When you reach Wilkies Pools, cross the bridge (hopefully here you get a clear view of Mt Taranaki), and fork left following signs for the Stratford Plateau.

The track then follows the contour level-ish for a kilometer or so. You'll pass two opportunities to turn right, but take the left/straight on option each time until you reach the Stratford Plateau car park (also a good base for a couple of other trail loops). There are toilets here if you need them. Turn back up the track you just arrived along and run back to the first junction, where you turn left down the Enchanted Track. This is a lovely narrow spur which descends steeply (some steps and roots). At the junction at the base turn right (signed Waingongoro Hut).

The track flattens, then gradually climbs to a swing bridge. On the far side of the bridge you have the option of a quick detour to Waingongoro Hut, but turn right for the main route which climbs gently onwards. Take a left at the next two junctions, along the Ridge Loop Track until you reach a final bridge and then pop out on the road just below the car park. It's 200m up the road to the Visitor Centre where you began, with the option of a quick look at the historic Dawson Falls power station on your right.

Wilkie's Pools on Kapuni Stream, a couple of swing bridges, historic Dawson Falls power station (a 2 min detour as you return to the car park).

Dawson Falls Car park (Start point), Stratford Plateau Car Park - Both Flushing toilet options. Short track detour to Waingongoro Hut for Long drop.

Good and safe parking, but can get busy.

23 km

25 minutes




The route is generally easy to follow, with signs at every junction.

Generally good.

Short-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Water is available at the start/end of the route, and at several minor stream crossings along the way.

Mostly sheltered in the bush, but could get muddy after rain.

Some sections may get slightly overgrown at times.

Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge & Cafe
At the carpark/Visitor Centre where you start and finish your run
Delicious blueberry crumble right at the end of your run.

Trail Legend

Tanya Phillips

Tanya Phillips

has completed Wilkie and The Enchanted Ridge 7 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

I prefer to run this track anti clockwise (opposite to description). The steepness of enchanted track and a couple of eroded sections are easier to climb up than scrambled down. Also recommend a dip at Wilkies pools just before the final stretch to the car park

Tanya Phillips

November 5, 2023

Beautiful track, well marked, clear instructions. Great views from the ridge, fun technical descent, really high Swingbridge, goblin forest and waterfalls to finish. All the goods! Wouldn’t class this as beginner though. More than half the track is highly technical and it is remote and exposed in places. And the times seem overly optimistic - I doubt even Kilian could finish this in 45 minutes!

Joe Benbow

January 18, 2021

Great loop course. Great instructions. Easy to follow all the way and very well sign posted. The Enchanted track was a highlight. The forest here is dripping with moss laden trees. The narrow overgrown trail winds downhill. Ferns are sometimes waist high. When we got to the one person swing bridge I almost didn’t look up and nearly missed an amazing view of Mt Taranaki.

Tracy Elley

December 6, 2020

Enjoyed the track to Wilkies Pool and onwards to Stratford Plateau car park. However, Enchanted Track was quite washed out and overgrown - was glad when I reached the bottom of it. Track back up to the Visitor Centre was good.

Ella Ballantyne

April 15, 2019

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