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Dun Mountain Trail


Brook St Entrance to Third House, (Grade 3 Intermediate) 11.3km

The trail follows the original railway alignment through the Codgers Trails to reach native forest in a couple of gullies before reaching Bullock Spur.

The alignment continues through regenerating forest to Cummins Spur Crossing (Four Corners).

From here the trail continues at a pleasant gradient through mature beech forest, eventually reaching the site of Third House at 660m.

Third House to Coppermine Saddle, (Grade 3 Intermediate) 6km

This trail continues to Junction Saddle where the old railway alignment joins the main ridge.

Beyond Junction Saddle the trail continues to climb steadily through stunning beech forest all the way to the site of Fourth House.

Soon after Coads Creek is crossed a sudden change in vegetation from mature forest to the stunted manuka and shrubland of the ‘mineral belt’ occurs. This type of infertile, distinctly coloured landform belt is also found in Otago.

The single track takes you all the way from here to Coppermine Saddle (878m) for some great views of the Richmond Range down to the Maitai Valley.

Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam, (Grade 4 Advanced) 9.3km

From here the descent to the Maitai Dam is the most technical part of the ride. There are great switchbacks and some sections are loose and rocky.

The landscape is amazing and the scenery breathtaking. The lower section is steep as you descend into Sclanders Creek then over the new Maitai River south branch bridge and on to the Maitai Dam.

Along the journey are several well researched and beautifully presented interpretive panels that capture the human and natural history.

Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford, (Grade 3 Intermediate) 3.8km

From the dam, the trail runs alongside the Nelson water pipeline and down a cruisy downhill to come out at Smith Ford Bridge further down the valley.

Smiths Ford to Maitai Entrance, (Grade 3 Intermediate) 3.1km

From Smiths Ford the route continues on the road to the Maitai Motor Camp, then it is either a road ride back to Nelson via the Maitai Valley Rd or you can follow the Maitai Valley Walkway down to Nile St and Nelson City.

Completing the circuit

If you want to complete the circuit back to Brook St you can either head back into town and back up Brook St, or head over the Groom Creek trail behind Maitai Motor Camp.

On the left, just past the camp entrance, go over the bridge, over the gate and follow the fire road climbing back to Tantagee Saddle, then down to Brook St.

PLEASE NOTE: You have the option of starting the trail at the Maitai Entrance instead of Brook Street in order to get all of the climbing done first.

Getting There

Nelson's central location at the top of the South Island makes the region very accessible from all points around New Zealand, whether arriving by road, by air, or by sea.

By Road

Many visitors drive to Nelson as part of a South Island tour. Good roads connect Nelson to the West Coast via the Kahurangi National Park, to Blenheim and to Christchurch via the Lewis Pass. Whether you travel to Nelson through Murchison or follow the Kaikoura coast you will see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country. Nelson Tasman region is well serviced by coaches operating into and around the region.

Driving distances and times:

Blenheim to Nelson (117 km) 1 hr 45 mins
Picton to Nelson (144 km) 2 hrs
Westport to Nelson (266 km) 3 hrs 15 mins
Christchurch to Nelson (424 km) 6 hrs

By Air

Nelson airport is the fourth busiest commercial airport in New Zealand, and flights operate from 6 am to 10pm pm daily with more than 66 arrivals and departures to and from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

In addition, there are scheduled flights on light aircraft between Nelson and Paraparaumu and between Takaka and Wellington, Palmerston North and Karamea

By Sea

Regular Cook Strait ferries provide vehicle and passenger access between Wellington in the North Island and Picton in the South Island. The two primary ferry companies are the Interislander and Bluebridge. Regular coach services connect Nelson and the inter-island ferry services at Picton.

Visitor Information

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

We asked Jim Robinson from Motu Trails to talk to us about all things biking and Opotiki.  Modest as ever, Jim said it pushed his comfort zone a little, feeling happier behind the page not on it.  We’re thrilled to have gleaned a few snippets and look forward to the next chapter as this exciting Trail goes from str...


A huge congratulations is in order for the Old Ghost Road which has become one of nine trails in the World to be taken into the International Mountain Bicycling Association's (IMBA) stable of 'EPIC Rides'. Nine new trails and rides have been added to the list of demanding, mostly singletrack experiences in remote, b...
The Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust has been awarded the Overall Winner for Tasman in the 2016 Trustpower Nelson Tasman Community Awards. The community awards, held in Nelson, celebrated 270 million volunteer hours from across the country with the help of this year's nine other category winners, runners-up, final...


Some good news for riders on the Dun Mountain Trail. Full reinstatement of the Dun Mountain Trail in the cut-over forestry area was completed this week. The temporary detour on the Dun Mountain Trail that was constructed to avoid a section of the Trail damaged during forestry harvesting has now been decommissioned. ...


The Dun Mountain Trail is expected to be reopened for cyclists and walkers from 24 December 2015. The Trail has been closed between Tantragee Saddle and Third House since August to allow for forestry harvesting. A short section of track requires repair work which will not be completed by the time the trail open...


A section of the Dun Mountain Trail is to be closed to allow logging operations to take place in the Brook Valley forestry block. The section of the trail between the Tantragee Saddle and Third House will be closed for approximately four months from Monday 10 August 2015. Alternative routes are being suggested to...


Rachel Reece - Mayor of Nelson
When you mix spectacular scenery with a pristine mountain trail you get an unforgettable experience. See for yourself why more than 10,000 people have made Dun Mountain Trail one of NZ’s hottest spots for mountain biking. RACHEL REECE – Mayor, Nelson City