It is a very challenging, difficult and scenic loop course through the Wasatch Mountains above Provo, Utah. The trail will be marked. It consists of – dirt trails (43%), dirt roads (38%) and some paved (19%). The paved sections are: The first 2.1 miles from the start at Vivian Park down the Provo River Trail to the first Aid Station. Then at the 22.7 mile mark, for 3.7 miles when you come out onto the Hobble Creek Road, and the last 3.7 down to the finish.
There is over 14,000+/- ft. of elevation gain and loss, with 5 major climbs varying from 1100 ft to nearly 3000 ft. The first starts at mile 2.1. A series of climbs takes you up 2700 ft. over 5 miles to an overlook of Squaw Peak. Check out the Trail Map and Course Elevation Profile page to see what the course looks like. The last and most difficult climb takes you from the top of Berryport Canyon, to the high point of the course just before and above Windy Pass at about 9300 ft. Depending upon which topographical map you look at there are two different trails in this section. On the 7.5 minute series (1:24000) the trail around peak x9297 goes around to the north. Both 30X60 minute series (1:100,000) maps I have used, show the trail going across the south face of peak x2834 (meters). The one on the south side is the trail we use on Race day by which time there should be little if any snow on this side, as you approach the high point of the course about a mile before Windy Pass. From here the course drops almost 4000 ft over the next 9+ miles back to the Finish at Vivian Park.
*NOTE*There can be sections of the course that are covered with snow. At about mile 11 after passing Rock Canyon, for about 2+ miles and then the section’s on and off approaching Windy Pass (’9000) for about 4 miles and the next 2 after the pass. About a mile after coming off the pass there are a couple of areas where you cross the snow that are fairly steep and can be unnerving for some people. In ’99 we put up a rope across these 2 short sections to provide safety and security for those that needed it. And it paid off, even this years winner took a spill and the rope stopped his slide, which by the way, would be a shortcut. I told him afterwards “if he hadn’t have been flying across it he might not have slipped!” Anyway, those of us that are used to these conditions, as one women runner put it after the ’98 race, …”you runners that run up here all the time probably don’t even think twice about crossing stuff like that…” The figures given, of course, are approximate and will vary depending upon our winter. Our first 2 years were El Nino winters with a lot of snow. The ’99 run was a more normal snow year. The runners who had run in ’98 and then again in ’99, had a finishing time that was on an average over an hour faster. The 2000 race, the times again went down as there was literally only about 30 steps of snow up around the Windy Pass area. The snow was the same for the 2001 and 2002 races, with very little snow and new course records for both the men and women. IN 2004 there were only about 15 steps of snow but 2005 was a different beast with the most the course has ever seen with nearly 10 miles of the white stuff. And most of you know what happened IN 2011 with almost 25 miles of snow still on the course (looking somewhat similar to the picture below) and 2 roads washed out to 2 aid station I has to come with a alternate course. Which actually turned out to be a harder course that the original. Hopefully we won’t have to do that for another 15 years!!!!!