NELSON TRAILS

Dun Mountain Circuit

Maitai Water Reserve

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 accessed from the end of Maitai Valley, which is 11 km up Maitai Valley Road from central Nelson. Use the car park just after Maungatapu Road turnoff, or if the gate is open, continue to the car park on the other side of the dam spillway. 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’s a good idea to create a circuit out of both.

 

The majority of the circuit is within Nelson City Council’s Maitai Water Reserve. Along the top of Bryant Range between the Dew Lakes junction and Dun Saddle, the track skirts back and forth across the Mt Richmond Forest Park boundary, which roughly follows the top of the range.

Description

This circuit can be completed in either direction.

 

From the dam car park, head along the gravel road on the other side of the gate, which climbs steadily through a block of recently-felled pine forest before gaining the top of a spur. Here, Rush Pool Track branches off to the right and continues 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. A return trip to the Rush Pool alone will take you around 2 hr 30 min.

 

The track continues uphill, alternating between beech forest and mineral belt scrub. It 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 (940 m elevation) after 2-3 hours. Turn right (south) at the junction to continue toward Dun Mountain. Dew Lakes are located 1 min north of the junction (to the left).

 

The top of the range is forested and flat, though quite boggy in places. The track climbs steeply 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’ll reach the connection with Dun Mountain Trail. 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 into the valley of Maitai River South Branch. Once you cross the bridge across the river, it’s an easy 3.3 km back to where you started at Maitai Dam.

Short Walks

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Day Walks

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Tramping

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Biking

Dun Mountain Circuit
Maitai Water Reserve

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 accessed from the end of Maitai Valley, which is 11 km up Maitai Valley Road from central Nelson. Use the car park just after Maungatapu Road turnoff, or if the gate is open, continue to the car park on the other side of the dam spillway. 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’s a good idea to create a circuit out of both.

 

The majority of the circuit is within Nelson City Council’s Maitai Water Reserve. Along the top of Bryant Range between the Dew Lakes junction and Dun Saddle, the track skirts back and forth across the Mt Richmond Forest Park boundary, which roughly follows the top of the range.

Description

This circuit can be completed in either direction.

 

From the dam car park, head along the gravel road on the other side of the gate, which climbs steadily through a block of recently-felled pine forest before gaining the top of a spur. Here, Rush Pool Track branches off to the right and continues 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. A return trip to the Rush Pool alone will take you around 2 hr 30 min.

 

The track continues uphill, alternating between beech forest and mineral belt scrub. It 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 (940 m elevation) after 2-3 hours. Turn right (south) at the junction to continue toward Dun Mountain. Dew Lakes are located 1 min north of the junction (to the left).

 

The top of the range is forested and flat, though quite boggy in places. The track climbs steeply 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’ll reach the connection with Dun Mountain Trail. 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 into the valley of Maitai River South Branch. Once you cross the bridge across the river, it’s an easy 3.3 km back to where you started at Maitai Dam.

Updated 5 March 2019