The Te Iringa Trail in the Great Lake Taupo region in New Zealand wasn’t known for being mountain bike friendly due to challenging terrain and a massive number of fallen trees that required riders to hike-a-bike much of the trail. But two local mountain bike groups–the Hawkes Bay Mountain Bike Club and Taupo Mountain Bike Club–recently completed a massive trail work project to make the trail more accessible.
To give an idea of how challenging the Te Iringa trail was (and still is by all accounts), greatlaketaupo.com rates the trail a “technical grade 5 trail” and recommends riders spend 2 days completing the 38km out-and-back. And just to be clear, that’s 19km per day, which translates to just 12 miles in a day. Even with all the trail work to clear windfall, there’s still plenty of hike-a-bike to be done, and the ride is only recommended for advanced to expert riders looking for a remote, backcountry ride.
To carry out this trail work project, a helicopter was used to get trail crews to the camps where they spent the night in the bush. Fortunately, at the end of the out-and-back there is a hut–the Oamaru Hut–which sleeps 12. Riders can also choose to bring a tent and sleep out along the trail, bikepacking style.
Rowan Sapsford, Chair of Bike Taupo, had this to say:
The ride is still an adventure ride but the improvements we have made mean it is now more of a mountain bike trail and less of a hike and bike. We have carried out this work while still being careful to maintain the original wilderness character of the trail.
Riding the Te Iringa Trail is clearly a challenge but judging by the photos, it looks to be totally worth the effort!