Nelson, New Zealand: Mountain Biking Paradise Unveiled

kids enjoying mountain biking

Introduction: Mountain Biking in Nelson, New Zealand – The Adventure Awaits

New Zealand is renowned for its outstanding natural beauty, and the city of Nelson in the South Island is a prime example. This picturesque destination offers a wealth of outdoor experiences, with mountain biking emerging as the ultimate adventure for both adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the reasons why Nelson, New Zealand, is a mecca for mountain biking enthusiasts, both as a visitor, and also as a reason to move to Nelson to live. We’ll also provide specific resources and service providers to help you embark on an unforgettable adventure!

Keep an eye out for Josef… if you can even see him as he flies past.

Why Mountain Biking is the Ultimate Outdoor Activity in Nelson, New Zealand

A Diverse Range of Trails

Nelson offers a wealth of trails catering to all skill levels, from beginners to seasoned professionals. With its diverse terrain and ever-changing landscapes, mountain biking in Nelson is a thrilling experience like no other.  Nelson has over 400kms of single-track mountain bike trails within 45 minutes drive of the centre of town.  These trails are spread across multiple riding centres or hubs, including Cable Bay Adventure Park, Codgers Mountain Bike Park, Sharlands Forest, Sylvan Forest Park, Richmond Hills Park, Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park and the Wairoa Gorge.  Each ride hub has its own character, unique soil, and different trail flavors, providing outstanding variety for any mountain biker coming to the region.  A visitor or new resident could literally ride for months before even having to repeat a trail!

Stunning Natural Beauty

The breathtaking scenery of Nelson, from its lush forests to rugged mountain ranges to spectacular costal scenery and many national parks, provides the perfect backdrop for any mountain biking adventure. The diverse landscape ensures a unique experience every time you hit the trails, fantastic views of the sea can be glimpsed from most trails and many of them meander through extensive pine or native tree forests.

Ideal Weather Conditions

Nelson boasts a mild climate and abundant sunshine, making it the perfect destination for mountain biking year-round. With over 2,400 hours of sunshine per year, you won’t have to worry much about inclement weather ruining your ride.  Even in winter Nelson frequently has far more wild weather than much of the rest of the country, and with such an extensive array of different kinds of trails in different hubs it is usually possible to find several trails that are still good to ride in poor weather conditions.  Highly recommended wet weather trails include the Coppermine trail (although be aware it is exposed near the pass), the Involution trail (Up the Marsden Valley near Stoke, a Dark Blue trail), and Supplejack (in the Sharlands forest up the Maitai valley, a solid Single Black trail).

Shuttling Nelson’s big hills is an excellent way to maximise your enjoyment.

Nelson’s Best Trails for Mountain Biking Enthusiasts

Beginner Trails

  1. Coppermine Trail (also known as the Dun Mountain trail): A well-maintained track with a gentle incline and stunning views of the city and Tasman Bay[2].
  2. Codgers Mountain Bike Park (front side): With a variety of easily accessible Green and Blue trails this is a perfect location to ride to from the center of town. In order of increasing difficulty, start with a warm-up on “Tu Meke” and then proceed to “Crazy Horse” and afterwards hit up “P51” and “Firball”, then “IV Line” to finish.
  3. Kaiteriteri Mountain Bike Park: With the highest concentration of easier grade trails of any hub in the Top of the South, plus access to a beautiful beach this is a must ride area for families and those looking for a more gentle introduction to riding.

Intermediate Trails

  1. Involution Trail: A thrilling ride with a mix of intermediate level technical sections and a flowing descent through stunning native bush past streams and waterfalls.
  2. Codgers Mountain Bike Park (back side): This park features a variety of trails catering to different skill levels, making it a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, the back-side (Maitai river side) has slightly harder trails than the front and offers a good challenge for Intermediate level riders wanting to challenge themselves.  There is an excellent climbing track back up out of the Maita valley so you can repeat tracks as desired.
  3. Silvan Mountain Bike Park.  The Silvan Mountain Bike Park features a high concentration of Grade four and easier Grade five trails with a good access climbing trail to make repeat runs enjoyable.  With over 600m vertical of elevation from the top to the bottom of the park this is especially popular with ebikers as they maximise their vertical descent in multiple runs.
  4. Creamed Rice: Located in the incredible Wairoa Gorge Mountain Bike Park run by the Nelson Mountain Bike Club, this park has 70+kms of hand-built trails of world-class quality.  Creamed Rice is one of many Intermediate level trails in the park that will astound any level of rider with how much fun can be had on just one track.

