Riverhead Forest - Strip Road Loop
Walk status: Off-lead
Strip Road is the entrance just before Barlow Road, and ive passed it a few times thinking one day ill stop. After spending most of the morning trying to find somewhere else in Auckland that was new we could try, I gave up and headed to the forest. You know you'll always get a decent length walk out here and your dog is free to roam and sniff to their delight.
Parking here is ample. The entrance is shortly after the Avocado Farm on a blind bend so be careful turning in. Checking the map before we left home, there was a clear loop to be done. As ive mentioned in previous posts, its always my preference to try and loop a walk rather than having to back track on yourself. Be warned, there are beehives operating in this area so try not to let your dog get too close, or risk them being stung.
We set off up Strip Road which was a pleasant flat walk for a change. However that was short lived! This area is full of motorbike trails so you need to keep a close eye on your dog and keep listening out for them in case they are coming in your range. Heading straight up Strip Road we navigated past a couple of riders who were using the trails through the forest so we stuck to the main track and climbed the hill. The sound of the bikes soon disappeared into the distance and we enjoyed a stroll as it flattens out nicely after the climb.
There are a couple of tracks that lead off to the left of the main track, but neither of these were marked on the GPS so I can only assume they were motorbike trails rather than actual foresty tracks. You're on the lookout for the forest trail that is to the right of the main track. Easily found if you're following Map My Dog walk as its named Foresty Road.
Turning down this trail leads to a typical forest walk. A bit rough and probably very muddy over winter. It was all downhill though which is a nice reward after climbing the hill. The track navigates down to an open clearing before heading back into the forest and to a reasonably flat walk for the rest of the way.
The sound of the bikes started to get closer after a while so I knew we were heading back to the area they were using. At one point I decided to put George on his lead as I didn't want to risk injury to him or any of the riders if they came across each other on a blind corner. We ended up only having to navigate past two riders and we both gave each other the courtesy of getting past. The forest is a shared area, horse riders come through here, other dog owners, runners and the bikes of mountain and the motorbike variety. Everyone looks out for each other, so don't feel you can't walk here if the motorbikes are out, just be mindful of them as they should be of you.
Although I could hear lots of bikes and they were quite close, only two actually came onto the same path that we were on so they can hopefully be avoided if you stick to the main track.
Eventually the track leads you right back to where you started before you climbed the hill. You'll then take a left here to return down the main track to where you parked. You can of course go in the opposite direction, but either way you're climbing a hill and I think its easier to climb the gravel hill, then a muddy uneven forest trail.
This walk took us just shy of an hour and it was 4.3kms in distance.
Location: Strip Road entrance, located off Ararimu Valley Road
Carparking is good here, there is a small gravel lay by.
Things to know:
There are no toilets here
The gate is locked to vehicles, but walkers and bike riders still have access.
Strip Road > Foresty Road > Strip Road