The Craigieburn Forest Park is host to an epic trail complex for Mountain bikes and hiking for all levels. Located 1 hour away from Christchurch and next to the alpine village of Castle Hill. Ride through native New Zealand beech forests and alpine shale as well as shredding some fresh loam.

Being a cloudy and gray day in Christchurch, we decided to pack the bikes up and drive the 100kms on SH73 up to the Craigieburn Forest Park. There are several entrances to the tracks.

You can either park up in the Castle Hill Village and enter the Hogs Back Track from there, or park in the Broken River Skifield or Craigieburn Ski Field Road. If you have a smartphone you can download the Craigieburn Trails app which will give you weather reports, directions and status updates on the tracks.

On this particular adventure we parked at the bottom of the Craigieburn Ski Field access road. You can drive up until there is a closed gate. From there we pedalled to the base of the ski field and The Edge track starts from there which winds 3.1km back above the access road. This is a relatively easy track but has some steep drops off the side and some scree crossings.

The track finishes up when you see a sign  that points you to the Lyndon Saddle which is a short but steep roughly 2km climb. From there you can either take the Luge track or detour left and climb up Helicopter hill for some awesome views out over the mountain ranges. The ride down from Helicopter Hill is a more advanced track which will take you back to where the luge starts.

The Luge is exactly what its name says, its a fun, fast, flowy track that is 2.1km long which takes you back down to the Broken River access road. Form there you can climb back up the access road until you see a big steel gate which you ride past and keep on climbing to find Dicksons Downhill Track a 2.4km gravity fed track suitable for intermediate above riders, but it is also fun, fast and flows, which is really the name of the game for the Craigieburn trails.

This is where we ended our adventure for the day and pedaled back across the Sidle 73 track which is a 1.2km access track back to the Craigieburn Skifield car park.

The are some other great trails in the forest that I haven't covered in this adventure including the Cockayne Alley track which is off the Mt Cheeseman access road. If you are into some one of a kind mountain biking this is the adventure for you.

Pack List

  • Helmet
  • Food
  • Water
  • Bike/Hiking Gear
  • Decent weather gear - Alpine Environment
  • Medical Kit
  • Camera
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RT Distance 24.9 Miles
Elevation Gain 3937 Feet
Activities Photography, Mountain Biking
Skill Level Beginner
Season Spring, Summer, Autumn
Trail Type Loop
Features
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Forest
Scenic
Waterfall

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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