Codgers Mountain Bike Park has many easier flowy trails to ride.

Advanced Trails

  1. Te Ara Koa: A demanding trail with a mix of roots, rocks, and steep sections that will test even the most skilled riders.  A fantastic introduction to the narrower, rockier and rootier more advanced single and double black trials that are common throughout Nelson.  At 5kms long and with almost 700 vertical meters of descent this is an incredible trail and a popular favorite to shuttle.
  2. 629: a legendary Grade six trail famous nationwide, this flowing trail has multiple “pinch” technical sections that will challenge the most advanced rider.  This is a must do for advanced riders coming to Nelson.
  3. Gamble/Jurassic: Located in the Cable Bay Adventure Park this long descent from the very top of the park features simply amazing native New Zealand bush and a trail to challenge advanced riders at every turn, absolutely not to be missed on any visit to Nelson.
  4. “The Dark Side”: A collection of trails in the Wairoa Gorge Mountain Bike Park that are especially… well, Advanced.  Challenging in the dry and positively terrifying in the wet, these are the kinds of trails that will challenge the most advanced rider and leave you with stories (and psychological trauma) for years to come.

Nelson has an incredible variety of Advanced Mountain Bike Trail as well.

Local Resources and Service Providers in Nelson, New Zealand

Although there are many businesses located in Nelson who provide bicycle or cycling related services, very few of them actually provide mountain biking services at a level sufficient for tackling the trails and terrain in Nelson’s mountain bike hubs.  Most of those businesses are focused on providing services for wine trails, the great taste trail, and gravel roads.  Visitors should be very wary of checking the services offered and matching them to the kinds of trails that you want to ride.  Ending up with a hybrid bicycle rental for tackling grade four Nelson trails would be quite dangerous.

Mountain Bike Rental Services

  1. Gravity Nelson: We offer a range of high-quality mountain bikes for rent. The bikes are hand-picked and set up for Nelson trails.  Visit our website at
  2. Torpedo7: Located in the center of Nelson, T7 has a handful of rental acoustic and electric mountain bikes mostly from Trek. Check them out at

Guided Mountain Biking Tours

  1. Gravity Nelson: We have concessions and agreements to provide guiding and coaching services in almost all the mountain biking hubs around Nelson, as well as a variety of DOC trails around the Top of the South, our expert experienced guides can guide and coach you on all levels of Nelson trails.   Visit our website at
  2. Helibike Nelson: A local shuttle and guiding company that focusses on easier grade trails around the Top of the South.  Learn more at

Nelson has amazing trails for racing, exploring, and casual riding.

Mountain Bike Shuttle Operators

  1. Gravity Nelson: As one of only two shuttle operators authorised to shuttle the majority of Nelson’s trails, including Fringed Hill, Codgers, Sharlands, 629, Cable Bay Adventure Park, The Wairoa Gorge, and Silvan Mountain Bike park, we provide private, flexi, and casual shuttles throughout the year. Visit our website at
  2. Helibike Nelson: A local shuttle and guiding company that runs minivan shuttles throughout the Top of the South, this includes shuttles to the Old Ghost Road, Heaphy Track, Paparoa and much more.  Learn more at
  3. Cable Bay Adventure Park: Offering casual and private shuttles exclusively in their park located only 15 minutes drive from the center of Nelson.  The shuttles provide access to their rapidly growing network of trails of a variety of levels. Learn more at:
  4. The Wairoa Gorge Mountain Bike Park: Run by the Nelson Mountain Bike Club this incredible facility is a shuttle only location and shuttles are run by the club most weekends and public holidays.  Group bookings may be possible outside of those dates, or Gravity Nelson can be contacted to shuttle when the club either is not operating or has no capacity.   These World-class trails are simply unbelievable in quality and variety. Learn more at:


Mountain biking in Nelson, New Zealand, offers an unparalleled adventure for outdoor enthusiasts. With an abundance of trails catering to all skill levels, breathtaking natural beauty, and ideal weather conditions, it’s no surprise that this destination has become a mecca for mountain bikers from around the world.

