“Don’t Panic: Your Ultimate Guide to Navigating Nelson’s Mountain Bike Trail Closures”


Nestled at the top of New Zealand’s South Island, Nelson is a haven for mountain biking aficionados. Boasting over 400 kilometers of single track within a mere 45-minute drive from the CBD, the region offers an unparalleled diversity of trails suitable for riders at every level of expertise. However, as with any adventure in the great outdoors, mountain biking in Nelson can sometimes face interruptions. Trail closures, influenced by natural occurrences and land management decisions, are an inevitable part of the experience. Be it due to the fire hazards that come with dry summer months, the aftermath of heavy rains causing flood damage, routine trail maintenance, or necessary forestry activities, riders are occasionally met with closed paths.

Yet, the resolve of the Nelson mountain biking community is as robust as ever. Thanks to the extensive network of trails, the impact of closures on the overall riding experience is minimal. This blog post is designed to navigate you through the ins and outs of trail closures in the Nelson/Tasman region. We’ll shine a light on the wealth of alternative trails waiting to be discovered and show how these temporary setbacks can be transformed into exciting opportunities to venture down trails less traveled. Whether you’re a seasoned local or an eager visitor drawn to Nelson’s famed tracks, this guide is your key to ensuring that your mountain biking adventures continue, unhindered by closures.

Mountain Biking Around Nelson, New Zealand, Trail Closures needn’t spoil your fun.

Article Index


Trail Closures in Nelson? Discover Hundreds of Kilometers of Alternative Tracks

In the face of occasional localised trail closures, it’s easy for mountain bikers to feel momentarily disheartened. Yet, in Nelson, such a moment is merely a nudge towards new adventures, thanks to the region’s sprawling network of trails. With over 400 kilometers of single track located within a 45-minute drive of Nelson’s CBD, the area is a treasure trove of biking bliss waiting to be explored.

Embrace the Vastness of Nelson’s Trails

The diversity of Nelson’s trails is staggering, offering something for everyone—from the seasoned pro to the enthusiastic beginner. This extensive network ensures that even when some trails are resting, the ride never has to end. The key here is to visit the Trailforks.com listing for each trail and check the status of the trail, the local land owners and clubs keep these listings relatively up to date, and often you can find information about current closures, or status through this site.  Let’s dive into some of the myriad of tracks in the region that promise to keep your wheels turning:

  • Involution: A 600+m forestry road climb gets you to a stunning rooty and rocky grade four downhill track that zig zags through native forest and across streams.
  • 629 Hill: Home to three of Nelson’s most epic trails, 629, Crankenstein and Peaking are legendary for their Grade 6 tech and have featured in many of the most famous Nelson based Enduro mountain bike races. The climb to the top is savage and it might be better to shuttle, but the trails are worth it. One of the hardest trails in Nelson is also located here, “Mutleys” is not for the faint of heart.
  • The Coppermine Trail: An epic journey that takes riders through some of Nelson’s most stunning landscapes. It’s a mixed-grade adventure suitable for a range of riders, with plenty of historical sites adding to its allure.
  • Front of Codgers Trails: Including popular tracks like Firball and Hulk Hogan, this area is a web of fun, with trails ranging from Grade 2 to Grade 4, mostly on the flow side of riding, ensuring everyone from families to adrenaline junkies gets their fill.
  • Back of Codgers Trails: including tech progression trails like Top Dog and Hot Box, great jump lines like Turners and Koata Rere, and some genuinely steep challenging trails like Divas, Lollipop and Smasher.
  • Fringed Hill: with almost 700m of vertical elevation the ride up here via the Fringed Hill Road or else via the savagely steep “Classic” is a big task, perhaps more suited to ebikes and shuttles than acoustic bikes, however the descents provide solid techy Grade 5&6 fun, with one of Nelson’s longest trails “Te Ara Koa” being a particular favorite.
  • Sharlands Forest: Home to a wide range of single and double black trails including some epic DH offerings and many demanding Enduro trails the variety and challenge in this forest is well worth a visit.
  • Silvan Forest Mountain Bike Park: With a wide range of mostly machine built trails at a Grade three and four level and over 600m of elevation the climb up the hill is long, but the downhills are well worth it. Privately owned and aiming to reforest into Native bush this is a massive project with a variety of trails that are not too extreme. Well worth checking out the trail forks listing, and also considering donating to the trails there if you visit.
  • Cable Bay Adventure Park: With a dedicated and passionate team of volunteer trail builders the Cable Bay Adventure Park has grown rapidly to provide a variety of hand-made narrow single-track for riders of many levels, and has hosted the New Zealand Enduro national championships because of the quality of its trails. This park is a must-visit for riders looking for diverse terrains, and many challenging options.
  • Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park: With its smooth, flowing trails and stunning coastal views, Kaiteriteri is perfect for those looking to combine a beach day with biking.
  • Rameka: A stunning ride through native bush down into Carbon sink pine trees with options for different levels of challenge
  • The Wairoa Gorge: World-renowned for their technical tracks and breathtaking natural beauty, offering some of the most challenging and rewarding rides in the region… but also contains a surprising number of grade 4 tracks which are quite manageable by confident intermediate level riders. The “billionaire Bike Park” is truly a wonder to visit.  The Gorge is administered by the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and has a dedicated site here.  Conditions at the Gorge are updated on their Facebook page as well.    You can read a short article Gravity wrote about riding at the Gorge here.
  • Ride Project: One of the newest editions to the offerings in the region, Ride Project is based in Rai Valley and features a small number of hand built techy trails and two levels of jump lines… an easy one… and a pro one. Contact the land-owners directly if considering visiting, and visit their Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.

