50K course maps & description
Mile 0-4 — First mile is a short jaunt over the Susquehanna River via Hyner Bridge. Get warmed up as you pass Huff Run and continue on to Cliffhanger — an old fire line trail along the cliffs following the river. Cliffhanger Trail is semi-flat but narrows at points, so be careful in passing. Progression may be slower here until the first hill, but use this time to get warmed up and conserve your energy. You're going to need it later!! A steep climb of a mile or so in length will take runners/hikers up to Hyner View, one of PA’s finest vistas. There will be an aid station as well as some bathrooms. Enjoy the view!!
Mile 4-5.5 — Follow the Hyner View Trail downhill along several switchbacks to the sweet running section of Reichert Hollow. This is a great section to make up time from the previous nasty climb up to the View. There are no leaves on the trees in April so take in the scenery. The footing is fast and sure.
Mile 5.5 to 12 — At the Split, runners will cross Johnson Run and get onto the Donut Hole Trail. This newly built trail, which runs parallel to Johnson, will take runners to the infamous Sledgehammer. This will be a mile of non-stop climbing in which runners will gain over 1,000 feet in just one mile. Once on top, there is an aid station manned by Clinton County Search and Rescue. Runners will then take the Pipeline Trail which offers some nice soft terrain for almost 1.5 miles. This trail travels south and brings you out to an awesome vista overlooking the river. Take a moment to see the second best view in the area!!! We named the vista after fellow Trail Dog, Bob Farley. Runners will leave Farley Vista and descend through a winding trail into the top of Bear Pen Hollow. This trail cuts backs north as it follows an old logging trail for about a mile and a half to a water station.
Mile 12-14 — Very important. The next aid station is over 6 miles away. It will feel like 10 miles on race day. Make sure to grab some water here. It's not a full aid station but will have water, Gatorade, and gels. Bear Pen Trail is a 2-mile downhill in which runners can make up some time. After making a turn at the last switchback out of Bear Pen, runners will descend a steep fire line trail down into Ritchie Run. A quiet run is quickly interrupted by the sounds of the raging stream below.
Mile 14-17 — Runners will now start the journey through the remote Ritchie Run. Its a 3-mile grind up through the hollow with stream crossings around every corner. Runners will encounter waterfalls aplenty as they wind their way through this section. Unless we have a severe drought in the spring, feet are going to be wet!!! It’s Johnson Run's little brother. A mile shorter, but just as technical and beautiful. The last half mile follows an old log flume to the top of the mountain.
Mile 17-18 — Runners will follow a logging trail out to Sugar Camp Road. Cross the road for a few hundred more yards to the Camp Trail. Camp Trail veers off to the left and follows a single track path through the Chestnut Orchard for a few hundred yards. This trail is easy on the feet and will meander through some dense forest and bring runners out to the West Branch Nature Conservancy Camp. This camp was built in the early 1930's by the CCC men. The camp will host a full aid station with bathrooms and a place to warm up around the fire.
Mile 18-21 — Runners will leave this aid station and follow the trail for about a mile to the TNC Kiosk. Runners will then turn left and follow the forest road out to the top of Middle Mountain where they'll come across the aid station from mile 8. No worries, all runners will already be through and you'll get some payback as you run down Sledgehammer. The quads will most certainly be screaming at this point. A the bottom of Sledgehammer, runners will be reunited with the 25k course on Johnson Run where they exited 14 miles earlier.
Mile 21-24 — Johnson Run Trail is another Huff Run, only a mile longer! The first section will climb along the side of the mountain on a 16-inch path to avoid the spring run-offs. You will be surrounded by tall hardwoods. After you drop back down onto Johnson Run, white pine and hemlocks will give you some cover from the sun in case of a warm day. This trail is remote as it follows the stream the entire way. Larger crossings make use of a few natural log bridges. In other places, stepping stones are abundant. Be prepared to get your feet wet. It’s a gut-check to get to the top of this trail. Make sure you utilize checkpoint #1 because there will be no support in this gorge. Put your head down and chop up this beast. The steepest section is at the end — a section called "Psycho Path".
Mile 24-27 — Johnson Run ends with a meandering path that brings you out to a gravel forest road which you cross to get to the head of Post Draft Hollow. There will be a much needed water/food station here. If you feel cramped up, take a few minutes to get some fluids, salt, and rest. Post Draft is a side-hill trail that traverses the mountain down to the base of the hollow. Enjoy the relaxing run before taking a hard left and start up the infamous “Cleveland Hollow”. This trail known as the GARBY Trail, offers some grinding switchbacks and great views of the area, but you’ll be thankful that it’s near the end. It is a grueling climb that will drain the last drop of energy from you. Near the top is a kicker called the S.O.B. (We call it a “challenge” for a reason.) Be careful as you go up S.O.B..... Potato sized rocks often tumble down from contestants above. Also, on a warm day, watch out for the local critters!!! Once on top, enjoy getting your legs back as you have a nice smooth 1-mile run around the horseshoe to the checkpoint.
Mile 27-Finish — First, get a drink from the third and last water station. Leaving Cleveland Hollow, contestants will travel through thick mountain laurel via the Spring Trail. We’re giving you a chance for some payback when you get to the last leg. Gravity will win this battle as you tear down Huff Run. Be careful.... tired legs may just land you on the floor of the forest with some dirt sticking to your front teeth. Not to worry, it is all downhill to the bottom and a short (feels like 10 miles) sprint over Hyner Bridge to the finish line. Make sure to follow the orange flags after the bridge to the finish chute. Sorry to tell you, but there is one more small hill to the finish!! Enjoy the course!!!
After you're done, relax and recover with some good food and beverages, and share your war stories with your fellow trailrunners.