18.5 miles
4,440 ft
-4,296 ft
Avg time

Coppermine Trail Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Proline (2 votes)
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Direction
    Downhill Primary
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Dogs Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Berm, Bridge
  • Global Ranking
    #12657 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • #36366 in Trail Running
    • #68643 in Hiking
  • Local Popularity
    60 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 70 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking

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.

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.

Access Info

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.

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Coppermine Trail multi-use trail trail
  • Altitude change
    144 ft
  • Altitude min
    157 ft
  • Altitude max
    2,896 ft
  • Altitude start
    157 ft
  • Altitude end
    302 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    9 miles
  • Distance down
    9 miles
  • Distance flat
    1 mile
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Feb 3, 2023
Avg: 4.05 (23 votes)
Your vote: 0

view (790)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Snow Cover Inadequate
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Flow (Ridden Direction)
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The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
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  • < 50%
  • bi-directional trail
  • no data
Trail Last Ridden
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  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
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  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
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  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
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  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
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Radar Time
x Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public ridelogs from the past 6 months.
  • mountain biking recent
  • mountain biking (>6 month)
  • hiking (1 year)
  • moto (1 year)
Activity Recordings
Trailforks users anonymized public skilogs from the past 12 months.
  • Downhill Ski
  • Backcountry Ski
  • Nordic Ski
  • Snowmobile
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      Directions to coppermine-trail trailhead (-41.290560, 173.292760)
      update trails status or condition

      Coppermine Trail Trail Reports

      Feb 3, 2023 @ 10:43pm
      Feb 3, 2023
      Descent from Coppermine Saddle very rocky.
      Dec 4, 2022 @ 10:45am
      Dec 4, 2022
      reporter Temporary closure in place from Tantragee Kissing Kate to Four corners from 6am to 3.30pm from 5-9 December. Access via the Classic
      Nov 16, 2022 @ 12:02pm
      Nov 16, 2022
      reporter Descent from the Coppermine Saddle is very rough. Expect large boulders and uneven surface!
      Nov 10, 2022 @ 7:50pm
      Nov 10, 2022
      Climb from Smith’s Ford to 629 destroyed by the loggers
      Nov 10, 2022 @ 3:35pm
      Nov 10, 2022
      reporter Full loop open. Detour along Brook Sanctuary Fenceline from Four Corners to Third House. Exit at the Maitai Dam and finish the loop via the...
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 2 rides
      • 26 miles avg distance
      6 Months
      • 24 rides
      • 26 miles avg distance
      • 646 rides
      • Last: Feb 4, 2023


      more »
      17 |
      Feb 6, 2022 @ 7:47pm
      Feb 6, 2022
      58 |
      Feb 6, 2022 @ 7:47pm
      Feb 6, 2022
      117 |
      Mar 5, 2021 @ 12:33am
      Mar 5, 2021
      32 |
      Mar 5, 2021 @ 12:33am
      Mar 5, 2021

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      15 Reviews & Comments

      • + 0
      longliveenduro MTB - Augsburg (Feb 5, 2023 at 20:02)
      Much better than I expected. Great fun! Perfect after days of rain because of rocky surface.
      • + 0
      Tara40 (Aug 6, 2021 at 20:41)
      …..continued from above post. Thank you for the sign on the gate, we found how to get onto the trail.

      Head back down to Brook St and turn right, about 1km up the road you’ll come to a small reserve on your left. Go through the small gate & then you’ll have to lift your bike over a fence. Then follow the gravel road (Classic Trail) up to four corners, a steep climb beside the sanctuary fence until you get up to where Coppermine Trail crosses & you can get onto the trail from there.
      • + 0
      Tara40 (Aug 6, 2021 at 16:04)
      Currently closed for maintenance. Nothing on Nelson Mntn bike club’s website about it being closed. A disappointing start to our day.
      • + 1
      NMTBC NMTBC (Oct 11, 2021 at 14:54)
      Please note this trail is not managed by NMTBC, it is managed by Nelson Tasman Cycle Trails Trust.
      • + 1
      mat3986 (Feb 9, 2020 at 5:10)
      As noted by other folks recently the downhill sections must have had a lot of smoothing done on them recently - I encountered two separate work crews (ridden late Jan). The downhill is now on the easy side of intermediate vs. the newly out of date older descriptions of rockier downhills and the Advanced difficulty rating given to the downhill section in the 2017 edition of the awesome Jonathan Kennett "The New Zealand Cycle Trails" book.

      Even as an intermediate & safety-conscious rider, the downhill of a few years ago sounds like it was a more fun payoff for that long ride uphill. A no-suspension bike will have no problems here. Also constraining is that you'll want to manage your speed in expectation of other track users around any of the blind corners.

      The main payoff for the long up is getting out of the bush and into the sub-alpine terrain which is spectacular and also the history of the trail itself.

      +1 on bring plenty of water & snacks.

      Some time after the downhill ends the track section (I think from Matai dam to Smiths Ford as noted by Kiwikiv) is still closed so you take the gravel road besides the river (it's not clear from the track-closure signage) looking up at that cool track that you can't do you'll later see a slip area which looks pretty hairy. Later discover for yourself the entry to the Maitai Valley Walkway with a little map-fu.

      Before going check track status on trailforks and on www.heartofbiking.org.nz/coppermine-trail though I see no detour notice on there only on trailforks!
      • + 0
      Georgemingham (Jan 5, 2020 at 0:58)
      Great day trail, make sure you pack plenty of water and snacks!
      The downhill is graded as an advanced but it's more of an intermediate, lots of fast berms!
      • + 0
      Corwin (Jan 2, 2020 at 10:57)
      Downhill has had a lot of work done on it in the last year, I found no issues with the rocks during the descent as it’s pretty much all easy berms at the top now. Definitely watch for walkers. Was very muddy partway down though due to slips (I walked the bike) when I rode this (just before Christmas 2019)
      • + 0
      Rmtahoe (Dec 5, 2019 at 14:56)
      It wasn’t 7400 feet of climbing. I only got 3500 total up and down. They’ve redone the top 3 miles from the saddle down and it is now smooth and flowy with banked turns.
      • + 0
      Kiwikiv (Apr 9, 2019 at 3:18)
      Track mostly open - detour in place from Cummins spur to third hut due to slips, also closed from Maitai dam to the Ford, but alternative route along gravel road is fine. At tantragee arboretum sign cross on the arch bridge to follow the off-road track along the river back into Nelson. Great ride, good views, allow 5 hrs inc breaks. Downhill section requires mtb skills to ride steep and rocky.
      • + 0
      ContadorHLS (Mar 2, 2019 at 14:08)
      All area closed now due to fire hazard, such a pity
      • + 0
      MTB-MarkQ (Jan 22, 2019 at 2:55)
      We rode this track today and it’s AWESOME! There is a closed section due to a slip but a diversion is in place.
      • + 0
      ORRINGE (Apr 10, 2018 at 4:40)
      Amazing track
      • + 0
      benw MTP (Feb 21, 2018 at 1:35)
      Why does this profile say 2200m climb? A loop I’d closer to 1200 and max elevation is Iunder 900m !
      • + 1
      Zgriffter (Feb 27, 2017 at 22:41)
      Lovely gradual climb with a fast and twisty downhill section, a must when revisit Nelson again
      • + 2
      jstrnz (May 15, 2016 at 15:08)
      Amazing track, a must-do for keen intermediate-advanced riders. Requires a good level of fitness. Be aware the descent is rough and rocky in places and that the trail is multi-use - expect to encounter other riders and hikers on the descent.


      more »
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