Navigating your way around Nelson mountain bike trail closures needn’t be a hassle.

Navigating Your Next Ride

To ensure you make the most of these alternatives, we recommend visiting Trailforks.com and search for “Nelson, New Zealand”. Here, you’ll find detailed maps and descriptions for many of Nelson’s main riding centers, complete with trail grades, photos and videos to help you pick your next adventure. Trailforks.com is also usually updated by the local mountain bike clubs and land owners to reflect trail closures and provide information about what is not open for riding. Whether you’re in search of a leisurely scenic ride or a heart-pounding descent, Nelson’s vast network of trails has you covered.

In Nelson, trail closures don’t spell the end of the ride; they mark the beginning of a new journey. With so many kilometers of alternative tracks at your disposal, every ride is an opportunity to discover something new. So, gear up and set out to explore the wide array of trails that make Nelson a mountain biking paradise.



“Beyond the Closed Sign: Exploring Nelson’s Open Trails Amid Closures”

Understanding Trail Closures in Nelson

Trail closures in Nelson, like in any active outdoor community, are not uncommon and arise for a variety of reasons. Each closure, whether due to natural events or human activities, is implemented with the intention of improving safety of the community and the preservation of the natural environment in mind. Let’s delve into the primary reasons behind these closures and reflect on their impact on the biking community.

Fire Hazards During the dry summer months, the risk of wildfires significantly increases, making certain trails particularly vulnerable, especially in Pine Forests which have considerable value as assets. Fire hazards can lead to preemptive trail closures as a preventative measure to protect both the natural environment and the riders. For example, in the past, the region has seen closures during periods of extreme fire danger, where the dry underbrush could easily ignite, posing a threat not only to the forests but also to nearby residential areas. More recently, in 2024 in particular, the commercial pine forest operators appear to have stepped outside the Fire and Emergency New Zealand recommended “BUI” (Burn Unit Index) based approach to pre-emptively close forestry areas at a lower BUI than FENZ recommends. It is unclear at this stage the new basis on which these closures are based, and what this will mean for future summers. Fortunately only some of Nelson’s trails are located in commercial forestry zones meaning many others can remain open for longer even during a dry hot summer.

Flood Damage Heavy rains can cause significant damage to trails, making them unsafe or impassable. Floods can erode trail surfaces, wash away bridges, and create hazardous conditions for riders. Following such events, trails often require inspection and maintenance before they can be safely reopened, a process that can take time depending on the extent of the damage. The August 22nd and 23rd 2022 severe rain event caused wide-spread damage to many trails in Nelson, as well as destroying other infrastructure. A concerted effort by the city council and the mountain bike club saw many closed trails rapidly re-opened, and once assessed many areas were found to be undamaged.

Harvesting Forestry activities, including harvesting, are a common reason for trail closures in areas where trails pass through commercial forest lands, these operations typically take many months and Forestry companies often expand the closures broadly with a stated intent to eliminate the possibility for mountain bikers to enter into the harvesting zones in case an accident happens. These closures are intended to improve the safety of both the riders and the forestry workers. More recently the Nelson City Council has adopted a policy of phasing out its small forestry holdings to transition them to Native plantings which will not require such closures.


Similarly, routine maintenance and upgrades to trails can lead to temporary closures, but these are essential for ensuring the long-term sustainability and enjoyment of the trails, typically these closures are quite short.

Trail maintenance is essential to keep the Nelson/Tasman trail network open and running great.

