NELSON TRAILS

Ben Nevis

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Ben Nevis (1619 m) is a peak in Mt Richmond Forest Park, southwest of Nelson. Beginning in Wairoa Valley, Ben Nevis Track climbs along Gibbs Spur to the trig at the summit and is a half-day return walk. The term ‘Ben’ means mountain in Scottish Gaelic. ‘Ben Nevis’ is an Anglicisation of ‘Beinn Nibheis’, which is commonly translated to ‘mountain of the heaven’. This particular Ben Nevis is second highest of the three peaks in New Zealand that share the name.

Details
Length9.6 km return
Time Required5-6 hr return
Trail TypeTramping track
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking and trail running
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation820 m
Max Elevation1619 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see local DOC office


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

 

Elevation profile: one way to summit

This elevation profile should be considered approximate. Its accuracy is determined by the quality of data available.

 

Connections

Ben Nevis Track does not connect to any other official tracks. Experienced parties may continue along the ridge to Mt Ellis and Te Araroa Trail, though this route is unmaintained and highly exposed.

Access

  1 hr from Nelson

 

From Nelson, head south along State Highway 6 to Wakefield and turn left onto Church Valley Rd, which becomes Pig Valley Rd and is unsealed from here on. Continue straight at the intersection with Wairoa Gorge Rd, and follow the latter for 5 km until Old Mill Rd forks on the left, bridging Wairoa River Right Branch. Note that Wairoa Gorge Rd is narrow and windy, so drive with caution. Head up Old Mill Rd for 2.7 km and then turn right onto Boundary Rd as it begins up the hillside into pine forest (look for the small DOC sign on the left).

 

Boundary Rd is steep, rough and windy, so it is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. There are a few forestry roads that branch off from Boundary Rd, so pay attention to the orange DOC markers that indicate the correct route. The last few hundred metres of the road before the beginning of Ben Nevis Track is particularly steep and deeply rutted; you may find that the best option is park in the small siding on the right, opposite the DOC ‘Track’ sign. The first few hundred metres of the track crosses private land (you will see the start of a Wairoa Gorge MTB Park track), then the rest of the track is in Mt Richmond Forest Park.

 

Check DOC’s Mt Richmond Forest Park access page for closures before you go. Logging and high fire risk will close access.

Description

Beginning at the DOC sign at the end of the road, Ben Nevis Track emerges from the forestry block and climbs steeply up Gibbs Spur through open scrub and douglas fir trees, before entering beech forest. After 1.6 km a meadow is reached, where the track climbs up around rocky crags, which drop steeply to the east into Wairoa River valley. The track re-enters beech forest and is undulating for another kilometre until the treeline at 1350 m elevation.

 

The track continues winding steeply upwards through tussock and rocky outcrops, with cairns marking the way. The trig at the summit is positioned on the crest of the range at 1619 m elevation. Here you will enjoy expansive views north and west over the Tasman Bay hinterland, and south toward the distinctive hue of Red Hill.

 

Return the way you came.

 

From the trig at the summit an unmarked route continues southwest along the range to connect with Te Araroa Trail near Mt Ellis (approx. 6 km away), creating connections to Hunters Hut and Top Wairoa Hut. Travel along the range is straight-forward for experienced trampers in clear, snow-free conditions. Expect the range traverse to take at least 2 hours.

Safety

Ben Nevis is an alpine environment, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The track reaches a high elevation and is exposed above the treeline, so proper outdoor clothing is essential. You must always be prepared for freezing conditions and take extreme care if snow and ice and are present. Do not rely on the Nelson weather forecast as the alpine conditions in Mt Richmond Forest Park are likely to be drastically different. Make sure you carry plenty of water with you as there are no water sources on the way up.

 

See the Mountain Safety Council website for useful information on preparing for the outdoors.

