Course Description And Directions
START TO FRANCIS PEAK (MILE 0 to MILE 18.40)
From the start line, go past the green metal gate of East Mountain Wilderness Park and follow the dirt road north to the Bonneville Shoreline junction, where a blue fiber Bonneville Shoreline Trail (BST) sign marks the junction. Head uphill east on the BST, which climbs to the 5200 to 5300 terrace level of the Bonneville Shoreline trail and go north. The trail crosses the South Holmes Creek on a wooden bridge in Webb Canyon at mile 0.74. At mile 1.63 it crosses the wooden bridge over North Fork Holmes Creek in Adams Canyon. The trail skirts around a ridge and above a flat graded gravel site. Continue north staying up above the large home/ranch with pond. Find and follow a rough dirt road heading north. Soon you go right off the road onto a smaller trail. This trail crosses Snow Creek at mile 2.95 and then the South Fork of Kays Creek at mile 3.43. After the second stream crossing you drop into Fernwood Picnic grounds, mile 3.57.
The trail runs northeast uphill just as you get to the parking lot and around a horse stable above the "Castle Mansion", meets a firebreak road and shortly diverts up Kays Creek gully. The trail continues heading northeast through oak brush and maple trees staying on the eastern side of the stream. After crossing the Middle Fork of Kays Creek and climbing up to a saddle you slightly descend then head back uphill again. At mile 4.81 you depart from the Bonneville Shoreline Trail (which continues north) by turning right, then climbing eastward on the Great Western Trail. At about mile 8 the long climb levels out and heads south traversing along the hill and reaches Cool Springs at mile 8.82. The trail heads through the brush southwards climbing through some tall fir trees into the steep "bowl" below the ridge. This is Chinscraper and is the correct way. Once entering the base of the bowl observe carefully the yellow and red flagging. There are many ways up the bowl to the top but the safest and most used route stays to the right (west) side. PLEASE BE CAREFUL NOT TO DISLODGE ROCKS AND SEND THEM TUMBLING BELOW ONTO THE OTHER RUNNERS.
Once you have reached the ridge crest above the bowl (mile 9.45) traverse downhill slightly and south. The trail heads south and generally maintains the same approximate altitude between 9,000 and 9,200 feet. Follow the ribbons to Landis Spring (mile 10.40). The trail comes out onto a shoulder on the west slope of Thurston Peak. The trail now turns hard left and climbs uphill to the east for about 200 yards and then turns right, southeast. The trail continues traversing on the western facing slope below the main ridge until it drops into the big saddle ahead and climbs up. It goes to the left of the next peak and through another saddle and off the eastern side of the next peak. The trail drops downhill here and ends up on the western slope to climb west of the next peak. At times you will see Francis Peak Radar Domes to the south appearing as a huge "golf ball" looming over the hill as you travel southwards. This trail eventually climbs up to the end of a 4-wheel drive road and Grobben's Corner at mile 13.82. There is usually water brought up this spot on race day. Stay on this road and follow it south past the junction sign that says "Baer Creek" and "North Fork Line Creek." The road passes to the east of the radar domes at mile 14.63. This dirt road meets another much larger and smoother graveled road south of the domes. Go right downhill on this wide road several miles until you come to the road maintenance shed at mile 18.40; the Francis Peak Aid Station (mile 18.40).
FRANCIS PEAK TO BOUNTIFUL B (MILE 18.40 to MILE 23.82)
Upon leaving the maintenance-shed area, go southeast on the smaller dirt road, which follows the eastern side of the ridge. In about 0.75 miles this main dirt road gently climbs into a saddle and leaves the ridge (Gold Ridge, mile 19.19), continuing to the right (west) side of the ridge. (Do not take the recreation vehicle trail going up Gold Ridge). The dirt road continues south for about 1.4 miles where the road crosses a small stream (look out for large road ruts made by OHV's) and junctions with a road that goes south. This is called Watershed junction. Continue straight westward for 0.2 mile to Charlie's Corner, a junction at mile 20.65. Turn left and follow the rocky 4-wheel drive road to the south as it climbs up and descends across a meadow. Go down the road until it turns east towards the aspen trees. Just before the trees, the road heads east. Leave the road onto a rough trail straight ahead and down. The rough trail stays west of the intermittent stream drainage until it drops far enough down to cross the first stream in the Right Hand Fork of Arthurs Fork at 21.92 miles. Cross below the beaver ponds; head south and stay to the right of the stream. You soon can step across another small tributary stream coming in from the west. Continue downstream until the trail climbs uphill and leaves the stream. The trail climbs steeply up and turns west for a few hundred yards and then heads across another stream. It then climbs steeply up the north face of a heavily forested area of tall fir and aspen trees. There are two other short but tough climbs through several meadows and then it finally climbs to theBountiful B aid station at mile 23.82.
