Last Updated: 24th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Hilly Hakarimata

Hamilton, Waikato

Submitted by Emma Dryland

Last Updated: 24th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 10 ?

Gnarl Factor: 44 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Very hilly

Native bush


Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +18.4%

Average Downhill Gradient: -18.4%


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Estimated Times to Run







From the roadside, head over the gate and up the wide gravel path (100m), turn left at the grass into the bush. Follow this smooth undulating track beside the stream (1km), turn right as you near the dam. Follow the stairs up. The next intersection will be at the top of the ridge - turn right (200m) and climb the tower for views over the Waikato. Catch your breath before heading back the way you came.

This trail includes the peak Hakarimata.

The dam built in 1922 is 1km along the track, continue upstream to explore. There are also some beautiful Kauri trees to keep your eyes peeled for.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

There is a small car park on the right side of Brownlee Ave, and room for additional road side parking.
No dogs please.

21 km

23 minutes




It is easy to miss the right turn near the dam.

Perfect throughout.

Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Take what you need. Expect hot and sweaty conditions over summer.

Busy over summer, especially after work 5-6pm

The Bakehouse Cafe
92 Great South Road, Ngaruawahia
Award winning steak and gravy and bacon and egg pies.

Trail Legend


Natasja Wilmot

has completed Hilly Hakarimata 27 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Hard work - great views. Best early before people numbers increase. See why it’s so popular.

Rob Holm

August 28, 2022

I love this run or walk, depending on the day; the track is very well maintained and popular.
The first kilometre is the easy section; it is undulating and doesn't count towards the stair count of 1350. At night, you might see small numbers glowworms in the middle of the first kilometre on the banks (left side while heading up), especially where it is steep and damp; you don't need to go off-trail to see them. The stair climb starts as soon as you take the sharp right-hand turn before the dam. The course is pretty straight up from there, but there are a few sections where the track flattens out. There are small tags on the steps every one hundred steps, making it easy to track your progress. There is a nice resting spot with a seat at 650 steps and 1000 steps.
At the top turn right, for a reasonably short flattish section to the viewing deck with spectacular views.
There are toilets at the bottom of the track in the car park. Although the trail is busy, there is a lot of parking. If no car parks are left, you can park in the surrounding streets.
Often people will do this trail with weights or multiple times, it makes for a good cardio workout with strengthening at the same time. However, it is a great track to get out and have fun.
I find the track easier to run in with grippier trail running shoes, but I have also done it in normal running shoes as well but was a bit more cautious on the descents.
I wouldn't use poles for this track, and I would only carry water if doing the track multiple times or it is a hot day. However, take water if it is your first climb.

Mark Ashcroft

December 28, 2021

It burns us! Those steps... only 1230? Completed today in 38:24 but I had to walk the last 200 steps literally couldn’t breathe! Good fun tho, recommend and you even carry a bag of gravel up too if you are willing and up for a bit more fun!:)

Kevin Williamson

December 1, 2021

If you want your quads to burn, this is the place to go. Best if repeated to exhaustion

Brad Harris

March 3, 2020

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