“This is an unsealed access road to a club skifield on the eastern slopes of Mt. Ruapehu.
— Peter Blakeman
This trail is in an alpine environment and the weather can change very quickly. Even in summer, the trail can sometimes have ice and snow. Check weather forecasts before running this trail. There is a gate 4 kms before the skifield, but bikers and runners are allowed past the gate. Please stay on the formed roads.
The Tukino Skifield Access Road starts on State Highway 1, also known as The Desert Road, between Turangi and Waiouru. The road is unsealed and weather events can have very adverse effects on it. The first 7 kms are fairly flat as you head across wide open spaces with views of Mt. Ruapehu and Mt. Ngauruhoe. Vegetation is sparse and small and the area is very flat so the views are unrestricted and absolutely stunning. After 7 kms of flat easy running, you'll reach 'Base Camp'. 2WD vehicles are not allowed past this point, as the trail starts climbing another 7 kms up to Tukino Skifield and the trail becomes steeper and more technical.
As you start to climb, the views become simply breathtaking as the massive 'desert' plains spread out behind you. You'll be amazed at the incredible size of the valleys, lahar paths, and rock formations as you climb the volcanic landscape towards Tukino. It's a landscape like no other. The trail has a few rough sections but is generally in pretty good condition during the summer. This is not a winter trail as it will be covered in snow and ice.