Last Updated: 22nd Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done

Escarpment Track

Paekakariki, Wellington

Submitted by Gary Crilley

Last Updated: 22nd Apr 2024

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 26 ?

Gnarl Factor: 37 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible

Out and Back

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush


Open farmlands

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Moderate Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +13.8%

Average Downhill Gradient: -14.1%


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Estimated Times to Run







This is part of the Te Araroa trail, recently opened, and it tracks the steep escarpment above State Highway One between Paekakariki and Pukerua Bay. I've marked it as Point to Point as it can be run one way, but it's easier as a there-and-back, leaving a car at one end. The trail includes 500 steps each way (1000 in total for there and back) and some of it requires a good head for heights. Watch out for walkers, and there are absolutely no dogs or mountain bikes allowed.

Views are incredible and if you're lucky you can even see whales off shore.

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This is either a there-and-back run or can be run one way using public transport. There is a railway station at each end of the track and trains run at least hourly, or more frequently during the week.

1 km

2 minutes




Hardest part is finding the beginning, which at Paekakariki is underneath the bridge on State Highway One, and at Pukerua Bay is at the old Muri Station. Signs from Pukerua Bay and Paekakariki stations guide you to the start. Once on it though, the trail is very well signposted and it's impossible to get lost as there are no deviations. But there also are no bail points, so the only way off is to continue to the end or go back to the start.

Generally good.

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

None. Take water with you as the climbs are brutal.

Much of the track is narrow clay cut out of a very steep escarpment. After rain it can get slippery, and strong wind can be hazardous.

Narrow track with sharp falls and no handrails. Watch out for walkers/runners coming the other way. Best to give way and not crowd others too close to the drop. Descending steep steps requires concentration.

Beach Road Deli
Beach Road, Paekakariki
Good seats outside and great coffee

Trail Legend

Trevor  Rowe

Trevor Rowe

has completed Escarpment Track twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Great day hike/walk our with beautiful views of Kapiti Island on a good day. :)

Zavana McAffer

May 23, 2022

Runners take note, there was a slip on the track and there is a little detour.

As always, enjoyed the run, views are amazing.

Michelle de la Rey

December 5, 2021

3rd April 2021
This had been on my wish list for a wee while. So with a friend we set off after parkrun. Started at Paekakariki end. We only went the one way.
Fantastic sunny day with hardly any breeze and quite a few people on the track.
Yes it was steep in bits and was glad to be going down some of those steps instead of up. But would like to go back one day and do it both ways.
very enjoyable and great views

Megan Bigg

April 7, 2021

Hubby and I loved this incredible trail. We parked at Pukerua Bay railway station, took the train to Paekakariki railway station, and then walked back to our car along the trail. Definitely choose a day that's not too windy and I wouldn't recommend this one if you suffer from vertigo! The trail has lots of steps, two swing bridges and practically hangs off the cliff in parts! There's also some pleasant bush interludes with lovely nature stops. There's also plenty of benches along the way for taking a rest (and photos). On a sunny day, especially at weekends and on public holidays, this trail is very popular and it's not always easy to pass people coming in the opposite direction. If you want to run this trail then go mid-week when it's likely to be quieter. We hiked it as we wanted to take our time to enjoy the amazing scenery.

Sarah Lee

January 1, 2021

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