Wild Things - New Zealand's trail running community
New Zealand's trail running community


don't have an account?

Tongariro Crossing, Waikato

Trail Directory proudly supported by Further Faster

Update Your Header Picture

Tongariro CrossingIntermediate

Submitted by Chrissi Faber

Info Info
Map Loading

Trail Information







Front country - easily accessible

Point to Point (one way)

Very hilly

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


4:15 (Slow)
3:15 (Moderate)
2:15 (Fast)



Download PDF Guide
View trail on Capra App

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Can be run in either direction to qualify for FKTs

Please set your gender to see your position on the FKT leaderboards.


Show more


Show more

Filter FKTs

The more , the harder the FKT will be to beat. Learn about Fastest Known Times.

Missing your time?

Register or login as a VIP and get yourself on the FKT leaderboard!

Register Now


Please note: all peaks in the Tongariro National Park are sacred to the local hapū Ngāti Hikairo Ki Tongariro, who ask that we show respect by not climbing them. Access is not actually  banned, so this is a conscience call for all trampers and runners.

Starting through a birch forest the track slowly climbs right from the start. A couple of kms into the track you hit a stretch short steps with a few metres of track in between that take you up through to the tussock area. Once you get out of the trees there are stunning views over Lake Rotoaira and the surrounding area.

The rest of the first 10km is a steady climb up towards the base of Mt Ngauruhoe. It provides more stunning views - l could see parts of Lake Taupo on the day l went up (a bit cloudy.) On a clear day you could probably see all the way to Taupo.

Then you get to the top area. You pass Blue Lake, Emerald Lakes and the Red Crater through stunning volcanic landscape. In this part of the tack is the climb across the Red Crater summit which is very steep and covered in scree.

From the top it's a continuous descent down to Mangatepopo carpark which is very runnable. It starts of steep with a lot of sets of stairs and then turns into a slower descent on gravel track and boardwalks. Watch out for people coming towards you in this part as the track is narrow. Also remember that a lot of tourists will step to the right not the left to give way!

About 1km away from Mangatepopo carpark you can turn left on to the Northern Circuit to get to Whakapapa (9km away on deeply rutted trail)

Trail Community

Find people who are interested in this run.

You must register or login to view this content.

Features of interest

Emerald Lakes, Mt Doom (Ngauruhoe), Red Crater

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 2%

Technical Single Track: 18%

Moderate Single Track: 15%

Easy Single Track: 65%

Route Data


You must register or login to view this content.


You must register or login to view this content.

Your Trail Wishlist

All the runs that are on your To Do list (no limit).

Add to wishlist view wishlist

Your Trail Dreamlist

The runs you most want to do (limited to 10).

Add to dreamlist view dreamlist

Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Tongariro Crossing Ketetahi Carpark off SH46

    Note there's a 4hours parking limit in place so best to get dropped off or take a shuttle bus from National Park or Whakapapa Village.
    Taking the bus from Whakapapa gives the option to add another 9km at the end of the track (on the Northern Circuit) to get back to whakapapa village

    25 km

    19 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Generally good.

    Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival blanket, Cellphone, Map, Crampons / microspikes (for winter conditions).

    No drinking water along the trail

    Weather can change very quickly and it is a lot colder at the top of the mountain than at the start
    The majority of the trail is exposed terrain
    Plenty of people on the trail

    Steep and gravelly
    Plenty of people
    Mountainous terrain

  • Post run indulgence

    Chateau Tongariro
    Whakapapa Village
    High tea with a view

    Tussock Bar and Restaurant
    Whakapapa Village
    Decent pub food - casual option

  • Blog Posts and Articles
  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


Got a favourite trail? Tell us about it.

Share the love and add your favourite trail(s) to our growing trail directory.

Submit A Trail

Become a member today

Start enjoying the many benefits to becoming a member of our thriving community.

Become a member

Great brands at great prices with our VIP member's discount

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for latest offers and trail guides

Share this trail with a friend:

VIP Membership

Please register as a VIP or login to your VIP account to view this content.

Cancel Login Register

Membership Required

You can see up to three trail guides without being logged in but after that we require you to be logged in to your Free or VIP account. If you don’t yet have an account you can register here.

Login Register