Past Instances and Their Impact There have been notable instances where trails were closed for weeks or even months due to the reasons mentioned above. These closures, while necessary, can significantly impact the biking community, leading to changes in recreational habits and the local biking economy. Events and competitions may be postponed or canceled, and businesses that rely on biking tourism, such as rental shops and guides, can experience downturns.

However, the Nelson mountain biking community is resilient and adaptive. During closures, efforts are often redoubled to improve and diversify the trail network, ensuring that once trails reopen, they are better than ever. Additionally, these closures highlight the importance of having a vast and varied network of trails, allowing riders to explore new areas and keeping the spirit of mountain biking alive in Nelson.

For the most current information on trail closures and conditions, bikers are encouraged to consult the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and Nelson City Council websites (Shape, the Antenno app, and the parks and reserves page, plus their Facebook page), as well as researching specific trails on Trailforks.com. Also consider joining the Nelson Mountain Bike Club as their app is regularly updated, ensuring they stay informed and safe while enjoying the region’s beautiful landscapes.

Navigating Nelson’s Mountain Bike Trail Closures with a Little Help

Trail closures in Nelson can throw a wrench in your riding plans, but they don’t have to put a damper on the fun. Yes, occasionally, nature throws us a curveball with fire hazards, floods, or the need for trail maintenance and forestry work. And yes, this means some favorite trails might be off-limits temporarily. It’s part of the deal when we ride in such a stunning, dynamic landscape.

During these times, knowing where to turn for reliable, straightforward advice can make all the difference. That’s where we, at Gravity Nelson, come in. We’re here not as the heroes of the story but as fellow enthusiasts who love the trails around Nelson as much as you do. Our aim? To make sure you have a blast, no matter what Mother Nature or trail maintenance schedules have in store.

  • Straight Talk and Good Advice: At gravitynelson.co.nz, we pride ourselves on giving you the lowdown on trail conditions and suggesting fantastic alternative rides. No fluff, just helpful, honest guidance. You can email us, phone us, or pop in the shop and have a sit down.
  • Gear for the Adventure: Need a bike? We’ve got you covered with top-notch rental mountain bikes, both acoustic and electric, ready to tackle whatever trail you decide to conquer next.
  • Ride with Locals: Fancy some company or insider knowledge? Our guides and coaches are at the ready to show you the ropes on some of Nelson’s hidden gems. In particular our private e-bike guided tours have become a massive summer favorite with our high quality rental ebikes enabling riders to explore a wide range of trails of an appropriate level in a short period of time.
  • Shuttles to the Start: And if you’re wondering how to get to these alternative trails, our shuttle service has got your back, with drivers who are as keen on biking as you are and can help advise you what to ride for your level and for the closures in place.

We know that hitting a closed trail sign can be a bummer, but it doesn’t have to ruin your day. With a bit of advance research and some local knowledge and some flexibility, you can discover new favorite spots and maybe even challenge yourself on terrains you hadn’t considered before. Gravity Nelson is all about ensuring your time on the bike is as enjoyable as possible, closures or not.

For the latest on what’s rideable and what’s not, alongside a healthy dose of friendly advice, keep us bookmarked. And remember, the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and Nelson City Council websites are also great resources for staying informed. Riding in Nelson is about exploration, excitement, and the sheer joy of being on two wheels in one of the most beautiful spots on earth. Let’s keep that spirit alive, one ride at a time.

FREE Trail advice to help you maximise your fun mountain biking around Nelson.


As we’ve navigated through the intricacies of trail closures in Nelson, it’s clear that while closures may momentarily alter our plans, they don’t have to curb our enthusiasm for mountain biking in this beautiful region. With a landscape as rich and varied as Nelson’s, every closure is an opportunity to explore something new, to challenge ourselves in different terrains, and to fall in love with biking all over again.

At Gravity Nelson, we’re not just here to provide services; we’re here to share our passion and knowledge with you. Whether you’re looking for the perfect rental bike, seeking guidance on the best trails for your skill level, or simply needing a bit of friendly advice on how to make the most of your ride, we’re here for you. Together, we can ensure that the spirit of adventure that defines mountain biking in Nelson continues to thrive, no matter the obstacles.

Remember, mountain biking is more than just a sport; it’s a community, and in Nelson, it’s a way of life. So let’s keep riding, exploring, and discovering the joy of the trails, one pedal stroke at a time.

Keeping the whole family happy with awesome riding around Nelson, New Zealand.


