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Level: Advanced
Length: 9 mi (14.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +2,985/ -2,834 ft
Total: 3 riders

Mountain Biking Kirwans Track

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#109 of 387 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#7,153 in the world

Kirwans Track is a hiking trail that became available to mountain bikers a few years ago and quickly became something of a legend for it's tough upward slog and ruggedly technical ride back down.

It climbs over 1000 metres in 14km as it rises relentlessly through rain forest to Kirwans Hut high in the hills above Reefton. It's steep and the surface is sometimes soft, sometimes rocky, sometimes slippery, sometimes off-camber, generally challenging. There are many push-or-carry obstacles such as slips, tree falls, rock steps and washouts. All but the very fit and strong will do a lot of walking. Expect to take around four hours or more to reach the hut at the summit. You'll probably be in the clouds by then but if not you'll enjoy a fine view over the surrounding hills - lots of them.

You ride back down the way you came up and that's a ride that mountain bikers dream of. It's a long, looong way and ruggedly technical. It will take you over an hour not including stops to cross obstacles or just to rest your brake fingers.

The downhill ride has gained such a reputation that it's not unusual for riders to skip the slog up with a helicopter lift.

There is drinking water and a toilet at the hut.

First added by Ginny_Tory on Dec 28, 2013. Last updated Apr 28, 2020. → add an update
Before you go
  • Drinking water: yes
  • Lift service: unknown
  • Night riding: unknown
  • Pump track: unknown
  • Restrooms: yes
  • 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
Drive or ride out of Reefton along the main highway towards Westport and take a right turn onto Boatmans Road. Park at the DOC car park.
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Kirwans Track Trail map

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Local Info

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Trail checkins

Jim Cummings (on Feb 7, 2017)
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Trail conditions

Good (on Feb 8, 2017)
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Rider questions

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  • Jim Cummings

    Kirwans Track is something of a legend because of it's long relentless climb on a hiking track that has lots of unrideable obstacles, slippery off-cambre roots, soft spots and general technicality. After gaining 1000 vertical metres - you turn around and go back the same way for an hour long downhill that will keep you alert and smiling most of the way. Because it is so challenging, riders tend to overrate it but it's the kind of track that you have to knock off.

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  • Desperado

    This is a very tough ride. You climb over 1000 vertical metres to the hut - it's relentless. Views at the top are stupendous on a clear day. The ride down is hypertechnical most of the way and takes one and a half hours.
    The track is actually a hiking track and is quite popular with walkers.

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  • Dean McLennan

    Nice, long climb through rainforest. The first few km good gradient, then gets gradually harder with some walking required for most. A good couple 2-3 hours of climb, with Helidrop as the other option. Turn around and back the way you came, worth it for an hour plus of technical downhill, 99% rideable with a couple of spots you will need to get off (slips, trees across in places).

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