IntroductionClimb above the bush line to the exposed alpine ridge of Umukarikari and Mount Urchin. Enjoy fantastic views and access the Waipakihi valley and hut.
Umukarikari Track to Waipakihi Hut
Time: 6 - 8 hr one way
Distance: 14 km
The track climbs steadily through beech forest to the treeline. From there it follows a poled route along the Umukarikari Range (summit 1561 m) before dropping down to Waipakihi Hut. It's popular with hunters as well as trampers.
Urchin Track to Waipakihi Valley
Time: 3 - 4 hr one way
Distance: 7 km
The track climbs steadily up through beech forest and above the bush line to the Urchin Trig (1391 m) (3 - 4 hours). The upper section has an interesting array of alpine plants and a wide vista of Lake Taupō and the volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park.
From here, the track travels for about 2 km across open tops before dropping sharply down to the mid reaches of Waipakihi River Valley. There are many great places to camp in the valley or you can continue upstream to Waipākihi Hut near the top of the valley (an additional 5 - 6 hours walk).
U2U: Urchin to Umukarikari loop
Time: 8 hr 30 min - 10 hr
Distance: 18.5 km
Starting on the Urchin Track, climb up onto the tops, but instead of dropping down to the Waipakihi River Valley, carry on straight ahead towards Sharp Cone (1481 m) following a bushed ridge line. Once you meet the Umukarikari Track, the track carries on west along the tops and then drops down to the Umukarikari carpark.
This has become a popular long one day loop, but please note a car shuttle is required, as there is a distance between Urchin and Umukarikari carparks.
No mountain biking allowed.
The tracks are signposted on Kaimanawa Road, 15 km south of Tūrangi off SH1.
When planning a trip in this area, read Kaimanawa Forest Park: know before you go.