Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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Darfield Dash

Darfield, Canterbury

Submitted by Renee Lyons

Last Updated: 21st Sep 2023


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I've done it Done


Grunt Factor: 5 ?

Gnarl Factor: 10 ?








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Trail Map

Type of Run

Urban fringe


Totally/mostly flat

Dog Friendly

Plantation/exotic forest

Run Makeup


Easy Single Track

Average Uphill Gradient: +0.7%

Average Downhill Gradient: -0.7%


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Estimated Times to Run







McHughs Forest park is a flat, single track on the outskirts of Darfield. There are a variety of tracks in the forest, the greatest being 5km, the inner loop being 3km. The loops are well sign posted, so you can mix and match, or loop back and forward to increase your running distance. There is a central wide, fine gravel track, which is suitable for running with a buggy, and the single tracks are suitable for a child riding a bike - ideal for parents who want to get a run in with kids!

This is a dog friendly and bike friendly track, and its not uncommon for a half dozen cars to be parked outside, but its unlikely you will be crowded.
There are plenty of piwakawaka to keep you company. There is a clear information board with trail map, public toilet, and water fountain at the carpark.

McHughs Forest Park site is a former plantation - there is a history/information board at the carpark.

If you know of any public toilets near the trail start or on the route, please login and then let us know so we can update this section.

Plenty of parking available.

2 km

3 minutes




Look for the track marker posts at any intersection, they are colour coded. The whole forest is only about 5km long and 3km wide so if you really loose your bearing you won't have to go far to get out!

Generally good.


Water fountain at carpark.

Boggy patches on track after prolonged or heavy rain.

Darfield Bakery
Main street
BEST pies in all of canterbury, and a donut filled with custard and salted caramel sauce....

Trail Legend


Regan Baxter

has completed Darfield Dash 14 times in the last year.

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Trail Reviews

Very pretty forest for old plantation. Great little leg stretcher while in the area.

Rebecca Sunderland

May 20, 2023

Great little loop in the shade of the trees.

Stefanie Parks

August 15, 2021

Nice respite from the sun, and a quick run to fire out if you have time to kill in Darfield. Fun enough, and a few trails to add some extra distance / time. Surprisingly quiet if you ask me!

Billy Powell

October 7, 2020

Good short loop, can be extended by adding in the MTB tracks and the tracks along each side of the forest, lots of fairy doors to keep the kids occupied.

Fiona Stechmann

March 14, 2020

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