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Ben Nevis
Mt Richmond Forest Park

Ben Nevis (1619 m) is a peak in Mt Richmond Forest Park, southwest of Nelson. Beginning in Wairoa Valley, Ben Nevis Track climbs along Gibbs Spur to the trig at the summit and is a half-day return walk. The term ‘Ben’ means mountain in Scottish Gaelic. ‘Ben Nevis’ is an Anglicisation of ‘Beinn Nibheis’, which is commonly translated to ‘mountain of the heaven’. This particular Ben Nevis is second highest of the three peaks in New Zealand that share the name.

Details
Length9.6 km return
Time Required5-6 hr return
Trail TypeTramping track
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking and trail running
DirectionReturn (up and down)
Start Elevation820 m
Max Elevation1619 m
Dog AccessPermit required for Mt Richmond Forest Park; see local DOC office


If any layers fail to load, try clearing your cache and refreshing the page.

 

Elevation profile: one way to summit

This elevation profile should be considered approximate. Its accuracy is determined by the quality of data available.

 

 

Access

  1 hr from Nelson

 

From Nelson, head south along State Highway 6 to Wakefield and turn left onto Church Valley Rd, which becomes Pig Valley Rd and is unsealed from here on. Continue straight at the intersection with Wairoa Gorge Rd, and follow the latter for 5 km until Old Mill Rd forks on the left, bridging Wairoa River Right Branch. Note that Wairoa Gorge Rd is narrow and windy, so drive with caution. Head up Old Mill Rd for 2.7 km and then turn right onto Boundary Rd as it begins up the hillside into pine forest (look for the small DOC sign on the left).

 

Boundary Rd is steep, rough and windy, so it is suitable for 4WD vehicles only. There are a few forestry roads that branch off from Boundary Rd, so pay attention to the orange DOC markers that indicate the correct route. The last few hundred metres of the road before the beginning of Ben Nevis Track is particularly steep and deeply rutted; you may find that the best option is park in the small siding on the right, opposite the DOC ‘Track’ sign. The first few hundred metres of the track crosses private land (you will see the start of a Wairoa Gorge MTB Park track), then the rest of the track is in Mt Richmond Forest Park.

 

Check DOC’s Mt Richmond Forest Park access page for closures before you go. Logging and high fire risk will close access.

Description

Beginning at the DOC sign at the end of the road, Ben Nevis Track emerges from the forestry block and climbs steeply up Gibbs Spur through open scrub and douglas fir trees, before entering beech forest. After 1.6 km a meadow is reached, where the track climbs up around rocky crags, which drop steeply to the east into Wairoa River valley. The track re-enters beech forest and is undulating for another kilometre until the treeline at 1350 m elevation.

 

The track continues winding steeply upwards through tussock and rocky outcrops, with cairns marking the way. The trig at the summit is positioned on the crest of the range at 1619 m elevation. Here you will enjoy expansive views north and west over the Tasman Bay hinterland, and south toward the distinctive hue of Red Hill.

 

Return the way you came.

 

From the trig at the summit an unmarked route continues southwest along the range to connect with Te Araroa Trail near Mt Ellis (approx. 6 km away), creating connections to Hunters Hut and Top Wairoa Hut. Travel along the range is straight-forward for experienced trampers in clear, snow-free conditions. Expect the range traverse to take at least 2 hours.

Safety

Ben Nevis is an alpine environment, so proper preparation and care should be made to ensure a safe trip. The track reaches a high elevation and is exposed above the treeline, so proper outdoor clothing is essential. You must always be prepared for freezing conditions and take extreme care if snow and ice and are present. Do not rely on the Nelson weather forecast as the alpine conditions in Mt Richmond Forest Park are likely to be drastically different. Make sure you carry plenty of water with you as there are no water sources on the way up.

 

See the Mountain Safety Council website for useful information on preparing for the outdoors.

Connections

Ben Nevis Track does not connect to any other official tracks. Experienced parties may continue along the ridge to Mt Ellis and Te Araroa Trail, though this route is unmaintained and highly exposed.

Updated 26 January 2019