Photo copyright: Bennett & Slater

Roxburgh Gorge Trail

OverviewTrail Status: Partially Open

Alexandra — Roxburgh Dam (1 day, 34km)

The Roxburgh Gorge Trail provides a spectacular one-day ride from Alexandra to Lake Roxburgh Dam, following the Clutha Mata-au River. The trail offers the opportunity to explore one of the most unique landscapes in New Zealand, and every season offers a different experience.

Starting from Alexandra, riders soon enter the Roxburgh Gorge, with bluffs rising almost 350m on either side of the river at its most dramatic point. Gold-mining history plays a big part in the attraction of this trail, with many remnants to be seen.

The middle section of this trail is currently not accessible by bike, so there is a 12km scenic boat trip down the river, which includes an informative commentary on the history of the region, before riders continue on their bikes. Please note the boat must be booked in advance.

The trail ends at the Lake Roxburgh Dam, but on the other side of the river another Great Ride begins – the Clutha Gold Trail. The Roxburgh Gorge Trail also connects with the Otago Central Rail Trail at Alexandra.

Together these three trails provide almost 250km of non-stop Great Riding! The Roxburgh Gorge Trail was officially opened on 24 October 2013.

NOTE: An annual maintenance contribution of $25 per person, or $50 per family, covers the cost of trail maintenance for the use of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. The fee also covers the use of the Clutha Gold Trail, which follows on from the Roxburgh Gorge Trail and can be paid at local bike tour companies and i-SITES. A 1-day pass is available for $10 per person, or a life pass for $500.


The trail opens areas of historical signifi cance, with old schist huts built into the rock by Chinese miners and the remains of two small mining settlements.

The chance to explore these well-preserved mining relics within this imposing and inspiring landscape is one of the highlights on this trail.

Be Prepared

MOBILE PHONE COVERAGE: Mobile phone coverage is not available in most sections of the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. However, there is coverage between Alexandra and the Narrows.

DRINKING WATER: Riders should take water and food. Once in the Gorge there are no food / water outlets.

Weather Info

The Central Otago region is a year round destination for mountain bikers. Every season offers a different experience. The region enjoys a a continental climate of temperature extremes.

In late spring the hillsides are covered in purple with flowering wild thyme and in late summer and autumn the celebrated colours of Central Otago contrast with the brilliant blue sky, the dry hillsides and the schist outcrops.

Summers are mainly hot and dry with temperature averaging from 10 - 30+ ̊ C. While it’s mostly T-shirt and shorts weather, it’s a good idea to have an extra lightweight layer to cover up from the sun during the hottest part of the day. The UVI (ultra violet index) is often high making sun hats, sunscreen, sunglasses, and water bottle essential everyday accessories.

Winters are cold and still with temperatures ranging between -6 - 15 ̊ C . Frequent freezing overnight temperatures cast an almost permanent frosty veneer across the land. Snow covers the surrounding hills and mountains for much of the winter and occasionally falls and lies on the trail. Fog can linger but usually clear blue skies break through by mid-morning. The days are short with daylight hours from 8am until 5pm from mid-June until mid July.

Trail Partner

Inspiration, News and Updates

Majestic rugged mountains, spectacular glaciers, wild coastlines, emerald blue lakes - it’s all here and within reach. New Zealand boasts an amazing variety of landscapes and equally amazing biking. This ultimate 14 day adventure offers the perfect opportunity to ride 3 of the famous cycle trails allowing you to achi...


‘Social licence’. You’ll have heard the term and have an idea what it means. But exactly what does it look like in the context of the New Zealand Cycle Trail? Cycle Journeys’ Geoff Gabites provides some perspective. When did you first come across ‘social licence’ and what does it mean to you? The week...
Congratulations to Roxburgh Gorge Trail and Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail, who have been recognised with a TripAdvisor 2018 Certificate of Excellence. Only select businesses receive a Certificate of Excellence, which is based on the consistently great reviews the Trail have earned on the world's largest travel site. ...


Do you ever want to get on your bike and just ride for days? Well plans for the first of three major new Central Otago cycle trails have reached the consent stage, as more details for the trail are revealed. The proposed Lake Dunstan Trail will pass through the Cromwell Gorge from Cromwell to Clyde on the opposite s...


Tony Lepper - Mayor, Central Otago District
The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is an exciting addition to Central Otago’s trail network, traversing a fantastically remote part of our district which boasts a rich cultural heritage. TONY LEPPER – Mayor, Central Otago District