Mangahao Dams

 Length      34km
 Time  3 Hours
 Difficulty  Grade

How to get there

Ride from the car park past the Power House at Mangaore, up Mangahao Rd to a series of Hydro Dams in the Tararua foothills behind Shannon. From the Power House, start off climbing up Mangahoe Rd for about 4km to reach the saddle (400m asl) and descend to the Lower No3 Dam.  Stop for photos and then continue along the road beside the dam before you start climbing up and over the hill to get to the middle No2 dam.  Once again you ride along side the dam until you reach the Upper No1 dam.  Stop here for a picnic before retracing your path back to the Power House. Total distance is 33.6km for the out and back trip.

For more info on the Mangahao Power Scheme follow these links
Photos in Te Papa collection of construction

Trip Tips
There is a car park across the road from the river, which is used for white water canoeing. from there cross the bridge to get to the Power House.

Mangahao Rd is still a public road so be aware that other vehicles may be using the road and don't become a hood ornament. 

The weather can change quickly and it can get quite cold, so take a jacket and layered clothing.
Suitable for children 10 years and up.  However, quite young children can manage the climbs with assistance from a bungee, but perhaps only take them as far as the first dam - approx 10km return trip. 

A bungee can be quite useful to allow children to join in and be assisted on the climbs by adults.  You can easily make a bungee from a length of elastic shock cord about 3m long.  Attach a couple of cheap spring clip carabinas to each end.  Attach one end to your seat post and the other around the head tube of your child's bike.  Take off slowly to take up the strain and then get your child to pedal too.  You will also need to teach your child to brake lightly on downhills to maintain tension on the bungee. Good training for adults and kids alike!

Mangahao Dams at EveryTrail

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