Off-road vehicle users need to register with DOC before entering the St James Conservation Area. Find out about vehicle access, restrictions, and how to register your vehicle.

Motorised vehicle access closed for winter

Both the Maling Pass and Edwards Valley 4WD tracks into the St James Conservation Area are closed to motorised vehicles over the winter months (June – October). This is to:

  • ensure the health and safety of those driving as track conditions can become adverse
  • protect the track from damage as it is susceptible to bogging.

Subject to weather and track conditions, motorised vehicle access should open again early October 2023.

When you can take vehicles on St James Conservation Area

Motorised vehicles (4WD vehicles, quad bikes, ATVs and motorbikes) are usually permitted on the two 4WD tracks in Edwards Valley and Maling Pass during the drier summer season.

This is usually from early October to mid-late May, subject to weather and track conditions.

Access can also be closed anytime during the summer period due to safety risks, bad weather, threats to conservation or track damage. You will need to check the DOC website for the latest track status.

Where you can drive

Access is restricted to the Edwards Valley and Maling Pass 4WD tracks from Tophouse Road as far as the signs by the Waiau River. Vehicles are to stay on these tracks at all times.

Edwards Valley Track is not maintained past Scotties Hut, access over Charlies Saddle is not recommended.

Vehicles are not permitted on the Waiau River bed, or across the river to the western side of St James Conservation Area.    

How to get in

Vehicle access is controlled by locked gates at the two track entrances, at Edwards Valley and Maling Pass car parks. The gates are controlled to ensure drivers are aware of the vehicle code of conduct and any other conditions before entering the area.

To register your details and view the codes visitors need to complete an online form. This will be available when the tracks are open.


Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 318 9211
Address:   104 West Coast Road
Arthur's Pass
Postal Address:   PO Box 51008
Arthur's Pass 7654
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