Tree Trunk Gorge

The Tree Trunk Gorge trail will take you on a picturesque journey through the Kaimanawa Forest Park. It passes through classic central North Island beech forest, across streams and rivers and over two impressive gorges as it tracks along the upper section of the Tongariro River.

About an hour south of Taupo, this gem of a ride is just off the Desert Road. It has river crossings, rocks and awesome beech forest riding. You can turn around at the Pillars of Hercules and ride back the same way, or take the more challenging track back out to the State Highway and ride back along the road a few kilometres to your starting point.

This single track trail is great fun, but be prepared to get wet feet as there are river crossings along the route. A grade 4 trail, it is most suited to experienced riders and intermediate riders seeking a challenge. 

Getting There

The trail is located within the Kaimanawa Forest Park, just an hour’s drive south of Taupo and 15 minutes south of Turangi. It is easily accessed via Kaimanawa Road, just off State Highway 1.

Car parking is available at the northern end of the trail, at The Pillars of Hercules; or at the southern end, off Tree Trunk Gorge Road. Alternatively there are shuttle services available from either Taupo or Turangi.

Starting from the northern end, the trail begins with a challenging climb for a kilometre before evening out to reveal beautiful river fords and wooden bridges as you ride up the river. The last part of the trail is made up of a steep technical descent followed by a challenging climb.

The track is best enjoyed in fairer weather conditions and be prepared as the river crossings can be cold during the winter.

Please note: there is only limited mobile phone reception on the trail. Upon reaching the end at the Pillars of Hercules, you can turn around and ride back to get the best of both worlds, or have your pre-arranged shuttle meet you there and return you to your car.

Key Information

 Distance  7km
 Grade  4
 Time Required   2-3 hours
 Phone Coverage   Intermittent 
 Toilets  None
 Shuttle  Yes (pickup and return to car services). Book shuttle services prior to departure.
 See the shuttles and guides page for more information.


Tree Trunk Gorge Trail Map


Tree Trunk Gorge Trail Profile

Download the printable PDF of this Tree Trunk Gorge information.

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