Dun Mountain Trail

The Dun Mountain Trail is open to cyclists and walkers.

Getting to the Dun Mountain Trail

From Nelson, ride up to the trail interpretation board just past 135 Brook Street. This is the start to the Dun Mountain Trail.

Maps of the trail

Download the Dun Mountain Trail map (1.1MB PDF)

Download the Dun Mountain Trail brochure - 1 (618KB PDF)

Download the Dun Mountain Trail brochure - 2 (666KB PDF)

The Dun Mountain trail is based on the line of New Zealand’s first railway used to transport minerals from the eastern slopes of the Wooded Peak. Today this historic railway provides a steady gradient to its terminus near Coppermine Saddle. The trail then descends to the Maitai Dam and follows the Nelson City water supply pipeline to the lower Maitai Valley.

The 38 km Dun Mountain Trail, is a circuit that loops between Brook Valley and the Maitai Valley and is suitable for bikers and walkers. The Dun Mountain rises to 1129m and is one of the most distinctive mountains around Nelson -due to its unique geology.

The newly upgraded trail was officially opened on 12 November -2011. It is the third great ride to be completed under Nga Haerenga, the New Zealand Cycle Trail.

Getting to the trail

If you are riding to the trail, access is best via the Brook Street entrance, just 2.7km from Nelson City centre. Head south out of Nelson up the Brook Valley to 135 Brook St where you will see an entrance sign and a kiosk immediately before Blick Terrace.

For those driving to the start of the trail head 6 km up the Maitai Valley from Nelson past the golf course to near the Maitai Camping Ground to where a similar entrance sign and kiosk have been installed.


Take warm clothing, food and water.

For Bikes: Grade Three Intermediate

Ride Time: 1 day

The Trail is suitable for most intermediate riders with a decent level of fitness required. Although the ride time may only take 4 -6 hours allow the day to enjoy this unique environment.

Video of Dun Mountain Trail

Watch the Dun Mountain Trail launch video.

Check out more Dun Mountain trail video.

Images from Dun Mountain Trail opening day

Go to our facebook page to check out opening day images.

Walk or ride the Dun Mountain Trail

Brook St Entrance to Third House

Time: Walking - 3 hours

Distance:  11.3 km

The trail follows the original railway alignment through the Codgers Mountainbike Park taking in pine forest and recently harvested land to reach  native forest in a couple of gullies before reaching Bullock Spur. The alignment continues through regenerating forest to Cummins Spur Crossing. (Four Corners) From here the trail continues at a pleasant gradient through mature beech forest eventually reaching the site of Third House at 660m.

Third House to Coppermine Saddle

Time: Walking 1.5 hours

Distance: 6 Km

The trail continues to Junction Saddle when the old railway alignment joins the main ridge. Beyond Junction Saddle the trail continues to climb steadily through stunning beech forest all the way to the site of Fourth House. Soon after Coads Creek is crossed a sudden change in vegetation from mature forest to the stunted manuka and shrubland of the 'mineral belt' occurs. This infertile, distinctly-coloured landform belt is also found in Otago and in several places between St Arnaud and D’urville Island. The single track takes you all the way from here to Coppermine Saddle (878m) for some great views of the Richmond Range down to the  Maitai Valley. 

Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam

Time: Walking – 2.5 hours

Distance: 9.3 Km

From here it’s mostly down hill to the Maitai Dam. This descent is said by many to be “one of most flowing pieces of single track around”. The landscape is amazing and the scenery breathtaking. The lower section is steep as you descend into Sclanders Creek then over the new Maitai River south branch bridge and on to the Maitai Dam. Along the journey are several well researched and beautifully presented interpretive panels that capture the human and natural history.

Maitai Dam to Smiths Ford

Time: Walking - 1 hour

Distance: 3.8 Km

The route currently connects back to the start of the trail via the Maitai Valley Road, however a further section of new trail will be added soon which runs alongside the Nelson water pipeline and down a cruisy downhill to come out at Smiths Ford Bridge further down the Valley.

Smiths Ford to Maitai Entrance

Time: Walking - 1hour ( road walk)

Distance: 3.1 Km

From Smiths Ford the route continues on the road to the Maitai Motor Camp, then it’s either a road ride back to Nelson via the Maitai Valley Road or to follow the Maitai Valley Walkway down to Nile Street and Nelson City.

Completing the circuit

If you want to complete the circuit back to Brook St you can either head back into town and back up Brook St or head over the Groom Creek trail behind Maitai Motor Camp back to the Tantragee Saddle then down to Brook St on the first part of the trail you started on.

Please remember: The track is shared with mountain bikers. Bikers should always give way to walkers and stay in control of their bikes. No animals, firearms or fires are allowed. Be wary of sudden weather changes, especially beyond Third House.