Pakihi Track throws down the challenges


Winter/spring 2021 has been a challenging period for Pakihi Track maintenance—though it was a wonderful few months for the forest.

After a dry couple of years, June-October 2021 saw multiple heavy rain events. The normally-placid Pakihi stream river level topped 2.5 metres on six occasions (the river rises much further in the narrow sections up the valley). That compares with 2018, 2019 and 2020, when the water level topped 2.5 metres just once each year. In fact, you have to go all the way back to 2011 to find a year with so many floods as 2021.

The Pakihi valley is highly volatile terrain with steep hillsides and loose rock. As well as causing slips, heavy rain washes large volumes of rock and gravel down onto the track. Paradoxically, dry weather also causes issues!

This is why Pakihi Track maintenance by Motu Trails Charitable Trust has to be very regular — we’re up the track for a day, most weeks.

This is also one of the reasons why the Pakihi Track is rated grade 4 / Advanced. On some sections of the track, you will almost certainly come across piles of rock and gravel, even if maintenance was done only the previous day.

You need to have sound bike-handling skills to ride Pakihi Track safely. You also need to keep your speed down, always ride with care and be ready to walk at any stage. If you’re unsure, why not walk the track instead.

To know the latest trail conditions on Pakihi and elsewhere around the Motu Trails, check the Trail Conditions section.

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Proudly supported by

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  • Tairawhiti Gisborne
  • Opotiki Coast
  • The New Zealand Cycle Trail
  • Whakatohea