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Coppermine Climb, Nelson

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Coppermine ClimbBeginner - Intermediate

Submitted by Sarah Biss

Info Info
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Trail Information





Tasman and Nelson


Back country - remote

Out and Back


Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops

Beginner - Intermediate

4:00 (Slow)
2:50 (Moderate)
2:10 (Fast)



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Once parked as described, carry on that tarseal road for a couple of hundred metres, (over the Maitai Dam outflow) until the road ends at a wire fence and sign with walking times for the Dun Mountain trail, Dew Lakes etc. Follow that 4WD track, but keep on the track rather than turning off to the left to go to the Rush Pool or Dew Lakes (another sign a little further on).

You will cross the Maitai River and leave pines behind for nice flowing single track through native bush. Do not take the side turn off to the Maitai Caves, just stick to the track, which will continue to get steeper, eventually coming out of the bush into more open landscape, with striking reddish rocks and great views out to sea. Look out for mountain bikers flying down the switch backs as you grovel your way up!

The highest point (and your turnaround point, unless you want to poke your nose further along the track- either towards Windy Point - right, or Dun Mountain - left ) is Coppermine Saddle (878m). Here you have wonderful views of the Richmond Range down to the Maitai Valley. It is a unique landscape, particularly when not that far from Nelson City as the crow flies.

Turn around and head back exactly the way you came.

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Features of interest

This route is part of the Dun Mountain Trail- "The Dun Mountain, at the heart of the Nelson Mineral Belt, is one of the most geologically interesting areas in New Zealand. Its diverse minerals also mean it has an interesting history - from early use by Māori as a source of argillite adzes, and in early European settler times as the centre for hopes of wealth from copper mining. The Nelson Mineral Belt consists of heavy ultramafic rocks such as serpentine, which formed the ocean floor and were thrust into the crust of the Gondwana super-continent some 280 million years ago. New Zealand is a small fragment of Gondwana that began breaking apart about 100 million years ago."

-from: http://www.theprow.org.nz/places/maitai-valley/#.WB7KXi197IU

Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 2%

Technical Single Track: 40%

Easy Single Track: 28%

Farm Road / 4WD Track: 18%

Gravel Road: 10%

Sealed Road: 2%

Route Data


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Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate Strava activity for each

Dun Mountain Loop

Dun Mountain Loop

Length: 32.30km

Maitai Cave Track

Maitai Cave Track

Length: 11.00km


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  • Access

    From Nelson city follow Maitai Valley Rd (off Nile St) for about 11km. It starts as tarseal then turns into gravel, a 2WD is fine, unless there has been extremely heavy rain, in which case there could be a small ford to cross. Keep driving until you reach the Maitai Dam. Just before the dam you will see an info sign to the right, and to your left - the entrance to carpark/toilet block- where this run route starts from.

    Parking is safe. There is a gate a couple of hundred metres from the toilet block/parking area that is sometimes locked, if so you can park there and just start the run a little earlier!

    18 km

    72 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    The Dun Mountain Trail brochure is a useful one for a general overview, but for more detail take Topo50-BQ26 Nelson.


    Waterproof leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Personal Locator Beacon (PLB), Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Survival bag, Cellphone, Compass, Map, Headtorch and spare batteries.

    Carry your own water.

    The tops can be very wind blown or cold in the winter, and conversely hot and dry in the winter.

  • Post run indulgence

    42 Rutherford St, Nelson
    You have to return to Nelson for the nearest cafe, where the options are numerous. Zumo is good if you need somewhere casual enough to flop on a couch whilst still dusty and sweaty and are craving a good coffee. Not the biggest range of food, but the coffee is hard to beat and the staff great.

    River Kitchen
    81 Trafalgar St, Nelson
    Nice location by the river, indoor and outdoor seating- and an excellent range of food.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


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