37 miles
3,967 ft
-4,751 ft
Avg time


  • Activities
    • Mountain Bike
    • Hike
    • Trail Running
  • Riding Area
  • Difficulty Rating
  • Voted Difficulty
    Blue (1 vote)
  • Hiking SAC Scale
    T2 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
  • Dogs Allowed
  • eBike Allowed
  • TTFs on Trail
    Bridge, Rock Garden
  • Global Ranking
    #22660 in Mountain Biking
  • Local Popularity
    20 in Mountain Biking [+]
    • 5 in Trail Running
    • 5 in Hiking
  • Land Manager

This trail offers challenging, mixed riding through stunning scenery of mountain peaks, crystal clear waters, high country lakes, alpine meadows, subalpine beech forest, and expansive grassy flats.

In spring the alpine meadows are in full bloom while summers offers long evenings and the chance to see the famous St James wild horses.

Riding options:

- The best time to ride is from November to April.
- Start at the Maling Pass entrance and finish at St James Homestead - travelling in this direction provides more downhill riding and the prevailing wind is more favourable.
- For young families or riders with insufficient time or experience to attempt the full trail, the Peters Loop will give you a taste.

Access Info

The nearest airport to Hanmer Springs is a 90 minute drive away in Christchurch. You can drive or catch a bus from Christchurch - if driving, take SH1, SH7 and SH7A to get to Hanmer Springs.

From Hanmer Springs take Clarence Valley Road over Jacks Pass to connect with Tophouse Road (13 km from Hanmer Springs).

Local Trail Association
More Stats for St James Cycle Trail mountain bike trail
  • Altitude change
    -784 ft
  • Altitude min
    1,970 ft
  • Altitude max
    4,326 ft
  • Altitude start
    3,473 ft
  • Altitude end
    2,690 ft
  • Grade
  • Grade max
  • Grade min
  • Distance climb
    15 miles
  • Distance down
    17 miles
  • Distance flat
    5 miles
  • Avg time
  • Avg reverse time
  • view trail stats
on Jan 23, 2018
Avg: 4.15 (6 votes)

view (36)
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 st-james-cycle-trail trailhead (-42.228910, 172.757050)
      update trails status or condition

      St James Cycle Trail Trail Reports

      Jan 23, 2018 @ 3:21pm
      Jan 23, 2018
      We've done the whole loop from the homestay (trail end), spending the night at the lake Guyon - great place for a swim too. Pool but had the vasp...
      Jan 9, 2018 @ 1:02pm
      Jan 9, 2018
      Very dry and hot. Was pleased to get 4WD lift out from Scotties. Getting quite overgrown in places - though the route is still clear. Pool Hut...
      Dec 29, 2017 @ 11:20am
      Dec 29, 2017
      Very dry and fast trail. Temperature averaged low to mid 30s and peaked at 37. Take plenty of water. Lake Guyon is worth the visit. The creek /...
      Oct 30, 2017 @ 11:32am
      Oct 30, 2017
      At the end of the trails you have to cross the river several times. Water is sometimes violent and high
      Dec 14, 2016 @ 8:55pm
      Dec 14, 2016
      reporter Largely dry, despite recent rain. Easy to navigate thanks to the DoC signage throughout. Huts all in good condition and the views are spectacular.
      view all reports »

      Recent Ridelog Activity on Trail

      Past Week
      • 0 rides
      6 Months
      • 5 rides
      • 57 miles avg distance
      • 27 rides


      more »
      60 |
      Jun 28, 2019 @ 4:38pm
      Jun 28, 2019
      45 |
      Jun 28, 2019 @ 4:38pm
      Jun 28, 2019
      36 |
      Jun 28, 2019 @ 4:38pm
      Jun 28, 2019
      48 |
      Jun 28, 2019 @ 4:38pm
      Jun 28, 2019

      1 Review & Comments

      • + 0
      flag MisterDirtPaws (Mar 17, 2020 at 16:19)
       Did this trail as a 1-day mountain bike ride on March 13, 2020. Great conditions. It’s a stellar scenic trail. Highly recommend for a big day out. We covered 80K in one day, but there are shorter options, or even multi-day huts. We got shuttled to the traditional start near Maling Pass from our campground in town. (We used Andrew from St. James Journeys for the shuttle. (Highly recommend him. Nice guy with a bunch of local history and tips. Also getting shuttled out in his Land Rover was great.).

      This trail is a mix of old ranch roads and purpose built trail. Absolutely gorgeous countryside. During our mountain bike holiday for a month in NZ, we also rode the Old Ghost, Coppermine Saddle, and Craigieburn, and Queenstown. This was also amazing. It isn’t technical gnar or machine built flow, but still stunning. Really would like to see this ride grow in popularity. We did this on our dual suspension mountain bikes and were happy to have them for a one day ride through. Would also be suitable for a solid bike packing setup, though expect some slower sections and a bit more pushing here and there with bikepacking. Probably suitable for a gravel bike setup with tubeless/disc and an experienced rider as well.

      A couple of other notes, the side trip to Lake Guyon is worth the trip. Only steep for the first 100M off the road then mostly flat. We would have like to hit the hot springs as well but were time/water limited.

      Really nice job by NZ DOC in making this route happen. Really deserves more riders and recognition. We had “wow” moments at nearly every turn. Pics and a video to come...

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