Last Updated: 29th Apr 2024


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Birchville Dam Loop

Upper Hutt, Wellington

Submitted by Joe Benbow

Last Updated: 29th Apr 2024


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Grunt Factor: 10 ?

Gnarl Factor: 19 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Undulating, small hills only

Native bush

Run Makeup


Sealed Road

Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.3%

Average Downhill Gradient: -11.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







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. 

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.

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.

Car park is a reasonable size but there is space on the nearby residential streets too. Assumed to be fairly safe in the daytime.

7 km

11 minutes




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.

Generally good.

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

Trail Legend

Richele McKenzie

Richele McKenzie

has completed Birchville Dam Loop twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Due to the creation of a new subdivision and road, the start of the path is closed. There is a clearly marked detour around the road which connects you to the zigzag track. Follow the orange signs

Aimee Francois

April 28

Great, varied terrain. Decent slog up the zigzags but the view is worth it. Undulating grassy trail for a while, then sweet downhill all the way to the dam on single trail. Beautiful through the bush following the stream down to the road. The river trail takes you back to Tulsa Park - a bit of a pain in trail shoes but only a couple of kms. Nice run and dome history on the way.

Anne-Louise Robertson

October 21, 2020

The section between the dam and Bridge Rd is gorgeous - following the wee stream. The zig-zags up and over to get there was totally worth it. Trail was a mix of well formed track, grass, 4WD and road/footpath.

Jo Fink

October 8, 2020

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