Wild Things - New Zealand's trail running community
New Zealand's trail running community


don't have an account?

The Crater Rim, Canterbury

Trail Directory proudly supported by Further Faster

Update Your Header Picture

The Crater RimIntermediate

Submitted by Tony Sharpe

Info Info
Map Loading

Trail Information







Urban fringe

Point to Point (one way)

Undulating, some big hills

Native bush
Open tussock/grasslands
Open ridges/tops


6:00 (Slow)
4:30 (Moderate)
3:00 (Fast)



Download PDF Guide
View trail on Capra App

Fastest Known Times (FKTs)

Please set your gender to see your position on the FKT leaderboards.


Show more


Show more

Filter FKTs

The more , the harder the FKT will be to beat. Learn about Fastest Known Times.

Missing your time?

Register or login as a VIP and get yourself on the FKT leaderboard!

Register Now


What could be better than nearly 30km of end to end top of the hills trail goodness? Best run west to east as you start higher , and once you've decided on your drop off/ vehicle shuttle plan it's just you and the top of the hills for as far as the eye can see and the feet can eat. Harbour and ocean views on one side, the city and plains on the other and the constant expansive view out to the Southern Alps on any good day

The western end of the Crater Rim trail starts under Coopers Knob - itself a very worthy diversion especially for the trig baggers among you. The track nips in and out of patches of remnant native bush and open grasslands as you gain the first few km to the Sign of the Bellbird. Its an up and down undulating journey and there are some real gems as you wind your way along. There's a toilet at the Bellbird if needed down by the shelter. Maybe an hour or so in most will be getting close to the Sign of the Kiwi, where you can fuel up with some water or something from the shop.

Past the Kiwi and Dyers Pass ascend the slopes of Sugarloaf. If you feel like another frig you can head straight up and regain the Crater Rim Trail off its NE flank easily. Continue east over three more 'lumps" which are each enough vert to get the puffing levels back up, then you'll reach Mt Vernon and its rock strewn summit landscape - great spot for a photo or two.

Since the earthquakes some of the trail from Mt Vernon to Bridle Path has been rerouted to follow more closely the still closed Summit Rd Section, which is still open for bikes and feet between the top of Rapaki and Castle Rock. Which Hill and its awesome memorial seat are also worth a diversion just past Rapaki Rock. Make sure you pick the trail up over The Tors as there's some of the nicest trail of the whole day to follow here, especially the sweeping descent to the Bridle Path Summit.

Next stop is a quick ascent of Mt Cavendish, and past the Gondola Top Station- itself a handy stop for a snack, coffee or the loo. Another quick short decent gets to the saddle between Mt Cavendish and Mt Pleasant- up Mt Pleasant can be a bit sketchy to follow but if you lose the trail which does some longer loops to aid MTB's then just follow your nose to the mast and another trig at the summit.

Mt Pleasant to Evans Pass is aptly named, mainly downhill on steady gradient as you wing your away around the tops. The last section follows several moderately large hills out to Godley Head, the trail varies from moderately formed and well marked until towards the last couple of kms where recent upgrades have meant a really nice cruisy finish down past the bunkers to the gun emplacements and the playground that is Godley Head.

If you feel like a little extra for dessert add the Taylors Mistake and/or Scarborough sections to get you to Sumner, although the Godley Head carpark is the true end of the Crater Rim track

Trail Community

Find people who are interested in this run.

You must register or login to view this content.

Features of interest

Explore the length of the formerly volcanic Port Hills on the aptly named Crater Rim Track. You'll be on the crest of the hills virtually the whole way with commanding 360 degree views and superb trails to follow on this point to point icon of Christchurch's trail network.

Make Up of Run

Technical Single Track: 20%

Moderate Single Track: 50%

Easy Single Track: 30%

Route Data


You must register or login to view this content.

Overlapping Runs

The following trails overlap with this run 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 Strava activity for each

Godley Head loop

Godley Head loop

Length: 18.10km

Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)

Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)

Length: 50.30km

The Guv'nor & His Birds

The Guv'nor & His Birds

Length: 16.00km

Takahe Half

Takahe Half

Length: 21.10km

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'

Length: 20.10km

Bird to Bird

Bird to Bird

Length: 9.80km

The Governator

The Governator

Length: 9.85km


You must register or login to view this content.

Your Trail Wishlist

All the runs that are on your To Do list (no limit).

Add to wishlist view wishlist

Your Trail Dreamlist

The runs you most want to do (limited to 10).

Add to dreamlist view dreamlist

Wild Explorers

I did it!
  • Access

    Summit Road, Cattle Stop before the drop to Gebbies Pass.

