This memorable one-day mountain bike ride traces the old Dun Mountain Railway into breathtaking alpine territory before barreling downhill for 20km back to Nelson city. Dun Mountain’s unique geology, rich mining history and epic viewpoints make this one of New Zealand’s finest day rides for fit, experienced riders. For a shorter option, there are hour loops or climb then descent, like the Codgers Mountain Bike Park at the entranceway.
One of this trail’s many charms is that it starts just 15-minutes’ bike ride from central Nelson. Completing the full loop involves a technical downhill over loose, rocky terrain, and should only be attempted by experienced mountain bikers with energy to burn. Riders of lesser ability, however, can still enjoy a view-filled adventure by following the trail up to Coppermine Saddle and returning the same way.
From the trail entrance at Brook Street, the track climbs gently but steadily up the flanks of Dun Mountain along an old railway corridor used to transport chromite from nearby mines. With increasing elevation the view widens into an impressive panorama back across Nelson, Tasman Bay, and the faraway ranges.
Emerging from mature beech forest onto an exposed ridge, the vegetation changes dramatically to stunted manuka and scrubland as it passes into the infertile but distinctly coloured mineral belt. The single track then continues up to the trail’s highpoint, Coppermine Saddle (878m), affording dramatic views of the Richmond Range.
From the saddle it’s almost 10km of thrilling, often technical downhill over rocky but rideable terrain. At Maitai Dam the track flattens out for a leisurely cruise down the Maitai Valley road back to Nelson where bars and cafes offer well-deserved refreshment.
View trail map here.