Last Updated: 14th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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Hilly Hakarimata Loop

Ngaruawahia, Waikato

Submitted by Paul Parker

Last Updated: 14th Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 13 ?

Gnarl Factor: 44 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +11.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -14.6%


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Estimated Times to Run







This makes a good alternative to the Hilly Hakarimata out and back run.

Head south from the carpark back over the bridge for a fast 1.7km warm up run along the Waingaro Road (Footpath and gravel track).

At 1.7km you will reach the Rail Trail on your right, head down this wide grass track for 1.5km to reach a picnic area with a toilet. Head up the track to the right which follows a beautiful river with a waterfall side trail just near the start. After about 1km the ascent starts with at least 1,000 stairs over the next 1.5km.

The track deteriorates from here and you have a hard slog over 1km of muddy steep technical track, barely runable. You will pop out onto the Hilly Hakarimata Track, turn right (you can go left here for 300m to the summit tower) on to the stairs and head back down to another river and follow the river track back to the carpark.

A very good training run with fast warmup, great single track, brutal stairs and technical section.

Hakarimata Rail Trail and Walkway - Hakarimata Summit Tower - Waterfalls

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.

Good parking here, safe with lots of people around and public toilets.

1 km

1 minutes




On the way up keep to the main track, don't take the Christian Camp Track on your right.

Generally good.

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


Muddy for 1km in winter or after rain

Trail Legend


Trish Stockman

has completed Hilly Hakarimata Loop 12 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

A venue for daily training. I've probably done it dozens of times. At least twice a month. This hill is very friendly and you can go there every day, 365 days a year. You can go every hour, 24 hours a day. I walked when it was raining heavily, and I also walked when the sun was scorching. Very friendly and not dangerous at all. My best time is 1 hour and 05 minutes. Now it can only be completed in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Just keep working hard.

Changhai Zhou

April 18

I did this in the opposite direction.
Took this loop on the advice of a nice local lady- and her recommendation was spot on!
Just such beautiful bush and a very fun, runnable trail ( especially enjoyable after THAT Stair Climb) ..I really enjoyed the awa and many waterfalls along the track

Denise Limby

August 21, 2023

Great loop, but, make sure you have done a bit of recent hill work or you may be in for doms royal.

Paul Ewart

November 18, 2022

I do love this trail, having run it several times. The stairs are a killer, up and down.
Unfortunately the council realised how many crazies were using the trail and thought best to upgrade that barely runnable muddy hard slog section that was highly technical and near ankle breaking, but totally the highlight. Now it's gravel paved with new stairs. The bonus is you don't need to look for trail markers anymore and you won't break an ankle. 😁

Allysia Kraakman

April 22, 2021

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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