The West Okataina Trail is one of our favorite backcountry trails in the Rotorua lakes area that we ride on our Central North Island MTB Tour.
This 4 hour ride is a classic that takes you along an old forestry road from Lake Okareka up and over into Lake Okataina. The trail differs a lot from the Nearby Whakarewarewa Forest in the way that it is not groomed and it does not get much traffic. It is 17Km through mostly Native Forest so it takes a while for it to dry out after rain which also restricts access. But, when it is good to go, it really is great!
The trail undulates for the first 11km as you climb up to a trig point and then there is a side trail up to a view and then 5km of down hill to the end. With it being an old logging road from when they were logging big old Rimu, Totara, Matai, and Rata, it is well benched with good sight lines. The fact that it hasn't been used for much other than riding and walking for the last 100 years means that it is not a groomed surface and is mainly single track with some spots being grade 3-4.
All in all this great ride will get you out into a beautiful area that is totally under used so you are away from the crowds. Finishing off at Lake Okataina with a nice cold local craft beer, there is no better way to spend a day!