“The best singletrack race I have run anywhere.” – 2011 winner and course record holder Dave Mackey
The race begins and ends at Willamette Pass Ski Area, 70 miles southeast of Eugene, Oregon on Highway 58 at an elevation of 5120′. The course is mostly single-track trail with more than 11,000′ of elevation gain and equal amount of loss. There are 3 major climbs of more than 2000′ each and 2 minor climbs of more than 1000′ each. High point is 7818′ at the top of Maiden Peak. Low point is at Gold Lake, about 4900′.
Second half of the course is remote. From the Rd. 4290 (A6) aid station at 37 miles to the finish the course does not cross a road. Dropping out in that section will not make your life much easier. The last 3 aid stations have 1.5, 3.0, and 2.5 mile hikes out on trail, respectively.
The course is not easy.
We attribute this to the amount of single track, the length of the climbs, the altitude, and the length of the course.
The original course used for the first 5 years of the race was wheeled at 66.36 miles. In 2007, two changes were made to get the course down to 62.5 miles. The first was a new start. We now go straight up the ski area from the start. We follow the dirt ski area access road for a little less than 2 miles before hopping onto single track trail. The new trail is called the Skyline Trail, which was the original PCT, and follows Skyline Creek down to the Maiden Peak Trail. This is about 3 miles shorter than the old start. We reach the Gold Lake Aid Station in 7.4 miles instead of 10.4.
The second change took off about 1 mile and occurs in the second half of the course between the Rd 4290 and Twins aid stations. When we get to the Twins Trail, instead of going right and summitting the Twins, we now go left and straight down to the Twins Aid Station.
Start to Gold Lake (A1)
From ski area go up the road just southeast of the base of the Gondola. Follow this a few hundred yards where the road turns to the right. Continue up this road (the ski run Perseverence) for about 25 minutes of brisk walking when the road flattens and bends to the northwest. The road then heads straight north for few hundred yards. Take a right back into the woods and continue on this (Taits ski trail) for about 1/2 mile. Take a right onto single track at the Taits Trail sign. Go a few hundred yards downhill and make a left at the next trail junction. Follow this single track to Skyline Trail and take a left (the PCT is to the right). Follow this upper part of Skyline Trail to the bottom of the chair lift. Do not cross under the lift, but take a right across the ski run to the single track trail. Continue on the trail, which generally follows Skyline Creek down, until you reach the Maiden Peak Trail (#3681). Take a left and go downhill to Rd. 500. Take a right and follow road to aid station near campground.
Gold Lake (A1) to Fuji Mtn (A2)
Exit campground on Gold Lake Trail (#3677) at end of Rd 500. After less than 1/4 mile take a left on Fuji Mtn Trail (#3674). Cross the paved Waldo Lake Rd and continue on Fuji Mtn Trail to last junction before summit.
Fuji Mtn (A2) to Fuji Mtn (A2)
Run to summit of Fuji Mtn. and see Waldo Lake for the first time. Turnaround and go back down to the aid station.
Fuji Mtn (A2) to Mt Ray (A3)
Run back down to South Waldo Trail (#3586) and go north. Continue north until you hit the Ray Trail (#3682). Take a right and go down to Waldo Lake Rd.
Mt Ray (A3) to The Twins (A4)
Continue on trail across Waldo Lake Rd. to Gold Lake Trail (#3677). Go north on trail to Bobby Lake Trail (#3663). Take a right on Bobby Lake Trail and follow it to the PCT. Follow PCT north to junction of Twins Trail (#3595). [Note that there are two left turns from Bobby Lake Trail to stay on PCT north.]
The Twins (A4) to Charlton Lake (A5)
Continue north on PCT to Charlton Lake.
Charlton Lake (A5) to Rd 4290 (A6)
Take Lemish Lake Trail (#19) north past Rd. 4290 to Clover Meadow Trail (#21.1). Take a right and follow that trail back to Rd. 4290.
Rd 4290 (A6) to The Twins (A7)
Go south on Round Meadow Trail (Metolius Windigo #99) which becomes Trail 19 as it continues south to the Twins Trail (#3595). Take a left and go southwest down the Twins Trail (#3595) to the junction with the PCT.
The Twins (A7) to Maiden Peak (A8)
Go south on the PCT to Maiden Peak Trail (#3681).
Maiden Peak (A8) to Maiden Lake (A9)
Take Maiden Peak Trail (#3681) east to the summit. Can you identify all the lakes and peaks you can see from the summit? Where’s Waldo? From the summit go back down the trail you came up for only a couple of minutes until you see a big cairn and a Maiden Peak sign on a tree. Take a left on the faint Leap of Faith trail and follow the cairns, trail blazes, and pink ribbons down to the junction with the Maiden Lake Trail (#41).
Maiden Lake (A9) to Finish
Go west on Maiden Lake Trail (#41) to the PCT. Take PCT south back to ski area. This is an awesome downhill finish.