The Barnicoat Range – A Walk In Nelson That Will Make You Sweat

If you’re looking for an outdoor climb close to town, then the Barnicoat Range is definitely the one for you! Located just out of the suburb Stoke in Nelson, you can gain easy access to this intense and wonderful climb which, is guaranteed to make you sweat.

There’s something special about getting outside and working up a sweat without being confined to the 4 walls of a gym.

Spending time outside in nature is not only good for your body but is especially good for your mind. There’s nothing better than feeling the fresh air caress your face while listening to the mesmerizing birds chirping away.

For this walk you will be diving into a pine forest that follows a 4 wheel drive track. The hike eventually opens up to a clearing at the top of the range to a paragliding spot with a remarkable view. Take your lunch as there are picnic benches at the top.

The whole walk will hopefully enhance your sense of adventure and give you an appreciation for the beautiful Nelson region.

What To Bring:

When going on a hike to somewhere you haven’t been before it’s always a little challenging to know what to bring. Listed below are a few things I recommend taking on this hike!

  • Sneakers (No need for hiking boots)
  • Plenty of water!
  • A sweat towel
  • Camera
  • Lunch
  • Day hiking pack
  • Walking sticks if you have them. (The downward walk is very hard on your knees)
  • Watch – Time how long it takes you!
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Headphones – Get that music pumping to entice you to get up that hill!

Getting there:

  • The walk is located in the middle of Nelson in the suburb stoke.
  • From Stoke head along the beautiful Marsden valley road for about 3km. While you’re driving be sure to take a few minutes to appreciate the beautiful country like life along the way.
  • The road is straight so just follow it all the way up, you can’t get lost! (Except on your way in from Stoke there is an annoying intersection that is a little confusing, your aim is to go straight, so try your best!).
  • About 2km down the road there is a sign to your left saying Marsden Valley Conservation Area, but don’t stop there! (As I did and ended up walking up a dead-end track… lol).
  • Keep heading up the road about another 500m to the car park on your right hand side! There will be a massive sign marking the start of the walkway and there should be a car or two.

The Barnicoat Walkway:


The beginning of the Barnicoat walkway is marked with a sign so just hop out of your car and enter into the walkway. You will come across a beautiful trickling stream and a bridge and then start a mini climb to the main track, which will get the lungs going!

Continue along the 4 wheel drive track and just follow the straight road up, up and up! (Don’t take any of the turn offs).

Walk on between the beautiful immense pine Forrest and try your best not to stop so you work up even more of a sweat!

You should be climbing for about 45 minutes depending on your fitness level.

About half way up the track the road splits in 2. The option is either straight or left down Fincham road. Continue up the straight path (if you do the full loop you will end up coming down Fincham road).


Keep on going up!

Eventually the road will veer left and you will come to an amazing clearing that will give you an amazing appreciation for the Nelson region.

To get to the seat at the paragliding spot head on past the clearing and then you will come to a track that heads off to the right.

If you go straight you will do the loop and end up down Fincham road described before. (The loop is a bit steep, going down with lots of loose gravel, so I wouldn’t recommend it.) I would recommend turning around the way you came… It’s easier on the knees!

Anyway, Turn right a little bit past be clearing to head to the paragliding spot and enjoy a rest for lunch. From there you can continue waking to the Richmond hill lookout (If you desire a longer walk).


The sign says the whole loop takes 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Remember if you want to save your knees definitely turn around and descend the way you came.

I’m not sure about you but it was definitely easier to jog down the hill because I didn’t have poles so it was easier on my knees.

Be proud of how many calories you would have burnt doing this hike and send me a photo of you at the top!

I hope you enjoy!

Until next time,

Lee X 


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  1. Looks so cool Lee! Will have to book that in for when I finally get up to see you 😄 keep up the great posts I always love to see what you have coming next!! X