NELSON TRAILS

Dun Mountain Circuit

Mt Richmond Forest Park

Dun Mountain (1129 m) is located on the Bryant Range in Mt Richmond Forest Park, southeast of central Nelson. It is the namesake of the popular Dun Mountain Trail, as well as the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt and dunite, the ultramafic rock which the latter largely comprises. A return trip to the summit is a full-day walk from Maitai Dam, typically via a circuit combining Dun Mountain Trail and Rush Pool Track.

Details
Distances12.1 km one way Maitai Dam to summit via Dun Mountain Trail; 10.6 km one way Maitai Dam to summit via Rush Pool Track; 22.7 km for Rush Pool Track-Dun Mountain Trail circuit; 2.5 km one way Coppermine Saddle to summit
Time Required6-7 hr return circuit to Maitai Dam
Trail TypeShared track/Tramping track
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking and trail running
DirectionEither
Start Elevation120 m (Maitai Dam)
Max Elevation1143 m (Little Twin)
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited in Maitai Water Reserve

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Access

  20 min from central Nelson

 

Dun Mountain is best accessed from the end of Maitai Valley, east of central Nelson. Park at the car park at the road end, which is 11 km up the Maitai Valley from central Nelson. If the gate to the dam is open you can park further up at the car park next to the dam, though take note of the signage that warns the gate will be closed at 5 PM.

 

You can climb to the summit via either of two tracks; Dun Mountain Trail or Rush Pool Track. Dun Mountain Trail is by far the more popular of the two and is less arduous, though as they both start at Maitai Dam and are roughly the same length, it is a good idea to create a circuit out of both.

Description




This circuit can be completed in either direction.

 

Begin at the car park at the Maitai Valley Road end. Instead of crossing the pedestrian bridge over the Maitai River to Dun Mountain Trail, continue along the road that crosses the dam spillway. The track turns uphill to the left along a 4WD Road built to service the transmission pylons that head over Maungatapu Saddle.

 

The road climbs steadily through a block of recently-felled pine forest before gaining the top of a spur and continuing as a walking track (Rush Pool Track) through mineral belt scrub to the Rush Pool and a historic Maori argillite quarry. The Rush Pool was created by Maori in the 16th century to help quarry argillite. The quarrying process involved lighting a fire beneath rock outcrops to heat them, then dousing the rock with cold water from the pool, causing shards to split and crack off.

 

Rush Pool Track continues uphill, alternating between beech forest and mineral belt scrub. The track is very rutted in places, and at times is literally a creek bed. You will reach a T junction with Dun Saddle-Maungatapu Saddle Track at the top of Bryant Range, at 940 m elevation. Dew Lakes are located 1 min north of the junction (to the left), though to reach Dun Mountain, turn right (south) at the junction.

 

The top of the range is forested and flat, though quite boggy. The track climbs over Little Twin (1143 m) before dropping down into a saddle. The stark boundary between beech forest and scrub at the saddle marks the beginning of the mineral belt. From here the track climbs up onto the Dun Mountain summit ridge to the summit (1129 m) which is marked by a cairn. Enjoy the magnificent views along Bryant Range and out to Tasman Bay.

 

Continue along the summit ridge (you will pass Dun Mountain shelter) and drop steeply down to Dun Saddle (930 m). Turn right and follow the rocky track on the right side of the gully. After 800 m you will reach the connection with Dun Mountain Trail, where the modern trail alignment descends from Coppermine Saddle. It is downhill for the remainder of the distance to Maitai Dam. Be wary of MTBs that may approach quickly from behind (though they should be the ones looking out for you). The track descends the western flank of Dun Mountain, then zig-zags steeply into the valley of Maitai River South Branch. Once alongside the river you will leave the mineral belt and enter beech forest, then cross the river. From here it is an easy 3.3 km back to where you started, at Maitai Dam.

