2-4 Days 85 km


  • Remote wilderness adventure
  • Alpine tops with epic views
  • Captivating human history


Grade 4


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.

Old Ghost Road, New Zealand

Ride experience

Completely off the beaten track, the Old Ghost Road Cycle Trail(opens in new window) winds over the ranges between the Buller Gorge highway and the small, rural of Seddonville on the West Coast

The trail is best ridden from the southern end at the old ‘ghost town’ of Lyell from 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 (opens in new window)

Old Ghost Road, Skyline Steps, New Zealand

Need to know

  • 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.
  • Hut capacity is limited, so book well in advance(opens in new window). There’s no food or other support services on the trail, so riders needed to be self-sufficient and well prepared.
  • An excellent planning and safety video can be found here: The Official Old Ghost Road Video(opens in new window).
West Coast
Old Ghost Road Trail, West Coast

Transport & tours

It’s a 1 hour 45 min drive between the two ends of the trail. Around halfway between them is the main trail town of Westport which is the main base for tour companies and shuttles. Businesses offering transportation, equipment hire, heli-biking, and guided tours can be found on the Great Rides of New Zealand(opens in new window) and official Old Ghost Road(opens in new window) websites. 


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. 

There’s accommodation right at the northern trailhead in the magical Rough and Tumble Bush Lodge and plenty more in Westport and the surrounding countryside. Accommodation providers partnered with the trail are listed on the Great Rides of New Zealand and Old Ghost Road websites.

Useful links

Ngā Haerenga New Zealand Cycle Trails(opens in new window)

The Old Ghost Road(opens in new window)

Tourism West Coast(opens in new window)

Great Rides app - The Old Ghost Road(opens in new window)

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