A modern mountain-biking classic famous the world over, the Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail is an epic wilderness adventure through remote mountain ranges and backcountry.
The Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail is New Zealand’s longest singletrack and a must-do for experienced mountain bikers in search of the ultimate backcountry cycle journey. Winding up and over the mountains, it follows the footsteps of old gold miners’ on two rediscovered trails now linked by a flowing track. This Ngā Haeranga Great Ride of New Zealand(opens in new window) has a unique history, flourishing birdlife and memorable overnight stops in simple huts.
The trail is best ridden from the southern end at the old ‘ghost town’ of Lyellfrom where it climbs steadily through young forest to reach the first of six backcountry huts(opens in new window). Faraway views open up as the trail emerges above the bush line and passes its highpoint (1280m) before reaching the superbly situated Ghost Lake and its namesake hut.
Highlights of the journey onward include the 11 kilometre (km) downhill into Stern Valley, and flowing trail beside the beautiful Mokihinui River and through its remote gorge. Up close, The Old Ghost Road will wow you with natural wonders such as the endangered whio (blue duck)(opens in new window), lush podocarp forest and spectacular rock forms.
The trail can be completed in full over two days, but you will need to be extremely fit and experienced. It is recommended that to enjoy the cycle trail more cyclists should allow 3-4 days – especially as staying overnight in the trail’s huts and campsites(opens in new window)is such unique experience. Day rides can also be enjoyed from either end.
Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails Official Website
A detailed description of this Great Ride, including maps and more information, can be found here.
The Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail is a remote journey which takes you over rugged terrain, it is not suitable for unexperienced cyclist as it is a grade 4 (advanced) rating. There are some particularly narrow and rocky sections where cyclists are required to dismount and walk.
A high-quality, mountain bike in excellent working condition is essential (dual-suspension is highly recommended), as are good mechanical skills and necessary tools.
The trail is well signposted, but cyclists should carry a map and a mobile phone, although coverage is only available in some areas. Carrying a personal locator beacon (PLB) is strongly recommended and can be hired from outdoor gear shops.
The trail is open all year but can be subject to heavy rain, cold temperatures and snow on elevated sections, even in summer, so appropriate clothing is vital. And always check the weather(opens in new window) before you begin the trail.
There are four basic huts on The Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail and they must be booked in advance through The Old Ghost Road website, each with mattresses, water supply and toilets. The Department of Conservation operates two further huts, and a campsite at the Lyell trailhead.