This year's edition has been cancelled
Join White River 50 Mile Trail Run
The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest in Washington State extends more than 140 miles along the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains from the Canadian border to the northern boundary of Mt. Rainier National Park. The Forest covers portions of Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, King, and Pierce Counties. Proximity to Seattle and Vancouver, Canada, make the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest one of the most visited National Forests in the country. The Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest contains many scenic and historical points of interest. A colorful past history, including logging and mining, dominates some areas. Mountain tops gradually rise from 5,000 to 6,000 feet on the south end of the forest to 7,000 to 8,000 feet in the north. Two tall volcanoes, Mt. Baker and Glacier Peak, tower thousands of feet above the adjacent ridges. The Forest is home to more glaciers and snow fields than any other National Forest in the lower 48. The Forest is also rich in lakes, with about 800, mostly in alpine areas. Baker Lake, a 10-mile long reservoir near Mt. Baker, produces hydro power for local electric utilities and provides exceptional recreation opportunities.
One of the most challenging Ultra runs in the country, the White River 50 Mile is also one of the most scenic. Staged in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest just outside of Mount Rainier National Park, the course includes deep old growth forest, resplendent alpine meadows, wild river banks, gut wrenching cliff sides, and plenty of stunning views of 14,411-foot glacier covered Mount Rainier. Held on the last weekend in July, the run is also almost always blessed with sunny skies and pleasant temps. While this race’s length alone makes completing it a challenge, it’s the course’s sustained climbs and descents that really make it a tough run. Set in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, this race offers spectacular views. Like "The Mountain" itself, though, the race stands as an ultimate test of mental character and physical endurance. Over the 50-mile distance the race course rises and falls a staggering 8,700 feet (total elevation change: 17,400 feet). The race features rolling terrain, ridge tops, northwest forest, several sections of technical trails, and of course several demanding climbs and challenging descents.
The race course consists of two big loops with sustained climbs that total over 8,700 feet of elevation gain. The race begins from the Buck Creek Campground with a short jaunt along the adjacent air strip before heading out on the White River Trail through beautiful old growth forests. After about six miles of rolling terrain through cathedral forest, the course gets a little more interesting by heading up the Palisade Trail. Here the first big climb begins-and while much of it is on a decent grade-there is one section up a steep ravine utilizing a stairwell.
The course then breaks out of deep forest to run along the rim of the Palisade providing breathtaking views of Mount Rainier and Sun Top and vertigo inducing views of the White River Valley and the start line some 2,000 feet below. Then the course continues climbing to crest Little Ranger Peak before ascending some more, bursting out from the forest canopy to traverse meadows along Dalles Ridge. Here runners are granted a reprieve from climbing for the next several miles coasting along a mile high rolling ridgeline adorned with wildflowers and bear grass and exceptional views of Mount Rainier glistening in the background.
At mile 17 runners reach Corral Pass and then begin doubling back along the ridge before steeply descending via the Ranger Creek Trail. After a fast four mile descent runners head back to Buck Creek before beginning the second loop which involves an eight mile mostly up journey to 5,271-foot Sun Top Mountain. This is the make it or break it section of the race; for not only is the climb long but also the temperature is quite warm by this time. The course has a 13 hour time limit (14 hours if you take the early start) and runners must pass through the next several aid stations before designated cut off times lest they are removed from the course.
But for most runners who make it to flowered Sun Top at Mile 37, successfully finishing the race is usually within their reach. A mountaintop aid station staffed by enthusiastic volunteers under the gleaming watchful eye of Mount Rainier usually recharges race participants. That and the six mile descent down the graveled Sun Top road helps runners find their second wind before taking to the course’s final stretch on the Skookum Flats Trail.
The last six miles of the course along the roaring glacier fed White River however, are notorious for messing up many a participant’s pace. While all of the big climbs are over, more than a few runners falsely think the final stretch will be easy. It isn’t. Skookum Flats actually gains 500 feet and parts of the trail have runners hopping over roots and rocks. But for those participants who have trained well and still have plenty of fuel left in them-this section shouldn’t prove too difficult. And with plenty of old growth giants lining the way and the roaring White River alongside the trail, attention can easily be diverted away from any aches and pains!
Runners finish back at the Buck Creek Campground where they are met by cheering spectators and their fellow competitors. And whether you were the first across the line like three time winner Uli Steidl or the last to make the cut-off, all participants are treated liked champions. Most of the runners along with their family and friends hang out afterwards for the post race BBQ. And many head down to the White River for a dip to soothe aching muscles.
directions_runStart Address: Crystal Mountain,us
flagFinish Address: Crystal Mountain,us
This year's official event hotel and race headquarters is Crystal Mountain Hotels. Other lodging options are: Alta Crystal Resort, Park Center Hotel, Cedars Inn, & Whistlin' Jack Lodge.
Post-race BBQ & awards ceremony at the finish line.
The entire course is well-marked and the eight aid stations are well staffed with enthusiastic folks quick to fill water bottles and hydration packs and to help dispense food and electrolyte tablets.
A $2500 prize purse, donated by Scott Sports, will be divided among the top three overall male and female finishers as follows: $800 for 1st, $300 for 2nd, and $150 for 3rd. In addition, age-group awards will be given to the top three male and female finishers in each of the following categories: 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and up.
Pre - Pasta dinner / preliminary course briefing, ($20 per person) at Crystal Mountain Resort.
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