“One of the best tracks in Dunedin - a fun climb to great views and a thrilling descent.”
— Almonzo Wilder
This brilliantly constructed trail climbs a shoulder of Swampy Summit from the Leith Valley. Banked switchbacks, roller-coaster ups and downs, fun boardwalks, and great views make this an outstanding intermediate out-and-back.
Need to Know
This is a two-way trail. Watch for oncoming traffic, runners, sheep, etc. The track is nicely shingled and handles water quite well - it should be rideable after any brief spell of dry weather.
From Leith Valley Road look for the beginning of the Nichols Creek Switchback trail just north of the bridge over Nichols Creek (i.e., on the opposite side of the creek from the conspicuously signed track to Nichols Creek Falls and glowworms). The beginning of the trail is a bit obscure from the road, but an information sign tucked in the woods will let you know you're in the right place.
The trail climbs steadily from the outset via well-shingled track that passes through beautiful native forest. After a couple early glimpses of Nichols Creek, the track meanders back and forth enjoyably through the bush. A few very tight switchbacks are aided by roundabouts (one with a tree fern in the center is a favorite!) that show off the great engineering of the trail. Climbing is steady, but never terribly steep and the trail is smooth and non-technical. The route passes through a landslide area and a few clearings near adjacent pasture land that allow for nice views. As the trail climbs the slope steepens and you'll need to use caution in a few spots not to slip off the track. Near the top of the track dips and rolls add some roller-coaster character that is fun both up and down.
At present the track ends near the intersection with the Moon Track
at a fine viewpoint near the corner of a fenced paddock. Trail work is continuing with the goal of eventually connecting the Nichols Creek Switchbacks all the way to Swampy Ridge Track
. At present, descending the way you came, which is a non-stop blast, makes for the best way to finish off this ride.