Sunrise Ridge is a popular technical MTB track in the upper Maitai Valley, which passes through beautiful beech forest of the Maitai Water Reserve. Sunrise Ridge is commonly combined with Black Diamond Ridge and Peaking Ridge. Though predominantly used for riding, it is also great for trail running and walking.
Mountain-bikers will want to ride Sunrise Ridge in the downhill direction. This will require you to reach Black Diamond Ridge via Fringed Hill or Dun Mountain Trail. Attempting to bike from the Maitai end will see you will be carrying your bike most of the way.
For return loops you can park your car at either the public car park next to the Maitai Motor Camp, or on the side of Maitai Valley Road at Smith’s Ford (see Access tab above).
For those on foot, Sunrise Ridge Track can be traversed in either direction. If approaching from Maitai Valley, at Maitai Valley Road end cross the pedestrian bridge to the true left of the Maitai River and follow Dun Mountain Trail upstream. After 1.6 km Bob Taylor Road heads off to the right. There is signpost indicating this is they way to reach Sunrise Ridge. Bob Taylor Road climbs predominantly through plantation forest for 3.2 km, before reaching the road end at 629 m elevation, where Sunrise Ridge Track and 629 track begin right next to each other.
From the intersection on Black Diamond Ridge, the track descends steadily through the silver beech forest that covers the ridge. The track has a technical grading of Black Diamond, and is often described as a ‘rootfest’. Between the tree roots, fallen trees and occasional rocky section, there will be several places where you will need to dismount and walk. Despite this, there are good lengths of the track that can be negotiated without having to get off your bike. The gradient is steady the whole way along the ridge and there are no particularly steep drops. You will notice the large patches of young beech trees that are taking the place of the trees downed in a damaging wind storm in 2008.
Peaking Ridge Track connects on the right after 2.4 km. Crankenstein DH track also begins on the left, dropping down and reaching Maitai Valley via the bottom half of 629. The last few hundred metres to the track end involve a steep, rocky climb where you will need to walk your bike. From here you can descend to Smiths Ford in Maitai Valley via 629 DH track, or to Maitai Valley road end via Bob Taylor road.