A missing American tourist who got lost on a popular Waikato walking track has been found cold and wet by searchers.

Specialist search and rescue teams scoured the Wairere Falls Track near Matamata late into the night after the man in his 30s failed to meet up with a friend.

A police spokeswoman said the pair had earlier split up to walk separate routes but planned to meet later at their car.

When the man failed to return, the alarm was raised about 8.30pm.

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Land, Search and Rescue crew members found the man just before midnight.

"It appears he took a wrong turn and got lost," said the spokeswoman.

"He was cold and wet but unharmed."