COVID-19: At REI, we encourage you to get outside responsibly. Stay local, avoid recreational travel, practice social distancing and check ahead for area and facility closures. Learn More
MTB Project Logo

Heaphy Track: Gouland Downs Hut - Saxon Hut



3.1 mile 5.1 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 393' 120 m
Descent: -115' -35 m
High: 2,363' 720 m
Low: 2,025' 617 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 12% (7°)


No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Alan Eskrick


Current trail conditions

Update Conditions
Unknown See History

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

An easy section of track across Gouland Downs with two rivers to cross on swing bridges or to ford.

Alan Eskrick

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Open to mountain bikers from May 1st to September 30th each year. No night riding, maximum group size is six, huts must be booked in advance.


The track after Gouland Downs Hut passes first through a stand of beech forest adorning a limestone outcrop before descending to cross a flat area of Gouland Downs. There are two old style swing bridges on this section of track. If the rivers are low it is much easier to ford them than struggle across the bridges with a bike.

After crossing the Downs, the track climbs easily up, meandering through beech forest before emerging into the tussock clearing where Saxon Hut is situated 5km from Gouland Downs Hut.

The Saxon Hut is named after John Saxon, who surveyed the track in 1886. Saxon Hut is a well-built, older style hut with an open plan single room, wood fire, long-drop toilet, fresh water, and gas-cooking facilities scenically located on the western edge of the Gouland Downs among red spinifex tussocks.

Its a great place to listen for the call of the Kiwi at night, and you might be lucky enough to see one as well.

Biked this trail?

We need help with the following missing trail information:

Family Friendly, ADA Accessible, Need to Know, Features, Electic Mountain Bikes Allowed


Local Club: MTB Trails Trust

Land Manager: Department of Conservation

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality

   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In



Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote


in South Island


  4.0 from 1 vote
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
2 Star
1 Star
Trail Rankings


in South Island


in New Zealand


2 Views Last Month
28 Since Aug 28, 2015



Fording a stream on Gouland Downs is faster than crossing the old swing bridge
Aug 6, 2015 near Takaka, NZ
Crossing the headwaters of Big River, Gouland Downs. Much faster than the swingbridge if the river is low.
Sep 26, 2015 near Takaka, NZ
Stepping carefully across Big River
Sep 26, 2015 near Takaka, NZ
Crossing Gouland Downs
Aug 6, 2015 near Takaka, NZ
Mountain bikers at Saxon Hut
Aug 6, 2015 near Takaka, NZ
Swingbridge across the headwaters of Big River. Better to ford the river if it is low.
Sep 26, 2015 near Takaka, NZ


MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter