We'd love as many mountain bikers' as possible to come and enjoy this trail and landscape.........BUT, the reality is The Old Ghost Road is not suitable for riders of all ages and abilities.
The Old Ghost Road is a Grade 4 (advanced) mountain biking trail and has a variable natural surface. In general and in accordance with international standards, riders should expect the following on a Grade 4 trail:
Our main aim is that mountain bikers' enjoy this experience and are safe doing so. This is as much about planning, preparation and the expectations you form, but it also involves you being realistic about your own ability. If you are in doubt, we recommend using the following guide to determine whether The Old Ghost Road is for you:
In recognition of user needs, we have tried our best to ensure the trail standard and surface is as good as possible. But The Old Ghost Road traverses some wild lands and steep sides and drop-off's are unavoidable. Undoubtedly, this is part of the attraction of The Old Ghost Road - but only if this is within your capability and comfort zone. Please do not attempt The Old Ghost Road if it is not.
Riders will be able to enter from Seddonville or Lyell. Let’s start at Lyell at the Department of Conservation's picturesque Lyell Campground.
From Lyell (110 metres above sea level) it’s pedal power up the long forgotten 19th century county dray road as it winds its way patiently towards the Lyell Saddle. Interpretive displays along the route point out old settlements and historic features.
Most riders will reach the Lyell Saddle (875 metres above sea level) in 3-4 hours (765m of ascent!). For the fit and keen among you, you have the choice of continuing on up onto the open tops of the Lyell Range. Approximately 6 km of climbing through bush and 6 km of predominantly open tops travel offering dramatic views will have you arriving at the breath-taking Ghost Lake Hut site. Views abound enroute to the west and north and views abound at the hut site to the south and east.
The Ghost Lake Hut sits at 1200 metres above sea level in a stunning setting. With 30 km behind you and the high point of the ride in the bag, only masochists or the irreverant will continue past this point. It is the perfect point to 'call it a day' (if you hadn't already done so previously!).
Check your brakes before departing from the Ghost Lake hut site as the trail descends almost 800 metres over the next 9 km (average of almost 5 degrees) to the Stern Creek Hut. Expect the temperature to increase once you arrive in the Stern Creek valley. The ride from Ghost Lake Hut to Stern Creek Hut is unlikely to take long - count on 1-2 hours.
From the Stern Creek Hut the trail meanders on up through the interesting Stern Creek (north branch) valley. Some earnest climbing is again required to gain a low but sharp saddle that allows passage into the Goat Creek catchment and on down to the confluence with the Mokihinui River South Branch. Riders could expect to cover this 16 km in 2-4 hours.
From Goat Creek, riders will wind their way through towering podacarp forest to the Mokihinui Forks and turn left down into the head of Mokihinui River Gorge before reaching the Specimen's Creek Hut - some 3 km downstream from the Mokihinui Forks. Goat Creek to Specimens Creek Hut 12 km; 1-2 hours.
From Specimen's Creek, the Mokihinui Gorge shows the way to the sea. The old miners’ road is rejoined for the virtually flat journey out to Seddonville through the spectacular Mokihinui River gorge. Congratulations, you've just ridden The Old Ghost Road.