The Four Lakes Loop is a half day back-country ride on roads, tracks and some quality singletrack. It's the easiest trip from Queenstown to get amongst the local farmland and stark, rugged landscapes. And you'll go past four beautiful lakes: Wakatipu, Kirkpatrick, Moke and Dispute.
One unfortunate thing about Queenstown singletrack is that many trails are quite short and they're spread out around the area. This loop combines several such trails, some cattle tracks, some gravel road and some sealed road into a single loop that will have you smiling most of the way.
Before setting you should buy the $5 "Queenstown & Wakatipu Mountain Bike Trail Guide" from a local bike shop or the information centre. Pencil in the loop as I describe it below! On that map you're going to ride these trails: 9 Sunshine Bay Track, 5 Gold Digger, 3 Moke Lake Track, 2 Lake Dispute Track, 4 Phoenix, 7 Seven Mile Bike Park, 6 BoB.
If you're riding from Queenstown, you'll take Glenorchy Road for 7 km to Seven Mile Reserve car park which is just past Moke Lake Road. Along the way you can escape the sealed road for 3 km by taking the Sunshine Bay Trail.
Alternatively you can drove out to Wilson's Bay car park and ride through the Seven Mile Bike Park until you see the sign for the BoB tail. That's a short and sweet singletrack that you'll take to the Seven Mile Reserve car park.
From the Seven Mile Reserve car park take the classy handmade trail called Gold Digger that starts across the road. It goes up through forest and historic gold diggings until it joins Moke Lake Road after 2.5 km.
Moke Lake Road is a gravel road up here and takes you over a saddle and down through farmland past Lake Kirkpatrick to Lake Moke. There you'll take the Moke Lake track part way round the lake. Cross the fence at the sign just before you get to the lake and go clockwise or stay on the road for a while and go anti-clockwise.
When you reach the south western corner of Lake Moke you'll see the well signed Lake Dispute trail. It starts out as a cattle track - watch out for the fresh dung! Continue on down past the lake until you see the sign for Phoenix Trail. It's on the left of the main trail - don't miss it! That trail is 1.5 km of superior, swoopy, hand-made singletrack, partly through forest and partly in the open with gorgeous views of Lake Wakatipu.
You'll come out on Glenorchy Road just past the Wilson Bay car park (where you car is if you didn't ride out from town). You can ride back to town through the Seven Mile Bike Park which has 30 km of choice singletrack that you may prefer to save for another day. You can exit the bike park to Glenorchy Road by taking the BoB track to the Seven Mile car park. Got it! It's easy with the map or the Singletracks app!
The Four Lakes Loop covers some of the turf as the Moonlight Circuit. It is shorter and less arduous. It has some better singletrack and is a grade easier but offers almost the same sense of rugged wilderness.