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Lava - H.ELL Loop, Canterbury

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Lava - H.ELL LoopIntermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info

Trail Information

10.30km

530m

530m

 

Canterbury

Christchurch

Urban fringe

Loop

Very hilly

Native bush
Plantation/exotic forest
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops
Volcanic

Intermediate

2:00 (Slow)
1:30 (Moderate)
1:00 (Fast)

-12.9%

+13.7%

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Description

NOTE: As at Jan 2020 the lower section of the Lava Flow Track has been rerouted a spur to the NW, it is obvious when going down but if approaching from the valley floor take the earlier bridge that connects the Hidden Valley Track and head up the new section. The old bit is still there, but is no longer maintained.

This one is for the technical uphill junkies. It is a steady slow climb for the first 1km up the Bowenvale Valley Track to get your blood following. Carry on up valley, past the East Side Bush and Hidden Bush turnoffs, before reaching the foot to the Lava Track. This is a shared use MTB/ Foot track, be very aware, serious downhill riders will be hurtling down here at death defying speeds as you head up. Best not wear headphones.

Once onto the Lava Track, the hard work begins as you slog your way up a very steep 1km to reach the crest of the hill under the Summit Road. Did we mention this is steep? You'll have very quickly nabbed over 400m of vertical already. But don't get too relaxed, you aren't done with the steep up bits just yet, the last short slog up Sugarloaf awaits.

From the top of the Lava Trail hook onto the shared use trail that runs under the Summit Road and stretch those legs for 1km of undulating trail heaven. Watch for MTB's again, they have right of way on this stretch too. After a bit, cross the Summit Road at the obvious turnoff before the Sugarloaf and ascend a small rocky knob beside the Crater Rim Trail. Jump over the stile and head straight up to the transmission tower on Sugarloaf summit and take a moment to enjoy the views.

From Sugarloaf head down the access road and on to to the Sign of the Kiwi via the Crater Rim Trail and cross over to the Harry Ell Track for a nice fast section of slight downhill on big wide trails. Halfway down Harry Ell, just before you hit the access road to Victoria Park, a side trail veers off uphill. Take this up to a major junction of trails and jump onto the Latters Spur track into the bush. A short way along there is another junction where you turn right and head down East Side Bush track through the forest on some sweet sweet trails back down to the valley floor. Here you will regain familiar territory on the Bowenvale Valley track and unwind the last 1km back to the car park.

Then head to Brickworks or Protocol bars for a hard earned refreshment!


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Features of interest

Run up one of the steeper trails on the Port Hills and then enjoy the benefits of the great views on the top section.

Discover the historic Harry Ell track on the way back down, and the infamous East Side Bush track where the Heavenly Creatures murder took place.


Make Up of Run

Untracked / Route only: 5%

Technical Single Track: 40%

Moderate Single Track: 20%

Easy Single Track: 35%


Route Data

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Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Access from the end of Bowenvale Ave.

    Carparking at the end of Bowenvale Ave.

    7 km

    15 minutes

    No

    No

  • Staying Safe

    Moderate.

    Take the map or GPX as theres a few trail junctions to pass or take along the way.

    Perfect throughout.

    Lightweight fleece top, Long-sleeved thermal top, Windproof jacket, Gloves, Beanie/thermal headwear, Whistle, First aid kit, Extra food for emergencies, Cellphone, Map.

    Water available at Sign of the Kiwi and Victoria Park area.

    After rain it can get greasy. You'll want something grippy then, but in the dry most shoes will work fine .

    As mentioned, beware of the odd highly advanced downhill bike rider on the Lava Trail. You'll hear them before you see them!

  • Post run indulgence

    Brickworks
    Centaurus Rd
    Good food and beer

    Protocol (used to be called Elevate- how appropriate)
    Bottom of Dyers Pass Road
    Good food and ales

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