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Level: Intermediate
Length: 7 mi (11.3 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +442/ -442 ft
Total: 11 riders

Mountain Biking Flat Top Hill

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#94 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#6,872 in the world

The Flat Top Hill circuit crosses Butchers Dam and follows the interpretive loop along the shoreline passing old mine workings from 1862 and exposed ancient soils. Leave the interpretive loop at the sign to Flat Top Hill and follow the orange then blue markers to the top of the hill. You'll gain 200 metres, mainly on singletrack which at times is quite steep.

There is a four wheel drive track heading north along the crest of the hill which, indeed, is quite flat topped. It's flat because the layered schist rock, uplifted from below prehistoric seas, is still horizontal here. Schist underlies most of Otago. Up on top of this arid hill you get to see it exposed in all its naked splendour.

As you go along the four wheel drive track keep your eye out for filaments of singletrack that hang off it. At times the singletrack is challenging. There are some rocky downhill segments that will thrill an advanced rider, a few jumps and a short steep section down an unsteerable rut! And all along the top there are panoramic views - the dam and the highway down one side and the steep, deep gorge of Roxburgh Lake on the other. And up ahead you'll see the Manuherikia Valley and the Hawkdun Range.

Eventually, the trail seems to be heading down towards Roxburgh Lake. That's your signal to swing left and head back down to Butchers Dam. However there is a trail that goes down to Roxburgh Lake called Rock of Doom. It's a steep and exposed downhill trail with some serious drops. From the bottom you will have to take the Roxburgh Gorge Trail back to Alexandra.

The trail is not clearly marked and there are a number of four wheel drive tracks. Finding your way is part of the adventure.

First added by Jim Cummings on May 10, 2015. Last updated May 9, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: unknown
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: unknown
  • Fat bike grooming: unknown
  • E-bikes allowed: unknown
  • Fee required: unknown
This trail information is user-generated. Help improve this information by suggesting a correction.
Getting there
From Alexandra head south towards Roxburgh. After 6 km you'll see Butchers Dam, the DOC sign and the turnoff on your left. Go down the gravel road 100 metres to the car park and information kiosk.

Flat Top Hill Trail map

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mhq26 (on Dec 19, 2017)
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Trail conditions

Dry (on May 15, 2015)
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Rider questions

Q: Today I rode and pushed up the 4x4 track .. Got to the top ' totally stuffed , turned left at the fence line . Had an awesome ride down ' very sticky with the melting frost and mud .. I came to another 4x4 track . So I went left again .. Very steep .. If I Carried on where will this take me ? Cheers
A: The Flat Top Hill Circuit is a great ride with stunning views and it's quintessentially Central Otago with exposed schist rock all around. I didn't go up a four wheel track. I followed the interpretive loop along the shoreline passing the old mine workings to the sign to Flat Top Hill and followed the orange then blue markers to the top, mainly on singletrack which at times is quite steep. If you carried on north along the top you'd eventually reach the end of the flat top and have to go down. Go left (west) down and back to Butchers Dam. I you go right you'll end up way down at Lake Roxburgh.

Q: I went up the 4x4 track " not riding very much ' too steep and I'm a bit old . When I got to the top to the fence line I turned left .. Nice down hill ' then I meet up with another 4x4 track that I took . If I kept going were will this take me ? Hoping to get back to butchers dam ??
A: The trail is not clearly marked and there are a number of four wheel drive tracks. Finding your way is part of the adventure but if you subscribe to Singletracks you'll be able to print out the map with my GPS trace clearly showing the way. You'll also be able to download the full Singletracks app and follow my GPS trace on your smart phone. Alternatively, if you contribute trails, photos, reviews etc to Singletracks you'll be able to get the map etc for free!!