Trail Grades and Safety

Our trails have been graded according to the trail grade standards set out by NZ Cycle Trails. You can read them here.
The Trail is Grade 3 to Coppermine Saddle and the descent from the Saddle to Maitai Dam is Grade 4.

We recommend riders are fit and well prepared and we encourage you to know your limits and choose a trail that's suitable for all the riders in your group. Also be aware that there are areas on the trails where there is no cellphone reception. You may want to carry a Personal Locator Beacon in these areas. Check network coverage here.

We recommend you check the weather before starting the trail.  Check it here.


Coppermine Trail

This trail takes you into the backcountry. 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 should be ridden in one direction starting at Brook Street entrance and finishing at Maitai Dam. The trail 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 full loop is best suited to fit, experienced single-track riders with full-suspension mountain bikes.  For those less confident, simply U-turn at Coppermine Saddle or Third House and enjoy a return ride the way you came up. The Trail is Grade 3 to Coppermine Saddle and the descent from the Saddle to Maitai Dam is Grade 4.

From Nelson CBD the full loop is 43 km, shortened to 40 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.

Please note that NO DOGS are permitted on the Coppermine Trail.


Approximate riding times (excluding stops):

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

Coppermine Trail Map