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LAKE DUNSTAN TRAIL

This spectacular trail is set to become an iconic cycling day trip that extends the already fabulous cycle trail options in Central Otago. Joining Cromwell with Clyde, the trail provides ever changing vistas, trail novelty and cycling challenge. With starting points at the Cromwell Heritage Precinct, Bannockburn Bridge and Pidgeon Rock, you can vary the number of kilometers you’ll ride to fit your fitness and saddle time requirements. The vistas and flowing nature of this trail really will take your breath away.

she bikes he bikes lake dunstan trail profile
Distance. (240 mins)
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WEATHER

We generally make use of the two forecasts below because they work well for our region

Windy.com is great because you get a webcam view of the Clyde end of Lake Dunstan. Tap the logo to get the forecast.

Despite being the Norwegian forecast, YR.NO works really well in Central Otago, though it an underestimate max temperature. Tap the logo to get the forecast.

lake dunstan trail carrick section

What to expect

The Lake Dunstan Trail has been regraded to trail grading of 1-3 (easiest, easy, intermediate). The grade 3 reflects the face that there are sections of this trail that require more skill and endurance.

If you’re not a regular cyclist or haven’t been on a bike for 20+ years, this trail is best left until you’ve ridden AND enjoyed something like the Roxburgh Gorge Trail. 

Once you’re in the Cromwell Gorge section, this trail is not suitable for very young children that require a trailer or tag along as parts of the trail are simply too narrow. 

Children who can ride a 24” bike or above should be ok but need enough gearing on the bike to tackle the main climbs along with appropriate fitness, gear changing and braking skill.

cairnmuir trig lake dunstan trail

What to bring

Always dress for the conditions of the day by looking at the forecast. 

Essentials:

  • Rain / Wind break layer (even if the day is hot, if you have an accident you’re likely to need something that will help keep you warm).
  • Plenty of water for you
  • Snacks
  • Sun screen
  • First aid kid
  • A mobile phone on the SPARK network as they are the provider with coverage right across the trail
Summer:
  • Extra water
  • Long sleeved cool top to help protect you from the sun
Autumn:
  • Warmer layer(s)
Winter:
  • Ski gloves
  • Puffer jacket
  • Lots of warm layers so you can manage heat
  • Muffler to cover your face
Spring:
  • Warmer layer(s)
 
 
 

Lake Dunstan Trail - Safety Video

The Lake Dunstan Trail Trust have produced a very informative safety video that we’d recommend you watch. The key message is “BE PREPARED”

Having the skills or developing them

You’ll find some videos below that illustrate the various faces of the trail. If some of them scare you then consider

  • Choosing one of our other great day trips that are graded 1 to 2 (easiest, easy). Click here to find out more. 
  • Setting a goal to develop your skills so you can take on this incredible trail and others like it.

We’re getting behind RECREATIONAL RIDERS NZ as a rapidly growing nationwide group that’s all about helping people enjoy riding their bike, you can read more about that below.

Recreational Riders NZ

Here’s a quote from their founder Chris Foggin

There was a need for a group to focus on recreational riders/cyclists and assist to enhance their enjoyment of riding a bike. This group is a communication forum to engage with recreational cyclists across New Zealand. The aim is to create a friendly, non-judgemental, central online place for recreational riders/cyclists to share cool cycling stories and gain knowledge of training tips & skills, road safety advice, places to ride, showcasing trail development & other cycling infrastructure, advice on buying bikes & gear, promoting ride groups and generally sharing our love of cycling. Any style of riding or bike for recreation is important. It matters not whether you enjoy e-bikes, road, gravel or being in the forests on a full suspension MTB. Have fun and enjoy the ride!

CROMWELL HERITAGE PRECINCT

CROMWELL HERITAGE PRECINCT TO BANNOCKBURN BRIDGE

Distance. (36 mins)
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BANNOCKBURN BRIDGE

BANNOCKBURN BRIDGE TO PIGEON ROCK

Distance. (40 mins)
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PIGEON ROCK

PIGEON ROCK TO CLYDE

Distance. (150 mins)
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CLYDE