Last Updated: 10th Nov 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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Coal Pit Spur Loop

Castle Hill Village, Canterbury

Submitted by Katie Smith

Last Updated: 10th Nov 2023

Beginner - Intermediate

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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 21 ?

Gnarl Factor: 25 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Front country - easily accessible


Undulating, some big hills

Dog Friendly

Native bush

Plantation/exotic forest

Open tussock/grasslands

Run Makeup


Gravel Road

Easy Single Track

Technical Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +10.2%

Average Downhill Gradient: -10.2%


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Estimated Times to Run







Cross the creek right by the car park. Head up the track (Coal Pit Spur) which vaguely follows the pylons uphill initially and across an open scrubby area before dropping south into beech forest. Switchbacks take you down into the valley then up alongside a creek, before climbing up the other side with several more switchbacks. Its a long steady climb through beautiful beech forest.
After about 4km you reach the Craigieburn ski field gravel road. Turn right and head up here for about 500m until you see the DoC sign on the left heading back into the beech forest, signposted Lyndon Saddle.
Follow this track as it sidles up through the trees, then turn hard left at the junction just before the 6km mark, again signed Lyndon Saddle. Keep climbing gradually until you pop out on the saddle. From here the 10 minute detour up Helicopter Hill provides expansive views across the area.
From the saddle follow the track downhill towards the Craigieburn campsite. Just before you reach here keep left onto the Sidle 73 track.
This clubs briefly through beech forest before popping into pines. You then meet the ski field gravel road again - keep left and head uphill for 500m before meeting the track you arrived on - signposted to Coal Pit Spur.
From here follow the track back the same way to your car.

Views of Craigieburn forest park, beech forest.

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Plenty of parking, limited public transport.

13 km

11 minutes




Follow signage and you shouldn't get lost.

Very patchy.

Thermal leggings, Long-sleeved thermal top, Seam-sealed waterproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map

Several creeks are crossed along the way and are fine to drink from.

There is likely to be snow on many parts of the track through winter.

Most of these tracks are open to mountain bikes (mainly over the summer months) so beware.

Trail Legend

Katie Smith

Katie Smith

has completed Coal Pit Spur Loop twice in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

I renamed my loop as Cold Pit Spur due to a -1 deg temperature and frozen ice and snow conditions. The compulsory crossing of Craigieburn Stream took some courage!
A very satisfying loop with enough ups and downs and everything in between to keep it enjoyable.

Christian Couper

July 31, 2023

Either the recent rains have washed out the easier creek crossings or I'm a wimp! I didn't fancy getting cold wet feet midwinter so abandoned the start and tried again from the Craigiburn access road. After doing the helicopter hill in reverse to save the knees on the descent (and yes the detour to the summit is well worth it) tried going back along coal pit spur track but was stopped again by an even deeper, faster river crossing about 1km in.

Rebecca Sunderland

July 25, 2021

Great combo, always good to stretch out up Helicopter Hill too

Tony Sharpe

June 14, 2020

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Overlapping Trails

These overlap with this trail to some degree. You may wish to combine them but please note that to qualify for FKTs on these runs you should record a separate activity for each.

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