Sierra Crest Ultra Run Course Preview

Photo: Janelle Potvin

Fully supported trail run from Truckee to Donner Summit crossing the Sierra Crest!

Topping out at an elevation of 7,056 Donner Summit experiences heavy snow, blizzard conditions and mud slides in the winter although it can snow any month of the year. This part of the Sierra Nevada is named after the infamous Donner Party, early pioneers forced to camp at Donner Lake for the winter because the pass was buried in snow.

Now is your chance to explore this historically treacherous part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California on a fully supported trail run with majestic views of wildflowers, mountain meadows, pristine alpine lakes, and stunning vistas!

Sierra Crest Ultra Run – Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Sierra Crest Ultra Run is a fun and accessible trail run for all levels and abilities of runners. There are three distances so everyone can enjoy the views and participate. This race is also a great way to fit in a family vacation or trip with friends to Lake Tahoe.

Sierra Crest 50k

The 50k Ultra run is perfect for someone who has run a few 10k or 30k trail races and is interested in trying out their first ultra run or someone who has run a few 50k ultra runs and is looking to do another with epic scenery and super friendly, well stocked aid stations. This course provides a challenge with 4,660 feet of uphill climbing, 4,125 feet of descending and traverses some of the most picturesque terrain in the Northern Sierra making it less painful.

Sierra Crest 30k

The 30k run is for anyone who loves running, has done a 5k or 10k race and is looking for a scenic mountain run. The Sierra Crest Ultra has stunning views and flowing trails on dirt and granite. The 30k has 3,493 feet of uphill climbing and 2,948 feet of descending while crossing the Sierra Crest and some of the best single track trails in Truckee.

Course Preview

The run crosses 4 different trail systems that I’ll outline here and link to maps so you can check it out and get excited to join us for Sierra Crest Ultra Run!

Tahoe Donner Trails

The race starts at the Tahoe Donner Adventure Center, a trailhead for summer hiking and biking and winter nordic skiing. 50k runners will start on rolling terrain gradually winding downhill to the Euer Valley while enjoying spectacular views of mountain meadows, flowing streams and the surrounding mountains. 30k runners start with a tour around the front side of the Tahoe Donner Trails and meet up with 50k runners on the climb to Donner Ridge where everyone is rewarded with views of Donner Lake, Donner Summit, Highway 80 and the Sierra Crest.

There is a fully stocked aid station before the climb where you can hydrate, fuel up, change out gear and get everything you need take care of by friendly, helpful and experienced volunteers.

Here are some images from this section of trail –

Fully stocked Aid Stations along the way!

Check out the Tahoe Donner Trail Map to get a feel for the terrain. There are over 60 miles of trails for all levels that you can run, hike and bike that also link up to other trails making the possibilities endless.

Click here to read about the trails and download a map

Johnson Canyon

After cresting the Tahoe Donner trails, runners will begin their tour down and up Johnson Canyon. It’s a little over 2 miles down to the turnaround point at the bottom on a single track trail that switchbacks through patches of wildflowers, over granite rocks and around an alpine stream with views looking out at Castle Peak, the Sierra Crest, Sugar Bowl, Donner Summit and Highway 80 snaking its way through the mountains. There will be another fully stocked aid station at the bottom of the canyon so you can fuel up, see family and friends, and hydrate before heading uphill again.

Donner Lake Rim Trail

After a lot of up and down you can finally traverse your way towards the finish while using part of the Donner Lake Rim Trail and the Summit Lake Trail. The beginning part of this trail is very sunny as you pick your way up and over large granite boulders making your way to beautiful Summit Lake and the intersection to the Pacific Crest Trail. You will keep traversing along finding some shade and a popular local trail called Hole in the Ground, it’s also technical and challenging in spots.

The Sierra Crest Ultra 50k and 30k runners will come out at the Castle Peak Trailhead, run down the road and under Highway 80 past Boreal Ski Resort to Auburn Ski Club. This will be the finish for the 30k runners.

Photo of Summit Lake by Rachel Mccullough

Auburn Ski Club Trails

30k racers will be cheered into the finish line at the base of the Auburn Ski Club and greeted with a fun party featuring delicious food, tasty beverages and music to refuel, recharge and celebrate their amazing accomplishment.

50k racers will keep running along the Auburn Ski Club cross country trails, up and over the Sierra Crest and back down to the finish line and party! Wahoo, it’s time to celebrate!

Click here to watch the video about the Sierra Crest Ultra!

Click here to read more about the Sierra Crest Ultra 50k and 30k.

Is this your first Ultra Race? Check out some of our other blog posts to help you prepare!

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