Craigieburn Forest Park mountain biking tracks

Image: Malcolm O'Neill, Hiking New Zealand | Creative Commons


Find out about mountain bike trails in Craigieburn Forest Park.

Track overview

Mountain biking

Various times under 4 hr Intermediate: Grade 3
Advanced: Grade 4

Dog access

Dogs on a leash only

About this track


There is a network of roads and dual purpose tracks in Craigiburn Forest Park, which are popular for mountain biking. Mountain biking is permitted only on ski field access roads and the bush tracks sign-posted 'open to cycling use’.

Be aware at all times of other vehicles on these roads.

These are shared-use tracks. Follow the mountain bikers code: respect others, respect the rules, respect the track.

Access from Craigieburn picnic area

Sidle 73 Track

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 3 km return
Time: 1 hr
Other users: Walkers

The Sidle 73 Track connects the Craigieburn Picnic Area on the Broken River Ski Field access road with the Craigieburn Ski Field access road, avoiding 1.5 km of tarmac on State Highway 73. The track begins at the Craigieburn Picnic Area and ends on the Craigieburn Valley Ski Field Road. In part the trail uses an old 4WD track and has been constructed as a walking and biking track of intermediate grade. The track distance is approximately 1.5 km.

Note: Mountain bikes are not permitted on the Mistletoe Track. This track is a very popular family walk and is not suitable for mountainbikes.

Craigieburn Valley Loop

Grade 4: Advanced
Distance: 15 km loop
Time: 2 - 4 hr
Other users: Walkers

Ride for 1.5 km along the Sidle 73 Track to the Craigieburn Valley ski field road. Ride up this road to the head of the valley, beyond the ski club buildings and onto the Craigieburn Valley Track. This track provides an undulating and, in places, technically challenging single-track ride either back to the ski field road or to Lyndon Saddle as described previously.

Lyndon Saddle Loop

Be aware of rockfall.

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 8.8 km return
Time: 1 - 3 hr
Other users: Walkers

Ride for 1.5 km along the Sidle 73 Track to the Craigieburn ski field road. The Craigieburn Valley Track starts approximately 3 km up this road. Turn left at the next junction and follow the easier sidling track up to Lyndon Saddle. The right fork at the saddle (affectionately known as "The Luge" by mountain bikers) is a long undulating and twisting trail to Broken River ski field road. Follow this road back to the picnic area.

Note: Mountain bikes are not permitted on the other two tracks starting from the Lyndon Saddle junction. These tracks lead either up Helicopter Hill or to down to the Craigieburn Picnic Area and are very popular family walks.

Broken River Ski Field Road

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: From picnic area to club hut - 6 km
Time: 1 hr 30 min - 2 hr
Other users: Walkers

The road leaves Craigieburn Picnic Area following Cave Stream and climbs to Jacks Pass. The road follows the valley beyond the locked gate, winding its way to Windy Corner and on to the club huts. Beyond the day lodge on the ski field, sections of the road are steep and loose but the ski basin can be accessed by bike.

Broken River Ski Field Road to Camp Saddle

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 2.5 km from tractor shed to Camp Saddle
Time: 2 hr uphill
Other users: Walkers

Camp Saddle Track starts opposite the ski club tractor shed beyond the locked gate on Broken River ski field road. An old 4WD drive track narrows as it steadily climbs through beech forest. The track then comes out into open tussocks; poles mark the route to Camp Saddle.
Enjoy the magnificent views from the tussock and scree saddle before returning the same way.

Dracophyllum Flat Track

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 6.7 km
Time: 1 - 2 hr 
Other users: Walkers, picnickers

Take the road from the Craigieburn Picnic Area following Cave Stream to Broken River ski field road. The Dracophyllum Flat Track begins opposite the road intersection and gradually descends to Broken River. Cross the new bridge and then briefly ascend through mountain beech to a sheltered clearing which is covered by red-brown Dracophyllum, native tussock and a host of small herbs and ground-cover plants.

This is a popular picnic site so ensure you watch out for other users.

After an easy crossing of Dracophyllum Flat the track re-enters the bush again and traverses through several boggy and muddy areas as well as crossing several small streams. Once through the bush, the track traverses a tussock area and some more forest and then drops into Timms Stream. After climbing out of the stream the track arrives at Texas Flat on the Cheeseman Ski Field Road.

Access from Thomas Bush

Hogs Back Track

Grade 3: Intermediate
Distance: 7.4 km
Time: 1 - 2 hr 
Other users: walkers

From the access road to Thomas Bush just west of Castle Hill Village the track climbs through beech forest onto the Long Spur ridgeline. After following the ridgeline the track then descends across the open flats below Long Spur to the beech forest at Long Creek. A ride through the beech forest is followed by a short climb up the true right of Waterfall Creek. After crossing Waterfall Creek the track then traverses across to the western side of the Hogs Back ridge before dropping down to Texas Flat (via Ernie's Mistake).

The return ride back to Castle Hill Village can be made either by taking the reverse track route or by riding 4.7 km down the Cheeseman Skifield access road to SH73 and then 2.3 km along SH73 back to Castle Hill (note this section of SH73 includes a 90 m climb).

This track can also be linked directly with Dracophyllum Track.

Getting there

Craigieburn Forest Park is approximately 100 km from Christchurch on the Great Alpine Highway (SH73) towards Arthur's Pass and is accessed via the signposted side road to Craigieburn Picnic Area.

Know before you go


The summer climate of Craigieburn is usually hot and dry, but in winter snowfalls are common.
In all seasons the weather is changeable, and special care should be taken on routes above the bush-line.

Weather forecasts are available from the Met Service, or from DOC Visitor Centre at Arthur’s Pass +64 3 318 9211.

Be avalanche alert

This area has terrain that can produce avalanches. View avalanche safety information.


Arthur's Pass National Park Visitor Centre
Phone:   +64 3 318 9211
Fax:   +64 4 471 1117
Address:   106 Main Westcoast Road
Arthur's Pass
Postal Address:   PO Box 51008
Arthur's Pass 7654
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