Pulling in ambitious riders, these adrenaline-pumping mountain biking downhill trails are irresistible for their eye-popping alpine country backdrop.
Accessed via the Coronet Peak ski area road, around 15km from Queenstown, Coronet Peak and Skippers Canyon are home to some of the most exciting mountain biking trails in New Zealand, built for flowing riding with the bonus of incredible mountain scenery.
Named after a rather manly geological feature and masterfully sculpted into the terrain by the local mountain biking club, Rude Rock Mountain Biking Trail is 3km of exhilarating single track descending a tussocky mountainside.
Dipping and swerving as it follows the contours of the land, this mountain biking trail in Queenstown perfectly balances flow with fall for a ride that skilled riders can hit at full tilt. Some exposed, steep sections and the occasional rocky drop ramps the ride up to grade 4, but confident, intermediate bikers should be able to handle – and thoroughly enjoy – most of the trail.
Stopping to catch your breath allows appreciation of the wide-angle views across the Wakitipu Basin, with the Remarkables’ jagged peaks cutting across the horizon. As New Zealand mountain biking legends the Kennett Brothers say, "It doesn’t get any better than this". These tracks are a prime reason why mountain biking in Queenstown is considered to be an epic experience worldwide.
A purpose-built downhill called Pack, Sack & Track links the bottom of Rude Rock Mountain Biking to the nearby Skippers Pack Mountain Biking Trail. Built in the 1860s to feed the gold fever raging in the isolated mining settlement of Skippers, it offers a more old-school backcountry riding experience as it winds down a tussock-covered gully peppered with crazy rock formations.
This track ends at the Skippers Road, one of the narrowest and most treacherous public roads in the country. It’s an about an hour’s grind back up it to Skippers Saddle, a good place to park your car so you can avoid driving into the Canyon. Local shuttle drivers and mountain bike tour operators will gladly shuttle you in and out of Skippers Canyon, as required.