The track can be walked from either direction but is easiest from the Mangahao roadend.
Starting from Shannon follow Mangahao Road past Mangaore village and the Mangahao power station. Follow the narrow and winding road for 6 km to the saddle and a 1 km descent to the Tokomaru Valley road junction on left which leads to the start of Burtton's track. From the junction drive a further 2.4 km, past the Arapeti (Tokomaru #3) dam. 400 m past the Tararua Forest Park sign is a small parking area. This is the start of the track.
Starting from Levin at the end of Queen Street East follow Gladstone Road for 8 km passing the Levin water treatment works and the Gladstone Road Reserve. On the right is Poads Road crossing the Ohau River. Continue along Gladstone Road and 300 m past the Makahika Outdoor Centre on the left is the eastern entrance to the Arapaepae Lookout Trail. It is a further 1.9 km along Gladstone Road Poulton Drive junction to the carpark and start of the track.
Several stream crossings are required.