BOUNTIFUL B TO SESSIONS LIFT OFF (MILE 23.82 to MILE 28.16)
Head south from the Bountiful B checkpoint along the ridge road. It runs out onto the top of the ridge with large wide meadows. At times you will be able to see the valleys far below on either side of the ridge. It passes another OHV trail that heads to the west. The road eventually passes under tall spruce trees, crosses under some power lines, and heads south through some meadows on the ridge. The road twists, dropping southeast through the trees. The road becomes much rougher dropping very steeply down a hillside. Follow the road as it drops and rises until you near some tall white firs at an old campsite. This is the location of the "Sessions Lift-Off" Aid Station at mile 28.16.
SESSIONS LIFT OFF TO SWALLOW ROCKS (MILE 28.16 to MILE 34.62)
From the Sessions Lift Off, continue south down the rough road, which levels out into a meadow. Look for a Great Western Trail sign on the left. The trail makes a stiff climb through aspen and pine until it comes to the ridge top of the Sessions Hills (mile 29.34). In this section there are frequent rocky areas with loose rocks to negotiate. Once on the ridge, drop downhill eastward through the sagebrush on the very rocky trail to a big saddle between peaks (mile 29.84) and follow the rocky trail uphill to the east until the trail bends southeast becoming a better trail which stays mostly on the southwest facing sides. At the junction with the Grandview Peak trail (mile 31.28), go hard left and eastward, remaining on the trail along the ridge. Continue east until the trail suddenly drops steeply down to City Creek Pass (mile 32.90). Head uphill east again to a junction known as the Brink (mile 33.35). At the junction, continue straight ahead (don’t take the trail on the right), and climb up the hill and follow the trail as it contours under Swallow Rocks. The trail continues east and encounters a jeep road at the Swallow Rocks Aid Station mile 34.62.
SWALLOW ROCKS TO BIG MOUNTAIN PASS (MILE 34.62 to MILE 39.07)
Go from the aid station go east on the OHV road. Do not take any roads off this main ridge road. Continue eastward until at mile 36.57 you will come to a sagebrush-covered hill (Big Mt. Horse Trail Junction) where you leave the OHV road and take the Great Western Trail, which goes off uphill at an angle climbing to the right. DO NOT STAY ON THE ROAD! If you are looking at your feet at this point, you will get lost for a long time. On the Great Western Trail, climb a short distance and swing east and then head south on the western side of Big Mountain. It drops into a meadow and passes through some aspen stands eventually coming out of the trees where you can see an exposed bare hill ahead of you (to the south), named Inspiration Point. Follow the trail around this hill (mile 38.02) on the west side and then south side where it starts dropping generally southeast. The trail switchbacks and crosses the highway to arrive at the Big Mountain Aid Station (mile 39.07).
BIG MOUNTAIN TO ALEXANDER RIDGE (MILE 39.07 to MILE 46.90)
From the Big Mountain Aid Station, the trail begins on the eastern side of the parking lot. It climbs southeast eventually turning south along the ridge top. Yellow painted splotches on trees and signs indicate East Canyon Resort property, which will be on your left side as you head south. Drop into a valley called Mule's Ear Meadow at 40.75 and proceed on into the forest ahead. Bald Mountain is at mile 42.46. Continue south paralleling a private road until you reach Pence Point at mile 43.99. Turn right here, and do not continue on a trail straight ahead. DO NOT CONTINUE STRAIGHT AHEAD! If you are looking at your feet at this point, you will get lost for a long time. The trail, now heading west, winds along the ridge tops through the oak brush. You will find the trail to be steep in places (Baugh Bearing Hill, mile 44.31) with loose round rocks. Be careful. After many up and down hills crossing the ridge, you descend past a grassy buried pipeline route, onto a flat under power lines. On race day this is the location of the Alexander Ridge Aid Station (mile 46.89).