Q: What should I do if I encounter a closed trail? A: First, respect the closure signs for your safety and the preservation of the trails. Then, consider it an opportunity to try a new trail or area. Gravity Nelson can provide recommendations for alternative routes that are just as thrilling.

Q: How can I stay updated on trail closures? A: Regularly check the Nelson Mountain Bike Club and Nelson City Council websites, as well as Trailforks.com. Joining the Nelson Mountain Bike Club for their app updates is also a great idea. Feel free to contact Gravity Nelson for the very latest advice; we’re always up-to-date.

Q: Can I still find suitable trails for my skill level during closures? A: Absolutely! Nelson’s vast network of trails includes options for all skill levels, from beginners to advanced riders. Gravity Nelson can help you find the perfect trail to match your abilities and ensure you have a great ride.

Q: Are there any services available to enhance my riding experience during trail closures? A: Yes, Gravity Nelson offers a range of services including high-quality bike rentals, guided tours, coaching sessions, and shuttle services. Our expert team can help you navigate the closures and discover the best of what’s still accessible.

Q: Can I contribute to the maintenance and reopening of trails? A: Definitely! The Nelson Mountain Bike Club often organizes trail maintenance days, and volunteering is a fantastic way to give back to the community. Plus, it’s a great way to meet fellow bikers and learn more about the trails.

By keeping these FAQs and our concluding thoughts in mind, you’re all set to continue enjoying the unparalleled mountain biking experiences Nelson has to offer, regardless of any temporary trail closures. Let’s keep our wheels moving and spirits high as we embrace each ride with enthusiasm and curiosity.

About the Authors:

ChatGpt: Nuff said, with help from…

Alistair Matthew, a New Zealand native, has a rich background in mountain biking, coaching, guiding, and entrepreneurship, particularly in adventure tourism. His journey began in Bolivia, where he moved in 1998 and discovered a thrilling ride down the Yungas Road, known as the “World’s Most Dangerous Road”[^1][^2][^3]. Alistair established Gravity Assisted Mountain Biking to offer guided tours down this perilous route, marking the inception of a new adventure tourism industry in Bolivia[^3]. His entrepreneurship didn’t stop there; he also founded other adventure tourism businesses such as Zzip the Flying Fox, Urban Rush, and the Adventure Brew Hostel in Bolivia.

In 2016, after 18 years in Bolivia, Alistair returned to New Zealand, seeking new cycling opportunities[^4]. He settled in Nelson, where he became a business partner in Gravity Nelson, an adventure tourism business focusing on mountain biking[^5]. Alistair is also a seasoned mountain biking coach and guide with over 27 years of experience in the field[^6]. He holds several mountain biking qualifications including PMBIA Level 1, NZOIA Level 2 Senior Instructor, and Skills Active Mountain Bike strand of the Outdoor Leadership Certificate at various levels. His coaching specializations range from cornering and drops clinics to mountain biking myth correction and kinematics video analysis of body position and technique among others[^6].

Alistair’s entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with his passion for mountain biking and adventure tourism, have significantly contributed to the adventure tourism industry in both Bolivia and New Zealand. Through his ventures, he has not only pioneered new thrilling experiences for adventure seekers but also helped in developing mountain biking trails and facilities to bolster the tourism sector in Nelson, New Zealand[^5][^7].


[^1]: Poddtoppen.se. (n.d.). #50 Alistair Matthew – Pioneering Adventure Tourism in South America. Retrieved from [Poddtoppen.se](https://www.poddtoppen.se)
[^2]: Explore.com. (n.d.). Only Extreme Adventurers Should Try Biking Bolivia’s ‘Death Road’. Retrieved from [Explore.com](https://www.explore.com)
[^3]: Hunt, S. (n.d.). No refunds on the Road of Death. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved from [National Library of New Zealand](https://natlib.govt.nz)
[^4]: Hunt, S. (n.d.). No refunds on the Road of Death. National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved from [National Library of New Zealand](https://natlib.govt.nz)
[^5]: Stuff.co.nz. (n.d.). Adventure tourism pioneer eyes Nelson’s potential. Retrieved from [Stuff.co.nz](https://www.stuff.co.nz)
[^6]: Gravity Nelson NZ. (n.d.). Gravity’s Coaches – Gravity Nelson NZ. Retrieved from [Gravity Nelson NZ](https://www.gravitynelson.co.nz)
[^7]: Stuff.co.nz. (n.d.). From Bolivia to Nelson: Kiwi mountain biker who conquered the Bolivian death road. Retrieved from [Stuff.co.nz](https://www.stuff.co.nz)