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Level: Intermediate
Length: 27 mi (43.5 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Loop
Elevation: +747/762 ft
Total: 8 riders

Mountain Biking Upper Clutha River Loop

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#121 of 381 mountain bike trails in New Zealand
#8624 in the world

The Upper Clutha River Loop takes in the Upper Clutha River Track which is on the true right of the river and the Newcastle Track which is on the true left of the river. Together they make a fantastic loop offering a great workout and unsurpassed scenery.

The trails sometimes run along the banks of the river and sometimes they climb up to terraces above the river, often quite steeply. Otherwise they are are mellow and fast.

There are eight car parks around the circuit and you can start at any of them. Most people start somewhere near the Albert Town Bridge. There is a car park off Kinniberg Street and others on the Hawea side of the bridge. If you ride out from Wanaka by the Lake Wanaka Outlet Track you just carry on down the river. Pick up the brochure "Wanaka Outdoor Pursuits" from the Wanaka Information Centre if you need to get your bearings.

There are many good rides on the loop apart from the full 44 km circuit. One good option is to ride from Albert Town down to the historic Luggate Hotel where you can enjoy a good ale and meal, then get a lift back. You could go down either side of the river. The Newcastle Track (true left of the river) is less undulating but a bit longer.

However you do it, you are going to be glad you did! This loop is a feast for your eyes and your muscles. You'll never enjoy exercise more.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
From Wanaka head out to Albert Town and turn right down Kingstown Street just before the Clutha River Bridge. Then turn right into Kinniberg Street. Alternatively cross the Clutha River Bridge and start there. The nice brochure "Wanaka Outdoor Pursuits" available from the Wanaka Information Centre will show you the way, as will the singletracks app.
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Upper Clutha River Loop Trail map

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rosa54 (on Jun 30, 2018)
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Icy (on Jun 30, 2018)
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Mountain Bike Trails Near Wanaka, New Zealand

Beginner | 19 mi
| 34 mi
Easiest | 15 mi
Beginner | 2 mi

Rider questions

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  • Jim Cummings

    This trail offers the option of a good ride with a good beer in a friendly historic pub. Two gems for the price of one - don't miss it.

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  • Desperado

    It's one of those rides that just lift your spirits! The river scapes are dazzling and so are the panoramic views of the hills and mountains so be sure to go on a fine clear day. If you do the full loop it's best to go down the true right of the river (Upper Clutha River Track) because it's more undulating. Come back up the Newcastle Track with the mountain vistas in front of you.

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