Special note: The section from Big Mountain to Lambs Canyon takes 3 to 5 hours. It will feel cooler out of Bald Mountain because there is some shade. However, a few miles out, the trail becomes difficult as you run on ball-bearing size loose rocks. Exposure to the sun may become severe with temperatures sometimes above 100 F. The hot sun reflects off the light colored soil and can bake everyone in the Alexander Springs area and in the descent down to Lamb's. CARRY MORE WATER THAN YOU THINK YOU WILL NEED ON SUNNY DAYS. Dehydration strikes hard. Nausea runs rampant. Wear a hat, a loose neck bandana, and keep them wet. Take a flashlight if there is any chance of finishing this section after 7 PM.
ALEXANDER RIDGE TO LAMBS CANYON (MILE 46.90 to MILE 52.48)
From the Alexander Ridge aid station, head east along the up and down grassy rolling hills to Alexander Springs at mile 47.97; a wet boggy area with pipelines and several utility right-of-ways. There is drinkable water from a spring flowing out of a pipe a hundred yards south of the Sheep Trail road in this area. Continue uphill, east on this very grassy path to a fork and veer right. The old grassy road you are on will have metal posts marking right-of-way. Keep track of the power lines to the south of this road. After they have crossed to the north overhead, look for them to cross back over to the south of the trail, which is about two miles up from Alexander Springs. This is where you take a sharp, sudden turn to the right and leave the road. This is Rogers Trail Junction at mile 49.52. DO NOT STAY ON THE ROAD! If you are looking at your feet at this point, you will get lost for a long time.
This section of the trail after the junction climbs through very heavy brush. Go over the top of the gentle ridge (Rogers Saddle, Mile 49.77) and drop south to the other side eventually coming to the railroad bed (mile 50.15) where you turn right. Follow it all the way down to the Parleys Creek causeway crossing over the stream. If you come to an oiled road, turn back and look for the trail and follow the old railroad bed. It drops gently on a long switch back down to Parleys Creek where it crosses an earthen causeway to the north side. The trail cuts to the right off the road and heads west down paralleling a frontage road but hid by thick oak brush. It follows under some power lines for a while and cuts down abruptly crossing the small stream, and continues downstream on the northern side passing the Beaver Ponds at mile 51.89. Look for the sudden left turn across the stream again and climb up the hill onto the dirt road and go southward to the Lambs Canyon Checkpoint (mile 52.48).
LAMBS CANYON TO UPPER BIG WATER (MILE 52.48 to MILE 60.95)
Runners take 2 to 3.5 hours to go from Lamb's to Upper Big Water. Temperatures will cool down as you gain altitude and reach the forests and canyons. The climb up Lamb's gains 1500 feet in 2.1 miles. Most runners will need flashlights through this section and warmer clothing. Dehydration and altitude make a dangerous combination so take precautions.
From Lambs Canyon aid station, pass under the freeway and go 1.7 miles up Lambs Canyon to the trailhead (mile 54.13) where there is a small parking area with rest room. (If you stay on the road, you will come to some cabins, and have gone too far). The trail drops off the right side of the road and crosses the stream. The trail climbs southwest up the ridge between the two canyons taking a very big switchback before it reaches the top. When you cross over the top of the divide (Bear Bottom Pass, mile 56.18), continue downhill making several switchbacks and turn left (downward) at the Mount Aire Trail fork junction. In about a quarter mile you will come to the Millcreek Canyon paved road (mile 57.89). Turn left and go up the road. Be careful of cars in this canyon, especially in the dark. The road is very narrow with many blind corners. Go up the road for 3.1 miles to Upper Big Water Aid Station (mile 60.95).
