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

Old Ghost Road Details

  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Trail Type
  • Bike Type
    AM, XC
  • Trail Usage
  • Direction
    Both Directions
    Popular direction shown
  • Climb Difficulty
  • Physical Rating
  • Dogs Allowed
  • 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

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 Apr 24, 2019
Avg: 5 (19 votes)

view (57)
Trail Conditions
  • Unknown
  • Snow Groomed
  • Snow Packed
  • Snow Covered
  • Freeze/thaw Cycle
  • Icy
  • Prevalent Mud
  • Wet
  • Variable
  • 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

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
  • 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 old-ghost-road trailhead (-41.796130, 172.049620)
      update trails status or condition

      Old Ghost Road Trail Reports

      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.
      Dec 28, 2018 @ 6:37pm
      Dec 28, 2018
      Brutal but what a ride!
      Dec 19, 2018 @ 12:00am
      Dec 19, 2018
      Nov 23, 2018 @ 10:19am
      Nov 23, 2018
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 4 rides
      • 53 miles avg distance
      • 29 rides


      more »
      22 |
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 1:47pm
      Jun 26, 2019
      64 |
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 1:46pm
      Jun 26, 2019
      21 |
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 1:45pm
      Jun 26, 2019
      41 |
      Jun 26, 2019 @ 1:43pm
      Jun 26, 2019

      Trail Lists

      7 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!
      • + 0
      flag Mtbr01 (Jan 25, 2019 at 13:00)
      • + 0
      flag 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

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