47.4 miles
8,840 ft
-9,081 ft
Avg time
Supporters, Builders, Maintainers & Land Managers of Old Ghost Road Trail

Old Ghost Road Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T3 Demanding Mountain Hiking
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Trail Visibility
    Always easy to follow
  • Alpine Trail
  • Dogs Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Berm, Bridge, Rock Garden, Other
  • Global Ranking
    #1243 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    100 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Manager

In the North West corner of the South Island of New Zealand a ghost is awakening. A long-forgotten gold miners’ road is being revived as a mountain biking and tramping trail – connecting the old dray road in the Lyell (Upper Buller Gorge) to the mighty Mokihinui River in the north. The 85km-long Old Ghost Road will traverse majestic native forest, open tussock tops, river flats and forgotten valleys.

A proud member of the New Zealand Cycle Trail, the volunteer-driven Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is partnering with a range of other entities to make The Old Ghost Road a reality. It’s almost as if the engineers from the 1870’s knew we were coming The spirits of the old miners and track builders are inescapable. No less than five ghost towns populate the route. The Old Ghost Road is quite literally an 85km-long outdoor museum.

The Old Ghost Road is a work in progress and is due for completion in late 2015 (refer to our Trail Status page for updates).
Our volunteers and supporters know that each generation grows up in an increasingly urbanised environment. The connection to the land dims. Here, on The Old Ghost Road, heritage, wilderness, accessibility and storytelling come together in an unforgettable way. We invite you to join the journey……

See http://www.oldghostroad.org.nz/ for updated information on trail status and hut booking.

Access Info

The Old Ghost Road’s trail heads are two hours drive apart – or 4-5 days tramp! Various options are available for cyclists and trampers.

Due to The Old Ghost Road’s elevation profile, Lyell is the suggested starting point for through-trampers (and, by late 2015, through-cyclists). 1200m elevation is gained via a steady climb past the Lyell Saddle Hut and up to Ghost Lake, while the descent into Stern Valley and Goat Creek is steeper and more technical. Riders and trampers can enjoy day and overnight trips from this end, which features lush beech forest, historic artifacts, and in the Lyell Saddle to Ghost Lake section, sweeping views.
The Lyell Historic Reserve has ample parking, a Department of Conservation Campground, water and toilet facilities. It is 62km east of Westport, 15km east of Inangahua or 35km south of Murchison on State Highway 6 in the Upper Buller Gorge.
Grid reference: NZTM2000, E1520990-N5372328
Latitude: -41.79697466, Longitude: 172.04899791

Local Trail Association
More Stats for Old Ghost Road bike trail trail
  • Altitude change
    -242 ft
  • Altitude min
    73 ft
  • Altitude max
    4,432 ft
  • Altitude start
    316 ft
  • Altitude end
    72 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    21 miles
  • Distance down
    23 miles
  • Distance flat
    3 miles
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Jan 30, 2021
Avg: 4.8 (25 votes)

view (146)
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
Contribute Details
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

Radar Time
      Directions to old-ghost-road trailhead (-41.796130, 172.049620)
      update trails status or condition

      Old Ghost Road Trail Reports

      Jan 30, 2021 @ 1:30am
      Jan 30, 2021
      Jan 5, 2021 @ 3:01pm
      Jan 5, 2021
      Beautiful weather, beautiful ride
      Oct 26, 2019 @ 7:16pm
      Oct 26, 2019
      21st to 23rd October 2019. Very wet conditions making the ride more technical than this time last year. Some top layer gravel had been washed off...
      Apr 24, 2019 @ 5:50pm
      Apr 24, 2019
      Unbelievable trail, in great condition. Little wet in the forests, but dry in the open.
      Apr 9, 2019 @ 10:02pm
      Apr 9, 2019
      First day was torture but worth it when you get to the hut.
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 33 rides
      • 44 miles avg distance
      • 95 rides


      more »
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      Jun 9, 2021 @ 12:49pm
      Jun 9, 2021
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      Jun 9, 2021 @ 12:49pm
      Jun 9, 2021
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      Jun 9, 2021 @ 12:49pm
      Jun 9, 2021
      0 |
      Jun 9, 2021 @ 12:49pm
      Jun 9, 2021

      Trail Lists

      10 Reviews & Comments

      • + 2
      YogiNZ TRAILFORKS (Sep 6, 2015 at 16:28)
       Updated status from the Facebook Page:

      Trail Construction Update

      Because of your support and our recent fundraising success, the last few months have seen a hive of activity on The Old Ghost Road as we forge ahead with efforts to complete the trail.

