3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Craigieburn trails are a hidden gem in the Canterbury mountain bike scene.
A grassroots effort has seen over 50km of trail built traversing the slopes below the club ski fields, from Castle Hill village to Lake Pearson.
They range from intermediate trails through the beech forest and grasslands, to hair-raising descents on alpine scree.
The trail builders close the trails over the winter to prevent damage.
Please check the current trail conditions [here](https://www.craigieburntrails.org.nz/) This route, known as "The Craigieburn Trail," is an entirely intermediate 24km, incorporating five singletrack trails: Coal Pit Spur, Lyndon Saddle, Luge, Dracophyllum Flat, and Hogs Back.
The whole route is an absolute treat with new terrain and surprises around each corner.
Assuming you just have one car, some road riding is required to make this a loop.
Park a few hundred metres up the main road inside Castle Hill village and then ride north up the main highway to the start of Coal Pit Spur track.
Look for a pull-out/rest area on the left just after passing the Flock Hill Lodge bridge.
Coal Pit Spur provides a great warm-up, initially fording and following a stream before a small climb in the forest takes you up and over to Craigieburn ski area road. From here, a short climb up the road leads to the start of Lyndon Saddle track.
This trail is a bit more challenging, forcing you to climb 300m with a few tight corners and roots to keep things interesting.
You are rewarded, though, because at the top the track transitions right into the aptly-named Luge trail—a fast, rooty descent through native bush.
Hold on tight! Luge spits you out onto the Broken River ski area road, where another short bit of road climbing leads to the start of Dracophyllum Flat.
This has got to be one of the most pleasant trails around—nothing super technical to speak of, just awesome singletrack through stunning tussock lands. You’ll come out on your final ski field road: Mt Cheeseman.
Just ahead, the Hogs Back trail starts with a rude little climb which emerges onto a strange, almost Mars-like area of open flats.
It’s all good riding along the tops, with great views.
The last section has you back in the forest, with an amazing descent that will have you laughing all the way to the car.