- Some of NZ’s most spectacular, intact podocarp forest
- Mighty trees including rimu and totara
- The Cloud Forest – a scene straight out of The Lord of the Rings
- Optional detour to Mt Pureora summit for 360-degree views
- Magical birdlife including the kaka, tui and North Island robin
- Some challenging and fun riding
The trail starts at the Department of Conservation’s Nga Haerenga campsite, car park and Information Centre, sadly struck by lightning in September 2017. We’ll update you on the centre as the rebuild progresses. The Timber Trail is considered of grade 2 status (grade 3 when you include the significant gradual climb up the flanks of Pureora), it is not a technically difficult trail to ride on so it is very suitable for riders of all ages and abilities. It's popular among family groups and retirees wanting a mountain bike adventure in the backcountry. You'll just need to be careful on some of the descents, however there are warning signs erected to advise caution at the time. Always ride within control of your abilities.
The trail winds its way through the magnificent, virgin podocarp forest of Pikiariki Ecological Area. Around 3km in, a short detour leads to a historic 1920s logging caterpillar bulldozer, long-since abandoned in the bush it has been preserved for all of us to marvel.
The trail continues through an open area that was previously logged but is now regenerating with native and exotic trees. A gradual climb up the flanks of Mt Pureora reaches the first shelter after the 8km mark, a great place to pause and admire the view. The trail continues upward into the cloud forest, truly magical with its moss, gnarled trees and wafting mist. From here the trail gets a bit steeper, and at the 22km mark you’ll reach the first of the trail’s amazing suspension bridge, the 115m one over Bog Inn Creek.
From the trail’s highpoint, 970m above sea level, the trail is predominantly downhill, descending the south side of Mt Pureora and across the western flanks of the Hauhungaroa Ranges. Riders with good legs can take the 90-minute detour (total) to Mt Pureora Summit for incredible 360-degree views. On clear days you can see across the King Country and Lake Taupo. Epic and easily worth a bit of hike-a-bike! Soon after the highpoint is the trail’s only spot of cellphone reception where you can update your Facebook or Instagram status, that shouldn’t make anyone envious, right?
The next mighty suspension bridge is the 109m one over Orauhora Creek, soon followed by Harrisons Creek where there’s a toilet and rest area. It’s another 13km or so to Piropiro Flats where the DOC campsite, Timber Trail Lodge and Black Fern Lodge are located.
Piropiro Flats is a central point for visitors to the Timber Trail and has a social atmosphere, especially in the summer months when a constant stream of happy bike-packers come through and camp. Shuttle pick-ups can be organised from here too as long as they are booked in advance. It is highly advisable to pre-book your shuttles and your other logistics in advance so you can enjoy your time on the Timber Trail. Why not book a tour package with one of our awesome local operators?