Long Road Track – Cascade Kauri Regional Park
Tramping Track – Long Road Track provides a key link to many other tracks in the Cascades area. While following an old road may sound dull in comparision to some of the ‘big name tracks’ like the Auckland City Walk, Long Road Track is also a great walk in itself, especially with the recent upgrade work to improving the surface in stages. This is a working farm so please leave all gates as you find them. 4.2k 1 hour 30 min. (Source)
The Long Road track basically runs directly through the middle of the Cascade Kauri Regional Park and therefore is often used as a link between tracks, as such I had technically run the track in it’s entirety but until now I had never traversed the entire length in one go.
The track starts as a gravel driveway at the very end of Long Road. It’s a steep climb (for my little car) from Bethells Road and although there is no real car park as such, there is ample room on either side of the road to leave your car.
The first 1 kilometer is an uphill climb along the exposed gravel driveway past the Whatitiri track (on your left) through to the first farm gate. I find the climb pretty hard going, it’s exposed to the elements (it’s scorching on a sunny day and freezing if it’s windy, raining or early in the morning) and the gravel underfoot is large (think ankle breaking) BUT it’s far easier going when you go through (or in my case over) the first farm gate. From there you continue along the grass clearing between the farm paddocks (where a few curious cows may lift their heads to greet you) to reach the second farm gate, which you can walk around, just look for the wee path on the right hand side.
From that point it’s good old fashioned clay .. 😉
Well that is until you reach the Upper Kauri junction because from that point the Long Road track is included in the 8km Montana Heritage trail so vast sections of the track have been upgraded. The Upper Kauri end of the track is compacted gravel and the steep and muddy ascent up towards the Fenceline/Ridge Road/Long Road Junction has detours in place where you can veer off into the bush for a much easier (and far less muddy) climb.
I will note that of the three detours only two were marked (the first two if you are coming from Upper Kauri or the last two if you are coming from Fenceline or Ridge Road). That being said, even though the detour is unmarked and isn’t what I would consider a clearly defined path, if you are coming from the Fenceline/Ridge Road end it’s quite a natural turn (so much so that James and I turned onto it without even realising that the actual track continued straight ahead) and if you are coming from the Upper Kauri end you have already seen two detours so you do tend to look out for the one when you come to the next extremely muddy and steep section.
The detours will add distance to the listed track length (as they loop around and the official track continues straight ahead). On this day I took 2 of the 3 detours and my Garmin measured the distance from the gate at Long Road to the start of Ridge Road (where the Long Road Track ends) at 4.61 km.
All in all the Long Road track is one of my favorites, it’s wide, undulating (but not steep) and relatively obstacle free. Although it was way more slippery and boggy than I thought it would be on this particular day considering I had run along Cutty Grass (which when it rains is pretty much a river) a day earlier and it had been quite firm underfoot. I thought it would be an easy “long” Saturday morning run (combined with the Ridge Road it’s a 14k out and back) unfortunately on this particular morning I found myself more frustrated than anything else – I guess because the Long Road track is bush covered it takes far longer to to dry out than other tracks.
I thought it would be an easy “long” Saturday morning run (combined with the Ridge Road it’s a 14k out and back) unfortunately on this particular morning I found myself more frustrated than anything else – I guess because the Long Road track is bush covered it takes far longer to to dry out than other tracks.
That will teach me for trying to pick an “easy” route 😉
Till next time