Birchville Dam LoopBeginner
Submitted by Joe Benbow
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This trail is dog friendly if they're kept on a lead
Head up the track from Tulsa Park and turn onto the zig-zag track when you reach the first intersection. (For a longer loop via the trig, you could take Valley View Road instead).
At the top of the short, sharp hill, turn right at the noticeboard/map signposted for Birchville Dam. There is both a 4WD track and walking track running alongside each other. It's safer (and more enjoyable) to take the grassy walking track which will regularly intersects back along with the 4WD track anyway. Eventually you'll come to a viewpoint with a bench, and a gravel path heading downhill. Take this path down, crossing the stile and continue down the path and steps until you arrive at the dam.
From here, it's a gentle 1k downhill alongside the stream (look out for the waterfall), and a pretty old-school swingbridge, which brings you to Bridge St carpark.
Follow the signs to Totara Park along the Hutt River trail, then just before you get to the bridge crossing the river, turn right into California Park. Head straight through the park onto California Road, which will lead you back to Tulsa Park where you started.
Features of interest
Birchville Dam is believed to be the second unreinforced concrete arch dam built for water supply in New Zealand. It was built in 1930 for the Upper Hutt Borough Council to provide increased water capacity for the borough and replaced a water supply weir built in 1913–1914 at the same location on Clarke's Creek, near Birchville. Decommissioned in 1958, when Upper Hutt joined the Wellington regional water scheme, this dam is now an historic attraction on the Cannon Point Walkway.
Make Up of Run
Easy Single Track: 90%
Sealed Road: 10%
Start at the Tulsa Park car park in Totara Park.
(You could also start/finish at Bridge St car park closer to the dam)
Car park is a reasonable size but there is space on the nearby residential streets too. Assumed to be fairly safe in the daytime.
The walking track from Cannon Point trig to the dam runs on and off the 4wd track. You might think you're going off track but it always joins up again.
Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone.
There is a water fountain at Tulsa Park
Middle part of the route can be a bit muddy after rain but rest of the track is well drained
Keep an eye out for mountain bikes and 4wds on the forestry track
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