The trail is a four wheel drive gravel and scoria road that heads up onto the flanks of Mount Ruapehu. After climbing steadily up for 13km and gaining about 600 metres you'll reach the Tukino skifield. Enjoy the stupendous alpine views and rugged environment, then head back down the way you come for a thrilling down hill run. Don't attempt this ride in winter.
If you continue up the mountain on foot from the skifield you'll come to the Whangaehu River. The mountain is an active volcano and high above you is a steaming hot crater lake. On Christmas Eve 1953 it burst its bank and a huge lahar cascaded down the Whangaehu River towards the Tangiwai railway bridge. Also headed for the bridge was the night train with 252 people and many more Christmas presents on board. The lahar - a six metre high wave of water, ice, mud and rocks - got to the bridge first.... The train plunged into the maelstrom and 151 people died.