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Rotorua RedwoodsLast Update: 15/11/2015

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For full information, including maps, photos and detailed info on trail sections use the links on the right


The Rotorua Redwoods aka Whakarewarewa Forest, Whaka Forest, The Redwoods or simply The Forest, are the most amazing set of MTB Trails Ive ever ridden.  While some trail centers are starting to produce trails of the same quality nothing comes close to the scale of the Redwoods.

It takes a certain level of Maori linguistic skill to correctly pronounce Whaka as it sounds dangerously close to F#!%er. Most MTBers anglify it to the Wokka Forest or The Redwoods. Interestingly there are only a few trails that go through Redwood groves most are pine trees.

As of October 2015 Ive spent 18 days in the Redwoods and there are trails I still need to ride, there's also a pretty good chance there will be a whole set of new trails as well. The Redwoods is a commercial forest and therefore trails are destroyed as areas are logged, however this provides and opportunity to create new and even better trails, some of which I've been lucky enough to ride.

My first trip to the Redwoods was in January 2014 where I spent my time in the shuttle zone. My return trip in November 2014 saw me ride from one side of the forest to the other and most of the trails in between. 2 trips to Rotorua in one year? Yes its really that good! But it didn't end there, I went back in October 2015 where I rode every day for 9 days straight and to make you feel really bad I'm scheduled to return in January 16 for a further week. Yes .. it's really *THAT* good!

For more detailed information on these MTB trips please read the blog post links at the bottom of this page and for trail notes and videos click on the trail links on the right (desktop) or below (on mobile).

Regardless of your skill level and the bike you ride you are going to have fun riding in the Redwoods however do your homework prior to getting on the trails. In that regard I have 3 tips:

Tip 1 Trail Grading System

Understand the grading system and be sure you are capable of riding to that level. The Grading Numbers are a little inconsistent between the app and trail signage, however I've found the most reliable measurement is the colour scheme.

  • Green (usually Grade 3) trails - Generally flowing single track with some roots, rollers, optional jumps and the occasional rut.
  • Blue with White (usually Grade 4 or listed as Intermediate) trails - Have a reasonable level of technical challenges, contain a mix of steeps, roots, ruts, big berms and tight moderately steep turns.
  • Solid Blue (usually Grade 5 or listed as Advanced) - Should only be attempted by riders who can ride Grade 4 trails with confidence and speed with minimal braking, not only for their own safety but the safety of other riders who will be travelling at high speed. Expect the unexpected, unavoidable objects, steep and very rough terrain.
  • Black (Grade 6 and up) trails - If you need an explanation then you DEFINITELY shouldn't be riding them. These are Pro-Level trails designed for people who can do the stuff that average riders only dream of.

Tip 2 Download the TrailMap App

If youre just visiting then the official trail map app for Android or iOS is an absolute must, all other printed maps, including those at the major trail intersections, are out of date as of November 2014 and dont include some of the best trails in the forest. I've personally found the printed trails to be unreadable on the trail due to their fine printing.

Ive decided not to do maps for the Redwoods as the official trail app is far more comprehensive, however Ive tried to provide greater detail in the trail descriptions as well as tips on how to get in and out of some trails including many of the key access roads.

The Redwoods Forest is huge and while the trail signage is improving all the time it is easy to get lost and end up way out of your way, so again I recommend downloading the trail app.

Tip 3 - Plan your route

If you only have limited time in the forest I would recommend studying the trails carefully so not to be wasting valuable time riding up kilometers of forestry roads. When you know where you are going it is easy to link up quality single track to create an epic ride without slogging it up hills.

Need to know more?

Please dont hesitate to contact me about riding in the Redwoods, I would be only too happy to send through some really great loops based on your skill level and the types of trails you ride not to mention any tips on travelling to or staying in Rotorua.

Favourite Trails (in no particular order)

Descending trails - Corners, Te Tihi-O-Tawa & Billy T, Split Enz, Underbilly & Billy T, Eagle vs Shark, Tokorangi, Be Rude Not To 2, Exit Trail, Kung Fu Walrus

XC Trails Old Chevy, Yellow Brick Road, Pondy New, Dragons Tail, Mad If You Don't, Creek, Dipper, Arepa

Outstanding Beginner Flow Trails Dipper, Arepa

Need to change my underwear trails Hot X Buns, Kung Fu Walrus

Must do experiences


Halfway down Split Enz

Blog articles that mention this trail



This website is brought to you by MTB weekend warrior Aaron Markie.
There are plenty of great websites out there with a wealth of information about Mountain Bike Trails,
however in my experience its hard to get a good mix of info, maps, photos and videos of trails I've never ridden.
The idea of this website is to tie those 4 elements together and give you a more detailed look at the MTB Trails I ride.
If you have anything to add then let me know.