UPPER BIG WATER TO DESOLATION LAKE (Mile 60.95 to Mile 66.02)
Runners take 1.2 to 2.5 hours from Upper Big Water to Desolation Lake. The trail is broad and quite an improvement over the previous trails. It is easier and faster. The course leaves the Upper Big Water Aid Station on a trail on the south side. In about 1/4 mile this trail joins the trail coming up from the Lower Big Water parking lot. At this intersection (mile 61.22) keep going uphill and follow this gently switching wide trail. In one mile is a wooden bridge, cross it and stay on the main trail. In about 2 miles is a trail junction (mile 62.23). Bear right on this trail continuing straight towards Dog Lake (named for water dogs or salamanders). Stay on the main trail until you reach a trail junction at mile 63.36, and turn right and uphill to a second junction in 0.2 miles that has a sign indicating you are now on the Desolation Trail (mile 63.65). Bear left, go downhill 0.1 mile to Dog Lake. Stay left of the lake and on the obvious trail heading steeply downhill to the east. In 0.6 miles the trail divides at a trail junction, Blunder Fork (mile 64.31). Take the left fork going back uphill directing you to Desolation Lake. In 1.7 miles you cross over a ridge and descend into the bowl containing Desolation Lake and the Desolation Lake Aid Station (mile 66.02). This aid station is back country and will have limited food.
DESOLATION LAKE TO SCOTTS PEAK (Mile 66.02 to Mile 69.94)
After a steep climb up from the Desolation Lake aid station to "Red Lovers Ridge" (mile 66.68) you reach the main ridge of the Wasatch Range (9900 feet elevation). Turn right (south) at the trail junction on the ridge and continue southwards as it climbs up staying mainly on the southwest side of the ridge. Runners can make better time as the trail hovers around 9500 to 10,000 feet. The lights of Park City, Brighton, and Salt Lake City can be seen at night up on the higher vantage points. The trail becomes a primitive road about a mile before the Scotts Peak Aid Station (mile 69.94).
SCOTTS PEAK TO BRIGHTON (Mile 69.94 to Mile 74.63)
Leaving Scotts Peak aid station, the trail then traverses around Scotts Peak (with cell phone towers and buildings beside the trail) and then descends a very steep dirt road (called Puke Hill) to Scotts Pass (mile 71.15). From Scotts Pass take the main dirt road continuing down to the west. The road laterals around on the northwestern side of the forested slope for about a mile when you arrive at a metal gate, which you go around. Just beyond the gate is the junction with the paved Guardsman Pass road called Sleepy Hollow Junction (mile 71.89). Go downhill on the paved road until you finally reach the junction with the main highway to Brighton (mile 73.82). Turn left at the highway and go up the road a quarter mile up to the Brighton loop road (where the Brighton Store is located). At the loop, go left against vehicle traffic and follow the loop road around to its south end. Go through the parking lot between the Brighton Center building and the maintenance building, and look to the south west for the brown, wooden A-frame building which is Brighton Aid Station (mile 74.63).
BRIGHTON TO ANT KNOLLS (MILE 74.63 to MILE 79.14)
Coming out of the Brighton Aid Station, go down the stairs and go straight ahead to the Lake Mary/Catherine Pass trail head sign intersecting the gravel trail and turn right. Follow the gravel trail uphill between the Brighton Snowboard/Ski School building (on the left) and a large pine tree (on the right) until you come to a road with a green gate on the opposite side. Don't go through the gate, but take the trail across the road to the right of the green gate between the large logs. Continue uphill on this trail as it heads southeast and switchbacks up underneath the ski lifts in broad open uphill meadows. In about 2/3rd mile the trail skirts around a granite outcrop where it bends to the right and flattens out. It then climbs a bit until you reach a wooden sign that says "trail" with an arrow pointing to the right into the trees.
Continue south uphill to the Dog Lake Junction continuing straight and over a wooden bridge just past the junction. The Twin Lakes junction is a couple of hundred feet past that at mile 75.51. Pass by that junction and continue climbing on a very rocky trail with granite boulders. Climb up the trail to the dam just below Mary Lake and the lake edge and follow the main trail going left. Continue on this trail as it climbs south uphill past Lake Martha on your right. It switchbacks to an overlook above Dog Lake and continues up to the Lake Catherine trail junction sign at mile 76.64. Pass by that junction and follow the trail up to the ridge west and above Lake Catherine to Catherine Pass (mile 77.09).
