19 miles
4,256 ft
-4,097 ft
Avg time

Coppermine Trail Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Blue (2 votes)
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • 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
    #13686 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    60 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 75 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 bike trail
  • Altitude change
    158 ft
  • Altitude min
    158 ft
  • Altitude max
    2,877 ft
  • Altitude start
    159 ft
  • Altitude end
    318 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    8 miles
  • Distance down
    9 miles
  • Distance flat
    4,990 ft
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Sep 10, 2020
Avg: 4 (20 votes)

view (414)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Ridden Direction
Trailforks scans users ridelogs to determine the most popular direction each trail is ridden. A good flowing trail network will have most trails flowing in a single direction according to their intension.
The colour categories are based on what percentage of riders are riding a trail in its intended direction.
  • > 96%
  • > 90%
  • > 80%
  • > 70%
  • > 50%
  • < 50%
Trail Last Ridden
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine the last time a trail was ridden.
  • < 2 days
  • < 1 week
  • < 2 weeks
  • < 1 month
  • < 6 months
  • > 6 months
Trail Ridden Direction
The intended direction a trail should be ridden.
  • Downhill Only
  • Downhill Primary
  • Both Directions
  • Uphill Primary
  • Uphill Only
  • One Direction
Colors indicate trail is missing specified detail.
  • Description
  • Photos
  • Description & Photos
  • Videos
Trail Popularity ?
Trailforks scans ridelogs to determine which trails are ridden the most in the last 9 months. Trails are compared with nearby trails in the same city region with a possible 25 colour shades. Think of this as a heatmap, more rides = more kinetic energy = warmer colors.
  • most popular
  • popular
  • less popular
  • not popular
Max Vehicle Width

Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

Trail Report Status
  • Clear / Green
  • Minor Issue / Yellow
  • Significant Issue / Amber
  • Closed

  • Land Owner Overlay
  • Wilderness (typically no bikes in USA)
  • BLM (public)
  • USFS (Wildlife sanctuaries darker than usfs)
  • State land
  • Indigenous
  • Military
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Ideal
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
  • Map Markers
  • trail Trail Head
  • photo Photo
  • place Directory Listing
  • region Riding Area
  • Parking Parking
  • Viewpoint Viewpoint
  • Information Information
  • Warning Warning
  • Directions Directions
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • eBike Charging Point eBike Charging Point
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Gate Gate
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Ladder Ladder
  • Stairs Stairs
  • Bridge Bridge
  • Camping Camping
  • Cabin Cabin
  • Lodge Lodge
  • Bear Cache Bear Cache
  • Dock Dock
  • Ranger Station Ranger Station
  • Summit Summit
  • Other Other
      Directions to coppermine-trail trailhead (-41.290560, 173.292760)
      update trails status or condition

      Coppermine Trail Trail Reports

      Sep 10, 2020 @ 3:01pm
      Sep 10, 2020
      Aug 22, 2020 @ 3:06pm
      Aug 22, 2020
      Jul 31, 2020 @ 8:44pm
      Jul 31, 2020
      Signage installed on the descent into the Maitai South Branch warning cyclists to watch for walkers and vice versa.
      Jul 18, 2020 @ 2:47am
      Jul 18, 2020
      Tree down over track
      Jul 16, 2020 @ 11:32pm
      Jul 16, 2020
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 5 rides
      • 25 miles avg distance
      6 Months
      • 68 rides
      • 26 miles avg distance
      • 256 rides


      more »
      15 |
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 2:13pm
      Jun 25, 2020
      10 |
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 2:13pm
      Jun 25, 2020
      21 |
      Jun 25, 2020 @ 2:13pm
      Jun 25, 2020
      42 |
      May 8, 2020 @ 12:13pm
      May 8, 2020

      Routes with this trail

      more »
      Pick & Mix featured
      20 miles
      Dun Mountain, Little Twin, Dew Lakes
      27 miles
      Coppermine Trail
      25 miles
      Ollie's Choice featured
      15 miles

      11 Reviews & Comments

      • + 2
      flag 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.
      • + 1
      flag Zgriffter (Feb 27, 2017 at 22:41)
       Lovely gradual climb with a fast and twisty downhill section, a must when revisit Nelson again
      • + 0
      flag 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 !
      • + 0
      flag ORRINGE (Apr 10, 2018 at 4:40)
       Amazing track
      • + 0
      flag 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
      flag ContadorHLS (Mar 2, 2019 at 14:08)
       All area closed now due to fire hazard, such a pity
      • + 0
      flag 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
      flag 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
      flag 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
      flag 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!
      • + 1
      flag 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!

      Post a Comment

      You must login to Pinkbike.
      Don't have an account? Sign up

      Join Pinkbike  Login


      more »
      Dun Mountain Trail in Nelson | MTB Trail Magic
      9:56 | 342 | Aug 3, 2019 , Nelson
      Nelson MTB Dun mountain trail
      4:08 | 511 | Oct 23, 2018 , Nelson
      Dun Mountain Trail, Coppermine Saddle, Nelson, NZ
      5:30 | 599 | Aug 14, 2018 , Nelson
      • subscribe
      • flag
      • login to download gpx or kml files.