5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde© James Jubb - Destination Central Otago
5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde

5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde

© James Jubb – Destination Central Otago

Alexandra and Clyde Cycle Trails

Home to three of the South Island’s most renowned cycle trails, Alexandra and Clyde are definitely worth discovering if you love two-wheel adventures. However, the cycle trails in Alexandra and Clyde are not to be rushed. They are all leisurely rides with easy gradients suitable for young and old. Enjoy the scenery of dramatic river gorges or vast rocky plains, discover the intriguing gold-mining past with many relics intact along the trails, and stop every now and then to explore the quaint towns along the way. We list some of your best cycling options with this list of bike trails in Alexandra and Clyde.

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 9 Cool Things to Do in Clyde and 10 Central Otago Must-Dos. Plus, if you can’t get enough of trails along the Clutha River, see Mountain Biking in the Catlins and Clutha District.

1. Otago Central Rail Trail

The renowned Otago Central Rail Trail is New Zealand’s original “Great Ride” spanning 152km (94 miles) across the Central Otago region. The gentle gradient of this multi-day trail makes it accessible for anyone wanting to discover the beauty of the diverse landscapes and history of the region. Start the cycle trail in Clyde and travel on an old railway route to Middlemarch, passing mountainous landscapes to dry desert-like scenery to farmland to quaint towns with historic gold mining features. There’s also the option to do day rides of the Rail Trail from both Clyde or Alexandra thanks to the great selection of bike hire and shuttle services available. See our favourite day ride of the trail on #5 on this list!

Location: Albert Drive or State Highway 8, Clyde

5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde© James Jub - Destination Central Otago

2. Roxburgh Gorge Trail

The Roxburgh Gorge Trail is a truly remote experience down the stunning and dramatic Roxburgh Gorge. The trail is 34km (21 miles) which can either be enjoyed all together or in shorter sections. One option is to cycle from Alexandra to Doctors Point (20km/12 miles return) to experience the breathtaking gorge scenery. Alternatively, start at Roxburgh Dam and ride to Shingle Creek and back (22km/14 miles) offering expansive lake vistas and rural farmland. For the whole trail, you will need to book a boat transfer between the Doctors Point jetty and the Shingle Creek jetty. Note that the trail is a well-formed and wide trail with a few steep sections to tackle.

Location: Southern historic bridge pier, Alexandra

pxhere© pxhere

3. Clutha Gold Trail

Follow the Clutha River for 75km (47 miles) on this 1-2 day trail offering a stunning set of landscapes. The Clutha Gold Trail showcases the river gorge scenery of the Clutha River, as well as lush green farmland along a mostly flat and undulating trail. There are five small settlements along the trail where you can stop and learn about their history on the interpretation panels or stop for food and a mingle with the locals. This is definitely a trail to take leisurely. See more information in our 12 Super Scenic Cycle Trails in Otago.

Location: Commissioner’s Flat (just off Roxburgh East Road), Roxburgh Village

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

4. 150th Anniversary River Track

For a shorter ride in the Alexandra and Clyde area, check out the 150th Anniversary River Track between Clyde and Alexandra. The best way to ride is from Clyde to Alexandra, starting under the historic Clyde Bridge and following the Clutha River to the Alexandra river bridge. Along the way, you’ll get great views of the river and see interesting gold mining relics such as machinery and the Earnscleaugh Tailings. The trail is 12km (7 miles) and a very easy gradient. You can make the ride longer by linking to the Manuherikia River Track off River Street in Alexandra, then onto the Central Otago Rail Trail back to Clyde (more info below).

Location: Clyde river bridge

NZPocketGuide.com© NZPocketGuide.com

5. Clyde to Chatto Creek

This is the first section of the Otago Central Rail Trail and makes a great day ride option from Alexandra and Clyde. The flat and easy ride starting from the Clyde Railway Station takes you past vineyards, fruit orchards and merino sheep farms. There are vineyards and gardens to stop by along the way before reaching Alexandra. Your journey then continues up the Manuherikia River, passing the historic Line Gang shed before the trail takes you over the 120m (394ft) long Manuherikia No. 2 Bridge. The last leg of this section takes you along the willow and schist-lined Chatto Creek up to the Chatto Creek Tavern. Clyde to Chatto Creek is approximately 17km (10.5 miles) long and an easy grade.

Alternatively, ride the Clyde to Alexandra section of this trail then link up with the 150th Anniversary River Track (see above) to return to Clyde. The distance of this loop is 25km (15.5 miles) and an easy grade.

Location: Cycle Railway Station

5 Best Bike Trails in Alexandra & Clyde© James Jubb - Destination Central Otago


Laura S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in New Zealand over 10 years ago and with a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to travel New Zealand. She knows Aotearoa inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience New Zealand’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides and is the co-host of NZ Pocket Guide’s live New Zealand travel Q&As on YouTube.

Was this article useful?