In conclusion, Nelson’s diverse range of trails, stunning landscapes, and the wealth of local resources and service providers make it the ultimate destination for mountain biking adventures. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced rider, Nelson offers a thrilling and unforgettable experience that will leave you craving more.

So, gear up, and embark on the ultimate outdoor adventure that awaits you in Nelson, New Zealand. With its world-class trails, picturesque landscapes, and friendly local community, there’s no better place to experience the thrill of mountain biking.

Additional Tips for Your Nelson Mountain Biking Adventure

  1. Safety first: Always wear a helmet and appropriate protective gear when mountain biking. Make sure your bike is in good condition, and carry a basic repair kit with you.
  2. Respect the environment: Stay on designated trails, and avoid causing damage to the natural surroundings. Be mindful of other trail users, and give way when necessary.
  3. Stay informed: Keep up to date with trail conditions, weather forecasts, and any potential hazards before setting out on your ride, Gravity Nelson is always happy to provide you with up to date information about trails, pop in to their shop at 140 Bridge St, Nelson for an update.
  4. Join a local group or club: Connecting with fellow mountain bikers in the Nelson area can provide valuable insights, advice, and camaraderie. Check out the Nelson Mountain Bike Club at for more information.
  5. Know your limits: It’s essential to choose a trail that matches your skill level, and not to push yourself too hard. Take breaks when needed, and always prioritize your safety and well-being.

With these tips in mind, you’re well-prepared to make the most of your mountain biking adventure in Nelson, New Zealand. Now, all that’s left to do is hit the trails and experience the exhilaration of conquering new heights in this beautiful part of the world.

Rental high quality electric mountain bikes enable you to make the most of the riding in the region.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What makes Nelson, New Zealand, a top destination for mountain biking?

Nelson offers diverse trails catering to all skill levels, breathtaking natural beauty, and ideal weather conditions, making it a prime location for mountain biking enthusiasts[1].

  1. Are there mountain bike rental services available in Nelson?

Yes, there are mountain bike rental services available, such as Gravity Nelson ( and Torpedo 7  (

  1. Can I join guided mountain biking tours in Nelson?

Absolutely! Gravity Nelson ( offers guided mountain biking tours throughout the Nelson region.

  1. What are some beginner-friendly mountain biking trails in Nelson?

Dun Mountain Trail and the Codgers Mountain Bike hub are two excellent options for beginner mountain bikers in Nelson.

  1. Where can I find more advanced mountain biking trails in Nelson?

Te Ara Koa is a good introduction to more challenging trails suitable for experienced mountain bikers, harder progressions than Te Ara Koa include Butters, Smasher, Lollipop, Divas, and many more.

  1. Are there any local mountain biking clubs in Nelson?

Yes, the Nelson Mountain Bike Club is a local organization that connects mountain biking enthusiasts in the area. You can find more information at

  1. What should I bring with me for a mountain biking adventure in Nelson?

Make sure to wear a helmet, appropriate protective gear, and bring a basic repair kit for your bike.

  1. How can I stay informed about trail conditions and weather forecasts in Nelson?

Keep an eye on local news outlets and weather websites for up-to-date information on trail conditions and weather forecasts before heading out on your ride. seems to provide quite accurate ten day, daily and hourly forecasts.

  1. How can I ensure I choose a trail that matches my skill level?

Research the trails in Nelson, especially in, read trail descriptions, watch videos of the trails, and consider your own experience and fitness level when choosing a trail to ensure a safe and enjoyable ride.

  1. Is it important to respect the environment while mountain biking in Nelson?

Yes, it’s crucial to stay on designated trails, avoid causing damage to the natural surroundings, and be mindful of other trail users during your mountain biking adventure.

Nelson is fun for mountain bikers of all ages