The Old Ghost Road is an old miners road that’s been converted to one of the most awesome trails in all New Zealand, if not the world. The entire trail is 85 kilometers and most people that do the entire trail take between two and four days, staying in huts along the way.
If you were really committed (and very fit), you could do the entire trail in a day, but you’d need a shuttle back to your car. We met trail runners that had done the trail in two days and a german on a mountain bike that was taking four days.
We had only a single day so we decided to do an out-and-back from Lyll to the Lyll saddle. There’s a view about 4k beyond the saddle so I rode up to see it making the entire ride around 44k.
We’d driven up to Greymouth to stay there for three nights. It’s a long haul from the Queenstown area so we arrived around 11p at night.
The plan was originally to do the West Coast Wilderness trail the first day and then the Old Ghost Road, but we switched the order because of the weather.
The trail is a pretty good climb, but at a reasonable grade on a very well-maintained trail. What you’ll see along the way is stunning. It was overcast and rainy the day we set out so there wasn’t much in the way of views, but the forest is spectacular.
Here’s the view from the benches 4k beyond the Lyll Saddle. In another 8k, I would have reached the Ghost Lake Hut, but with the weather and the condition of our legs, we decided this was enough of a good thing for the day. We had a big ride planned for the next day.
On the way down, the occasional sprinkles we’d seen during the day, turned into a full-fledged rain storm. We spend an hour in pouring rain during the descent. I had a pretty light jacket so I was pretty frozen by the end. The trail became a stream so we were covered with mud and soaked to the bone by the end.
Be sure to bring bug repellent if you do the ride. We didn’t have any and got pretty chewed up by small mosquitoes.
You can see the whole ride in the video below or take a look at the Strava data for our ride here.
You can get more information on the Old Ghost Road here.