Dun Mountain Circuit
Mt Richmond Forest Park

Dun Mountain (1129 m) is located on the Bryant Range in Mt Richmond Forest Park, southeast of central Nelson. It is the namesake of the popular Dun Mountain Trail, as well as the Dun Mountain Mineral Belt and dunite, the ultramafic rock which the latter largely comprises. A return trip to the summit is a full-day walk from Maitai Dam, typically via a circuit combining Dun Mountain Trail and Rush Pool Track.

Details
Distances12.1 km one way Maitai Dam to summit via Dun Mountain Trail; 10.6 km one way Maitai Dam to summit via Rush Pool Track; 22.7 km for Rush Pool Track-Dun Mountain Trail circuit; 2.5 km one way Coppermine Saddle to summit
Time Required6-7 hr return circuit to Maitai Dam
Trail TypeShared track/Tramping track
Physical DifficultyHard   
UsesWalking and trail running
DirectionEither
Start Elevation120 m (Maitai Dam)
Max Elevation1143 m (Little Twin)
Dog AccessDogs are prohibited in Maitai Water Reserve

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

 

Access

  20 min from central Nelson

 

Dun Mountain is best accessed from the end of Maitai Valley, east of central Nelson. Park at the car park at the road end, which is 11 km up the Maitai Valley from central Nelson. If the gate to the dam is open you can park further up at the car park next to the dam, though take note of the signage that warns the gate will be closed at 5 PM.

 

You can climb to the summit via either of two tracks; Dun Mountain Trail or Rush Pool Track. Dun Mountain Trail is by far the more popular of the two and is less arduous, though as they both start at Maitai Dam and are roughly the same length, it is a good idea to create a circuit out of both.




 

Description

This circuit can be completed in either direction.

 

Begin at the car park at the Maitai Valley Road end. Instead of crossing the pedestrian bridge over the Maitai River to Dun Mountain Trail, continue along the road that crosses the dam spillway. The track turns uphill to the left along a 4WD Road built to service the transmission pylons that head over Maungatapu Saddle.

 

The road climbs steadily through a block of recently-felled pine forest before gaining the top of a spur and continuing as a walking track (Rush Pool Track) through mineral belt scrub to the Rush Pool and a historic Maori argillite quarry. The Rush Pool was created by Maori in the 16th century to help quarry argillite. The quarrying process involved lighting a fire beneath rock outcrops to heat them, then dousing the rock with cold water from the pool, causing shards to split and crack off.




 

Rush Pool Track continues uphill, alternating between beech forest and mineral belt scrub. The track is very rutted in places, and at times is literally a creek bed. You will reach a T junction with Dun Saddle-Maungatapu Saddle Track at the top of Bryant Range, at 940 m elevation. Dew Lakes are located 1 min north of the junction (to the left), though to reach Dun Mountain, turn right (south) at the junction.

 

The top of the range is forested and flat, though quite boggy. The track climbs over Little Twin (1143 m) before dropping down into a saddle. The stark boundary between beech forest and scrub at the saddle marks the beginning of the mineral belt. From here the track climbs up onto the Dun Mountain summit ridge to the summit (1129 m) which is marked by a cairn. Enjoy the magnificent views along Bryant Range and out to Tasman Bay.

 

Continue along the summit ridge (you will pass Dun Mountain shelter) and drop steeply down to Dun Saddle (930 m). Turn right and follow the rocky track on the right side of the gully. After 800 m you will reach the connection with Dun Mountain Trail, where the modern trail alignment descends from Coppermine Saddle. It is downhill for the remainder of the distance to Maitai Dam. Be wary of MTBs that may approach quickly from behind (though they should be the ones looking out for you). The track descends the western flank of Dun Mountain, then zig-zags steeply into the valley of Maitai River South Branch. Once alongside the river you will leave the mineral belt and enter beech forest, then cross the river. From here it is an easy 3.3 km back to where you started, at Maitai Dam.




 

Updated 5 March 2019