IMBA EPIC Ride - Old Ghost Road, New Zealand

Old Ghost Road


The Old Ghost Road is an 85km trail that winds its way through remote valleys, across mountain tops and down river gorges. It's suitable for riders with a reasonable level of backcountry skills and experience.

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There are fourteen bridges over waterways on The Old Ghost Road (and three other ‘land bridges’ over the infamous 'Suicide Slips'), yet there are still some waterways with potential to flood under heavy rainfall.

Lyell Carpark (DoC Campground) to Lyell Saddle Hut is 18km. There's a steady grade on the old benched track climbing to the Lyell Saddle hut (885 meters above sea level) and you'll find that beech forest dominates this section of track.

Lyell Saddle Hut-Ghost Lake Hut is a 12km stretch of trail. It has 6 km of graded climbing through cloud forest up to the tussock tops of the Lyell Range. Then it’s 6 km of level, open-tops travel to ‘Ghost Lake’ and the stunning Ghost Lake Hut. Unparalleled views of South Island majesty are yours with every pedal stroke. Note there is no water available once on the alpine tops so make sure you carry sufficient supplies. Take your time and enjoy the scenic stopping points.

Ghost Lake Hut to Stern Valley Hut is 13km. Two sharp descents and ridge travel mark this day and it’s predominantly downhill (800 meters of altitude loss) all the way to Stern Valley Hut. There is no water in this section until Stern Creek is reached. Carry sufficient supplies with you. Prepare yourself for the Dr Seuss-like ‘Skyline Steps’ at the end of Skyline Ridge.

Stern Valley Hut-Specimen Point Hut is 25km. This day offers various destination options from which to choose (including more basic hut sites at Goat Creek and Mokihinui Forks). The route makes its way on up Earnest Valley (north branch of Stern Creek) and through the strange but gorgeous open meadows of its catchment. At the twin lakes (Lake Grim and Lake Cheerful), the track climbs through the ‘Boneyard’ heading for ‘Solemn Saddle’ and then leads on down through ‘The Hanging Judge’ into the headwaters of the Goat Creek catchment. Scrub and grass-covered valleys form the way until the final few kilometers through bush to the historic Goat Creek Hut.

Stern Creek Hut to Goat Creek Hut is 14 km in length. From Goat Creek Hut it’s 8 km of flat riding down through the beautiful podocarp forest of the Mokihinui River South Branch to the Mokihinui Forks Hut. Then it's just a further 3 km down to the Specimen Point Hut settlement at the head of the mighty Mokihinui River Gorge.

Specimen Point Hut to Welcome Bay/Seddonville is the final 17km. Undulating terrain greets you as The Old Ghost Road picks up old miners’ track hugging the true left bank of the mighty Mokihinui River.

Dogs: No Dogs allowed

Some of the information on this page has been sourced from:

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66.174 km / 41.118 mi

Total Distance

2,391 m / 7,843 ft

Total Ascent

2,464 m / 8,083 ft

Total Descent

1,344 m / 4,409 ft

Highest Point

Ride type:
Mountain biking
Road riding
Rail Trail
Difficulty: Intermediate (Red)
Ride Duration: Full day
Fitness Level: Medium
Shared Bike Path - Paved
Shared Bike Path - Dirt
On-Road Bike Lane
Off-Road - Fire Trail
Off-Road - Rail Trail
Off-Road - Single Track
Off-Road - Downhill
Gravel Road
Trail Signage: Average
Mobile Coverage: Limited
First Aid
Bike hire
Bike servicing
Accessible by bike
Accessible by car
Accessible by public transport
Accessible by shuttle
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