      Work continues in the last two unformed sections and we now have just under 2km to go to connect these sections with formed trail on either side. Nothing comes easy in this terrain however and we still expect this to take a solid three months to complete.
      For those eager to get through the whole trail as soon as possible, please note that the sections under construction remain closed for obvious safety (and user satisfaction) reasons and ‘through-users’ still need to follow the ‘marked route’ which involves some 8km of challenging tramping. Refer to the trail map on our website for details (note the ‘marked route’ is depicted as a white dotted line).

      With the finish line in sight, we expect to announce a formal Grand Opening within the very near future. We’ve also been working hard on developing some packages that we believe will offer outstanding experiences on The Old Ghost Road. Stay tuned for both of these developments.

      In the meantime, for those of you itching to experience some or all of The Old Ghost Road, our outstanding bevy of Official Partners can take care of all your accommodation, transportation, hire, food and beverage and adventure needs during your visit. Find them here and learn how they can make your visit a memorable one.
      As always, feel free to contact us on info@oldghostroad.org.nz if you have any feedback or suggestions or have any insights into how to deliver some favourable weather over the coming months.

      Thank you, as ever, for your support and encouragement!

      The Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust
      • + 1
      YogiNZ TRAILFORKS (Dec 11, 2015 at 15:21)
       Update from the website about trail opening:

      The Mokihinui-Lyell Backcountry Trust is delighted to announce a public grand opening for The Old Ghost Road at the NBS Theatre in Westport at 2pm on 12th December 2015. At 85km, it will be New Zealand’s longest continuous single track, designed for mountain bikers and trampers alike.

      Our much anticipated opening comes after nearly nine years of planning, fundraising and construction. The project has benefited from a monumental 26,000 hours of volunteer input underpinned by more than 100,000 hours of paid employment.
      Joining the trail and having it fully open will be a massive moment and hopefully a building block in a new future for the Buller District. It is a testament to the tenacity, skill and dedication of the construction personnel, our wonderful project sponsors, key partners such as the Department of Conservation and our army of volunteers that we have been able to pull this off.

      The Old Ghost Road is one of 23 Great Rides in the New Zealand Cycle Trail. It runs from the historic mining settlement of Lyell in the south to Seddonville in the north. The trail has 16 bridges and four new hut complexes to complement two pre-existing Department of Conservation huts. It is a Grade 4 mountain bike track suitable for skilled and experienced backcountry riders and trampers.
      • + 1
      dkscott (Dec 4, 2016 at 21:39)
       A note about rain and mud. Yes, the soils along the OGR do turn to mud with abundant rain. But, almost all non-bedrock areas are surfaced with crushed rock! Yeah, remote singletrack with crushed rock! In the worst places along the OGR, there is even a base layer of tree branches/small trunks to elevate the track. A ton of work to do this, but they did it. Amazing. Bottom line, don't worry about the mud.
      • + 0
      67spartan (May 24, 2017 at 14:36)
       The most Epic ride I have ever done......totally amazing scenery and trail - this a Must Ride!
      • + 1
      punkture (Sep 15, 2017 at 2:46)
       Best ride on earth!
      • + 0
      Mtbr01 (Jan 25, 2019 at 13:00)
      • + 1
      saltire (Mar 28, 2019 at 20:07)
       Great trail, you can do it in a day if you are fit. Once past the initial 30km of climbing the trail begins a bit easier on your legs. The current condition of the trail is pretty good considering the big storm that hit 2 days ago. Only 2 big trees down on the trail that you'll have to lift your bike over.
      It took me 6 hours to complete, but if you plan to stop allot allow for 9-10 hours. Or split into 2 days and stay at one of the huts. A trail worth doing
      • + 0
      Johnwshaw (Oct 23, 2019 at 23:04)
       Just rode in very wet and snowy conditions. Track condition a credit to the crew - always challenging and that's the way it should be. 2nd time through - we'll be back.
      • + 0
      Richard1971 (Feb 28, 2020 at 0:03)
       Just finished riding two days ago. Trail was in amazing condition and the weather was perfect. Five hour ride from Lyell to Ghost Road Hut the first day. Tough uphill ride most of the way, but scenery made it extremely rewarding. Hut and people staying that night were awesome. Incredible sunrise in the morning, and exhilarating but exhausting nine hour, 55 km ride down to Seddonville the next day. Breathtaking photo stops throughout both days. This track was everything I hoped it would be, and more. Beware though, sandflies in low lying areas are brutal, especially at end (Seddonville). Props to every single person who maintains this trail. One of the great rides (or walks I assume) in the world!
      • + 0
      Adamdirth (Mar 15, 2020 at 1:37)
       Best trek I've ever been on! A big thanks to all the trustees and volunteers that provided me with a fantastic experience by keeping the trail well maintained and in perfect condition.

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