Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate

I've done it Done

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Timber Trail

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023

Intermediate

I've done it Done

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Open

Grunt Factor: 83

Gnarl Factor: 11

84.0km

1400m

970m

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Trail Map

Type of Run

Back country - remote

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open farmlands

Open ridges/tops

Run Makeup

15%
85%

Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +3.6%

Average Downhill Gradient: -3.9%

Trailhead

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Estimated Times to Run

Not suitable

Slow

10:00

Moderate

7:00

Fast

Pureora to Piropiro: the trail starts at the entrance to the Pureora Forest Park which is situated 18km east of Benneydale and winds through the stunning Pikiariki Ecological Area before climbing Mount Pureora. The track then sidles around the mountain at 940 m above sea level, travelling across two large suspension bridges before heading down toward the mid point of the trail at Piropiro. The Northern Timber Trail is 40km long with the first 11km being a long gradual climb. Thereafter the track is generally downhill.

The Southern Trail: Piropiro to Ongarue - the trail winds very gently through lush green native forest to the incredible Maramataha Suspension Bridge. From the bridge to around the 47km mark is a steady climb and the only really tough section of the trail. From this point the trail trends downhill. At the 74km mark is the Ongarue Spiral, an incredible feat of engineering and hard work. The trail then winds through Forestry and Farm lands to the finishing point in Ongarue. Note - once on the trail there are no escape routes or cellphone coverage. You need to be prepared and ensure you bring enough water and food to last the day, and have suitable gear.

There is a carpark at each end of the trail with toilets.

68 km

57 minutes

Unknown

No

Moderate.

Hard to get lost - follow the markers!

Very patchy.

Lightweight fleece top, Short-sleeved thermal top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Headtorch and spare batteries, Gaiters.

There is only water at the lodge about half way or 40km mark

Parts of the trail are muddy. This is a back country trail and can be extremely cold in winter. You need to be well prepared.

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Trail Reviews

Beautiful trail, wide, gentle gradients, well surfaced, amazing forest and bridges. Very well signposted - markers every km and at every possible intersection with other trails. Had kaka following us through the forest for the first 20km! The swing bridges are some of the most impressive I've ever seen.
Heading from north to south, the last 35 km are along the old timber tramway, very easy to stride out if your legs are not too tired! Even though it rained on our trip, there was very little mud on the trail. Regular toilets on the trail too, but they had run out of tp after the busy public holidays.
The trail travels along a gravel road for a couple of short sections - listen out for speeding vans traveling to collect the mountain bikers, we nearly got run over!
Water could be an issue - we took 3L each and it was heavy to run with but just enough for each half. The lodge at the halfway is the only obvious place to refill - but they do have convenient taps on the side of the lodge for that purpose. Unfortunately we were on the trail early, and the lodge doesn't open to sell food & drinks until after 1pm, so missed out on the pizza.

Andy Crosland

January 6, 2023

I had been wanting to do this a few years now. After completing it today, I am not sure why. Never run this far before so expected all sorts of trouble. Not really prepared for the pain but managed to get through okay. Drank naff all water the first half refilled at the half way then ran out with 10 km to run.
Great trail though, fantastic scenery, the coolest swim bridges, awesome rivers cascading all along.
Will I go back ??? Hmmmmm...

Paul Ewart

December 10, 2022

I did this as a single day unsupported run/walk. Trail is pristine & very easy underfoot with maybe 5 exposed roots & 4 muddy puddles across the whole trail. The signage is next level. There is a marker at every km plus signage with interesting facts dotted across the whole trail. Plenty of toilets along the way (they are quite civilised and stocked with tp!). In addition to the stand alone toilets , there are also areas with shelters, picnic tables & toilets at roughly 17km, 27km & 60(ish)km.
Very minimal cell phone coverage for 1st part. Might be 1 spot, several patches kn the 2nd half tho.
The scenery is beautiful & very typical of NZ central north island, but you’re in a forest so don’t expect sweeping vistas at every turn.
I would recommend you take enough water &/or a filtering system as opportunities to refill aren’t plentiful along the way for the first 30 km just some tiny streams & stagnant water in some drainage holes. There’s the timber trail lodge at 40km plus a campsite just another km up the road from there to refill water.

Carol Howell

May 4, 2022

Did this over two days in late September. Trail is predominantly wide and made of pumace type material so gentle underfoot without many boggy patches. First days has ~14km gentle climb and then undulations through to Timber trail lodge (highly recommend staying). Second day more gentle with a much longer downhill. If I did it again I would have another day at the lodge to recover between runs.

Rosa Volz

September 25, 2020

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