If you have ridden the Coppermine Trail recently you will have noticed the improvements to the downhill section between Coppermine Saddle and Maitai South Branch. Work is ongoing and expected to be complete before the end of the year.
To complete this work, this section of trail will be closed during working hours (9am to 5:30pm) from Monday 18th November to Friday 20th December due to the presence of naturally occurring asbestos in the Serpentine rock found in this area. Experts have advised that this is not a health risk once the work is completed however precautions must be taken to protect workers and the public while dust is being generated from crushing this rock.
The Coppermine Trail will remain open from Brook Street to the Coppermine Saddle and the full loop will be open during the weekend. Walkers can also still access the Maitai Caves from Maitai Valley Road.

Coppermine Trail

The Coppermine Trail is one of New Zealand’s most accessible alpine mountain bike rides, all the more memorable for its relatively easy up, exhilarating down, amazing rocky tops, sweet-smelling beech forest, and meandering river trail.

Starting amidst Nelson’s cafés and pubs, this stunning day ride heads directly into spectacular hill country via Codger’s Trails area and a long, consistent climb along the historic Dun Mountain Railway route. Broad panoramas of Tasman Bay and the rocky tops of Coppermine Saddle are just some of the rewards. Others are the brilliant 10 km downhill through rock gardens and bush, and the leisurely pedal back to Nelson via the pretty Maitai Valley.

The technical Grade 4 downhill section makes the full loop best suited to fit, experienced single-track riders with full-suspension mountain bikes.  For those less confident, simply U-turn at Coppermine Saddle and enjoy a return-ride the way you came up.

From Nelson i-SITE the full loop is 43 km, shortened to 38 km if you start and finish at the Brook Street trailhead.

Although the ride time may only be 4-6 hours, we recommend you allow a full day to enjoy this unique environment.

You will be a long way from assistance in an alpine environment and mobile phone reception is patchy, so please ensure you have sufficient food, drink, spare tubes, first aid, and wet/cold weather gear to handle any problems you might encounter.


Approximate riding times (excluding stops):

  • Brook Valley to Third House - 1 to 2 hours
  • Third House to Coppermine Saddle - 30 to 60 minutes
  • Coppermine Saddle to Maitai Dam - 20 to 60 minutes
  • Maitai Dam to Brook Valley - 1 to 2 hours
View the trail map

Coppermine Trail Map