    Given this is end to end a drop off or car shuffle is needed. Unless you want to go there and back!!

    19 km

    41 minutes



  • Staying Safe


    Make navigation of this route super-easy by using the Capra app on your phone. View on Capra .

    Just keep following the trails across the tops

    Generally good.

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

    Sign of the Kiwi and the Gondola

    Some sections muddy/ greasy after rain. It can be exposed and cool up here any time of year, but especially in winter so take appropriate warm and dry stuff to use.

    The odd sheep and a few boy racers on occasional crossings of the Summit Road

  • Post run indulgence

    Sumnmer has a few really nice cafe's and eateries.

  • Sponsor this trail

    If you are interested in learning about sponsorship opportunities, please get in touch below:


See other runs nearby:

Godley Head loop
Lyttelton to Diamond Harbour
Halswell and Kennedys
Summit Walkway
The Bowenvale Elevator
The Gorsetrack Strikes Back
Rapaki Sugarloaf Return
Sign Of The Takahe - Rapaki
Port Hills Nearly Half Marathon
Horse Longitudes
Horse Latitudes
Sumner Half Heads
Whigs' Flying Fifty (WFF)
VKV challenge
Banks Peninsula Ultra Beer Run
Bottle Lake Blue Loop
Gebbies to Packhorse Romp
Hagley Figure of 8
Bowenvale / Huntsbury Loop
Avon City Loops
Avon - Source to Surf
Okuti to Hilltop Amble
Gondola Gallop
Orton Bradley Loop
The ATH (Around The Harbour)
Lava - H.ELL Loop
Travis Wetland Loop
Punk Rock Assault On Windsor Castle
The Guv'nor & His Birds
Lava Lite
Takahe Half
North New Brighton Spit
Mt Pleasant Trig
God's Con - Rehab Road
Gang of Four
Dog Sniffing Rhythms - Harbour Crusin'
Trinity - Harbour Bruisin'
Gates Of The East
Hunting Out A Gorge-ous Loop
Lyttelton Dress Circle
A Diamond in the Rough
Port Hills Spur Challenge!
Up Hill Down Valley
The Coffee Run
Pour Some Sugarloaf On Me
Never Trust A Crocodile
Lyttelton Semi-Circle
Hagley Perimeter
Holliss Stairway to Heaven
Diamond, Herbert & Fitzgerald
Barnett Bunker Buster
The Pipeline of Pain
Mt Vernon Farm Track
Vicki Vale
Heathcote River Run - Opawa to Hoon Hay
Christchurch 360 Trail - Sugarloaf Hills Section
Little Learner Loop (Halswell Quarry)
Bird to Bird
Port Hills Protocol
O'Farrells For Shore
The Governator
Heathcote Meander
Spitting Distance
Montgomery Loop
Canterbury Agricultural Park Loop
2 Sugars, 2 Vernons & a Half Shot
Quail Island Looping
The Chairlift Choice
Tussock Hill Ridge
Mt Pleasant Elevator
McLeans Meander
Girdle the Groynes
Governator 2 - Judgement Day
Christchurch 360 Trail - Godley Cliffs Section
Westmorland Wetland Time Trial
Loopy in Siberia
The North Faces
Westmorland Hill Reps
360 Trail - Dunes Wetlands Section
Rocking Gibraltar
Dune Bugging
Hey Sisters!
Living Springs Loop
Springing Around Longhurst
Lady Isaac Loop
The Missing Link
Beer Bum Bluffs
Brooklands for the Birds.
Surf's Up!!!
Styx Pick Me Up
Orton Odyssey
Shoeing the Horse
Tauhinu-Korokio TKO
Double Top
Beginner's Adventure Park Loop
Boulder Dash
Clan of the Cave Runner
Taiora Track
Landfill Lark
Morgans Baa Baa Loop
Mary Had a Little Lamb
Horsing Around
Port Hills 8-Attack
Pinecone Pirate - Waitākiri/Bottle Lake Forest Park
Takahe to Taylors

Show all

Got a favourite trail? Tell us about it.

Share the love and add your favourite trail(s) to our growing trail directory.

Submit A Trail

Become a member today

Start enjoying the many benefits to becoming a member of our thriving community.

Become a member

Great brands at great prices with our VIP member's discount

Stay up to date

Sign up to our newsletter for latest offers and trail guides

Share this trail with a friend:

VIP Membership

Please register as a VIP or login to your VIP account to view this content.

Cancel Login Register

Membership Required

You can see up to three trail guides without being logged in but after that we require you to be logged in to your Free or VIP account. If you don’t yet have an account you can register here.

Login Register