Hi team, Sam here from Frontrunner Colombo coming at you from Lockdown 2021 with Top 3's Trail Blog. Here are some of my favourite trails around Christchurch that you may not have done and that we can all look forward to.
Today's topic: Long Runs
#1) Crater Rim- Southern End.
My favourite piece of trail on the Port Hills. Mostly runnable single track with heaps of variety: tussock and grassy tops, pockets of remnant bush and rocky volcanic outcrops. This trail is also included in the 30km,53km and 83km Crater Rim events so get out there and check it out.
Starting from the Sign of the Kiwi join the Crater Rim trail and head south. You'll be treated to fantastic views down Lyttelton Harbour, across the Canterbury Plains to the Alps and across Lake Ellesmere to the Pacific.
The trail is 8.6km to the far end of the Crater Rim, so just over 17km return with plenty of options to add a bit of extra vertical or km by adding the summits of Marleys Hill, Trig V, Mt Ada or Coopers Knob en route, or Harry Ell track.
You'll definitely want some trail shoes here. Mostly grassy single track with a couple of technical rocky sections, you'll want to be confident in what you're wearing especially if it's been wet. While your cushioning and fit requirements will vary I'd look to the Hoka Torrent 2, Salomon Sense Ride 4, Scott Kinabalu Ultra RC and Saucony Peregrine to provide a good mix of traction and cushioning in all conditions. Come summer and some dryer trails I'm fizzing to see what the NorthFace Vectiv, Hoka Zinal and Salomon Pulsar can do.
#2) Godley Head
The classic Christchurch trail loop. Runnable grades, mostly all-weather trails, clifftop views and options aplenty to make a longer or shorter loop. For a shorter loop option start from Taylors Mistake car-park and join the trail at the end of the beach. 4km to the gun emplacements on Godley Head. Due to the far end currently being inaccessible due to asbestos (we hope it is open again soon) you'll find yourself detoured up to the summit road. From here you can return the way you came or, follow the bike trail below the Summit Rd to Breezes Col and descend the trail here back to Taylors Mistake or, cross the road and pick up either the bike trail above it or the Crater Rim trail on the Harbourside. I'd go to the Crater Rim again for some great single track along the cliffs and you can follow this, or the mountain bike trail, all the way to Evans Pass. For a longer loop descend from Evans pass into Sumner on Captain Thomas Track and briefly follow some suburban streets down to the Esplanade before picking up the steep, paved Flowers Track over the top of Scarborough and from Nicholson Park the trail back to Godley Head. Around 18km at the moment for the longer loop depending on which combination of trails you combo up.
Road shoes are fine year-round for the first section of this trail. If you're going out and it's been wet or you're going to do a bit more of the single trail then consider a trail or hybrid road/trail shoe. A perfect spot for the Hoka Challenger ATR.
#3) Mt Herbert/Sign of the Packhorse/Te Ara Pataka
While the entire Te Ara Pataka is 35km (Summit Walkway) one way from Gebbies Pass to the Hilltop it is accessible from several points to allow for shorter out and back or loop runs. At 919m Mt Herbert is the highest point on Banks Peninsula and offers a less steep and technical climb than the Canterbury foothills for those needing some big hills to train on for upcoming trail events. Once on top, you have several kilometers of single track along tussocky tops with views across Banks Peninsula and down its many harbours, how good?
There are a couple of rocky and bushy technical spots (behind Mt Bradley and through Montgomery Reserve) otherwise you are treated to lots of grassy singletracks. Scott Supatrac RC 2.0 or Salomon Speedcross 4 would be ideal in the wet as this grass becomes especially slick so think masses of traction. Through summer think of any trail shoe that has some traction and enough cushioning for how long you intend to be on your feet.
Several parts of the walkway can be closed through spring for lambing but will reopen mid-October just in time for Crater Rim Ultra.
#1) Bottle Lake Forest- heaps of options for forest road or trail
#2) Broad Park to the Waimakariri River return- 24km half-hard pack trail, half a bit softer mud/sand, has the option to return along the beach
#3) The rest of crater rim- awesome trails, multiple access points, views left and right
Enjoy guys, hope this helps!