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Level: Advanced
Length: 11 mi (17.7 km)
Surface: 4x4 Trail
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: -
Total: 5 riders
 

Mountain Biking Pyramid Saddle

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#128 of 382 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#8,652 in the world

The Pyramid Saddle Trail, also known as the Darts Bush Stream Trail, crosses hilly tussock country - not quite remote wilderness but definitely back-country. It's typical of this part of New Zealand. You are surrounded by a dry, stark, impressive landscape with the jagged peaks of the Southern Alps as a backdrop. And there are azure glacial lakes and the sinuous canals of a mega hydro power generation network that uses the massive volume of rain and snow that falls on the mountains.

The trail starts out flat and easy but soon you start climbing, then there are some undulations as you pass through a pine plantation. Then it's a steep climb beside a fence up to Pyramid Saddle. Only the ultra-strong will be able to ride it. Just dig in - it's not a very long push and you'll be more than rewarded on the way down the other side.

The saddle is a great spot for a picnic on a fine day. The way down starts out as a fairly steep but well formed four wheel drive track, then you cross a flat area as you head towards Flanagan Pass. Don't panic about that monster, you'll soon turn right and begin a long, fast gradual descent all the way down beside Darts Bush Stream. From there you turn right onto the Dusky Trail for an easy pedal to the Ohau Canal to complete the 17km (11 mile) loop.

There are three creek crossings and you'll get wet feet on the last one even if you manage to stepping-stone across the first two. The trail mainly follows four wheel farm tracks. It's rocky terrain but the trails are generally quite smooth.

If you want a more strenuous workout, branch off up to Flanagan Pass, then take the Dorcy Track down to Lake Ohau followed by Glen Lyon Road and the Ohau Canal back. That would give you an altitude gain and loss of about 700 metres over a distance of 50km.

First added by Jim Cummings on Mar 31, 2017. Last updated Apr 21, 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
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Getting there
This trail starts just 8km (5 miles) from downtown Twizel. Head out of town on Glen Lyon Road, when you come to the Ohau Canal, cross the bridge and turn left. In about 50 metres you'll see a DOC sign to the Dusky Trail. Go past it and continue on another 50 metres where you'll see another DOC sign - "Access to Ben Ohau Range". If you came out by car you can park right at the trailhead just up a little rise there or you could park beside the canal road.
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Pyramid Saddle Trail map

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Jim Cummings (on Mar 30, 2017)
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Good (on Mar 31, 2017)
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  • Jim Cummings
    ***

    The Pyramid Saddle circuit passes through a stark, rugged landscape that has it's own kind of majesty. The ride is mostly grade 3 - only the push up to the Saddle and the stream crossings lift the overall grade. It's rocky ground but these four wheel drive tracks are mostly quite smooth. It's a similar trail to the Dusky Trail which it overlaps. They are both worth the ride.

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