47 miles
16,517 ft
-16,764 ft
Avg time
Trail Supporters, Builders & Maintainers of Old Ghost Road Trail

Old Ghost Road Details

  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Global Ranking
    #1243 in Mountain Biking
  • 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
  • Altitude change
    -247 ft
  • Altitude min
    72 ft
  • Altitude max
    4,457 ft
  • Altitude start
    319 ft
  • Altitude end
    72 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    22 miles
  • Distance down
    23 miles
  • Distance flat
    3 miles
  • Avg time
  • view trail stats
on Nov 23, 2018
Avg: 5 (16 votes)

view (29)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • Dry
  • Very Dry
Trail Difficulties
  • Access Road/Trail
  • White
  • Green
  • Blue
  • Black
  • Double Black Diamond

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

  • 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 Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • 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
  • Water Fountain/Source Water Fountain/Source
  • Sight Sight
  • Restrooms Restrooms
  • Gate Gate
  • Camping Camping
  • Trail Sign Trail Sign
  • Table or Bench Table or Bench
  • Other Other
Directions to old-ghost-road trailhead (-41.796130, 172.049620)
update trails status or condition

Old Ghost Road Trail Reports

Nov 23, 2018 @ 10:19am
Nov 23, 2018
Oct 18, 2018 @ 12:01am
Oct 18, 2018
Great condition at the moment. Some sections freshly regravelled.
Mar 16, 2018 @ 11:23am
Mar 16, 2018
Track was in good condition. A little wet in places but nothing too major. The track is doable in 1 day if you put a bit of training in...
Dec 15, 2017 @ 5:59pm
Dec 15, 2017
Epic outback ride. Provides all levels of trail to test your skills. 85k can be completed in two dsys if you are blessed with great weather. Def...
Nov 2, 2017 @ 12:30am
Nov 2, 2017
view all reports »


more »
58 |
Aug 30, 2018 @ 3:22pm
Aug 30, 2018
Old Ghost Road, Christchurch
16 |
Aug 30, 2018 @ 3:22pm
Aug 30, 2018
Old Ghost Road, Christchurch
28 |
Aug 30, 2018 @ 3:21pm
Aug 30, 2018
Old Ghost Road, Christchurch
17 |
Aug 30, 2018 @ 3:21pm
Aug 30, 2018
Old Ghost Road, Christchurch

5 Reviews & Comments

  • + 2
flag 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
flag 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
flag 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
flag 67Troy (May 24, 2017 at 14:36)
 The most Epic ride I have ever done......totally amazing scenery and trail - this a Must Ride!
  • + 1
flag punkture (Sep 15, 2017 at 2:46)
 Best ride on earth!

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