The trail splits here; one trail going west, downhill to Albion Basin (do not take this trail) and the correct trail going south, uphill. Take the uphill trail southward as it climbs and switchbacks onto a very sandy area (the "Beach") short of the crest of the range. At mile 77.34 you crest the highest point of the course, Sunset Pass (aka Point Supreme, 10,467 feet). The trail goes over the crest and drops down into the Dry Fork drainage through some firs on the south side of the range and proceeds in a southeast direction on a rocky trail. It is also marked "Great Western Trail." It then again drops steeply, twisting through meadows on very rocky trails eventually dropping down an excruciatingly steep jeep road with loose rocks. The jeep road soon drops to the trail junction of trail #157 on your left. This is the location of the Ant Knolls aid station (mile 79.14).
ANT KNOLLS TO POLE LINE PASS (MILE 79.14 to MILE 82.31)
Leaving the Ant Knolls Aid Station, take the trail east, climb up the "grunt" to the ridge top, at mile 79.66, and turn right and head south. The trail traverses around the Ant Knolls through stands of aspen trees heading south. The trail splits at Goblins Corner mile 80.11 where you traverse, bearing right. Do not go to the left and head uphill along the ridge. Past this split, continue to traverse the west side of the ridge for one mile. Then, in about a mile, the trail crosses over to the east side of the ridge for another half mile until the trail zigzags down the mountain for 0.7 miles and ends up at Pole Line Pass (mile 82.31).
POLE LINE PASS TO STATON NORTH AID STATION (Mile 82.31 to Mile 87.3)
From Pole Line Pass remain on Trail #157 for 0.6 of a mile to the Sandy Baker Pass Junction. Turn Left and head down (East) for another 0.6 of a mile. This takes you to Pot Hollow Junction Trail #37. Go left again descending past Ruminant Spring at mile 83.99 to the Pot Hollow Trail Head (this is the old Pot Bottom Aid Station area) mile 85.1. From the Pot Hollow Trail Head go left and then bear right at the next junction and go up the old jeep road for 1.3 miles to Lower Old Goat Junction on the Cummings Park way Road, mile 86.4. On Cummings Parkway, turn right and go 0.9 of a mile to the Staton North Aid Station; this is mile 87.3. (Please note that runner crews are NOT allowed on Cummings Parkway).
STATON NORTH AID SATION TO DECKER CANYON AID STATION (Mile 87.3 to 93.9)
From Staton North Aid Station continue on Cummings Parkway mostly traveling due South. Pass by Cummings Junction at mile 90.00. Note that this junction was the site of the 2013 Staton Cutt Off aid station. Do not take any turns that take you off the ridge, but proceed South until the trail switchbacks down the South face of the ridge to reach the Cascade Springs dirt road called The Top of the Wall, mile 91.7. This is the dirt road that goes from Midway to Cascade Springs. This location is designated as your last "pacer exchange point." (Please note that this is NOT to be used as a runner crew point...only as a pacer exchange point). This will be the last opportunity for a pacer exchange until 0.6 of a mile from the finish. Continue South crossing the Cascade Spring Road on an OHV trail for 0.3 of a mile to Joan's Junction, mile 92.0. At this point Joan's Trail leaves the OHV trail and turns to the left (East) down to Decker Canyon. In 1.9 miles you will come to the Decker Canyon Aid Station, mile 93.9.
DECKER CANYON AID STATION TO THE FINISH (Mile 93.9 to Mile 100)
From the Decker Canyon Aid Station continue down Decker Canyon going South out to the mouth of the canyon where it meets the Deer Creek Parkway Trail. Go left (East and North) around Deer Creek Reservoir for 5 miles on the Parkway Trail. You will exit the trail at the bottom of Soldier Hollow Pavilion; continue through the small parking lot to the main road going up to the Pavilion. Run alongside the road for 0.6 of a mile to the Finish Line.
CONGRATULATIONS!!! WELCOME TO THE FINISH AT THE WASATCH MOUNTAIN STATE PARK SOLDIER HOLLOW PAVILION!