June 14-16, 2019
The Bighorn Trail 100 Mile Run is an arduous trail run that will take place in the Little Bighorn – Tongue River areas of the Bighorn National Forest. Starting time for the event will be 10:00 AM Friday, with a 34 hour (average pace of 2.94 mph) time limit to finish the event. Runners must be prepared for potential extreme temperature variation and weather conditions during the event. Temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day in the canyons and well below freezing at night in the mountains. The course is a wild and scenic traversing territory inhabited by elk, deer, moose, bear, cougars, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes with the potential for wildlife encounters with runners. Crew access points on sections of the course are limited and the runner should be prepared to carry necessary equipment to ensure their ability to safely traverse difficult, remote, mountainous trails in potentially unpredictable weather conditions. The course is an out-and-back consisting of 76 miles of single track trail, 16 miles of rugged double track jeep trail, and 8 miles of gravel road with approximately 17,500 feet of climb and 18,000 feet of descent.
The starting point of the course is on the Tongue River Canyon road approximately 1.25 miles from the Tongue River Canyon trail head of trail #25 and approximately 3.5 miles from Dayton at the Tongue River fishing access parking area. Access to the start will be along the Tongue River Canyon road from Dayton. It is reccomended that participants as well as spectators take the shuttle bus to the start as there is very limited parking along the narrow canyon road near the start. Runners proceed westerly along the gravel Tongue River Canyon road to the Tongue River Canyon trail head of trail #25. Participants then ascend Tongue River Canyon on trail #25 climbing out of the canyon on an intersecting trail to Horse Creek Ridge. Runners then descend into the Sheep Creek drainage on the trail crossing Sheep Creek to access 4-wheel drive Road #198. They will proceed westerly in the Sheep Creek drainage along trail and 4-wheel drive road #201 to access road #168 (Freeze Out Road) at the head of Camp Creek. Crossing road #168, they descend the Camp Creek drainage on trail and gravel road #168 to the intersection of 4-wheel drive road #149 with road #168 (head of the Dry Fork). Runners then descend the Dry Fork drainage along 4-wheel drive road #149 to its intersection with trail #4 (Dry Fork Trail) at Miller Creek. Runners continue northerly on trail #4 to cross the Little Bighorn River footbridge at the intersection of trail #4 with trail #50 (Little Bighorn Trail). From that point (Little Bighorn River footbridge), runners will ascend the Little Bighorn River drainage on trail #50 crossing road #14 (Devil’s Canyon Road) and descend the Porcupine Creek drainage following the trail to the turn-around point at Jaws trail head. The runners subsequently return in the opposite direction on the same course to the starting point in the Tongue River Canyon. From that point, runners continue to descend the gravel Tongue River Canyon road to the finish at Scott Park in Dayton.
The elevation at the starting point of the Bighorn Trail 100 is approximately 4090 feet with runners ascending the Tongue River drainage to Horse Creek Ridge at approximately 7450 feet at 7.5 miles (first 1.25 miles of rough gravel road, then 6.25 miles of trail). Runners then descend on the trail to the Upper Sheep Creek crossing at approximately 7450 feet at 8 miles and continue 1/4 mile to the fully supplied Upper Sheep Creek Aid station. The course subsequently ascends in a rolling fashion (3 miles trail, 1.25 miles 4- wheel drive trail/road) to Camp Creek Ridge at approximately 7854 feet at 12.25 miles. Participants then descend (0.5 miles trail, 0.75 miles gravel road) to the first crew/drop bag aid station at approximately 7480 feet at the Freeze Out Road saddle of Dry Fork Ridge at 13.5 miles. Subsequently, the course descends the Dry Fork drainage on a primitive 4-wheel drive jeep trail in a rolling fashion to the fully supplied Kern’s Cow Camp Aid station at approximately 6600 feet at 19.5 miles. The course continues on the east face of the Dry Fork Canyon on a scenic, rolling trail to Bear Hunting Camp with limited supplies at approximately 6800 feet at 26.5 miles. Runners then descend on a steep trail into the Little Bighorn Canyon to cross the Little Bighorn River on a footbridge at approximately 4590 feet at 30 miles (a fully supplied crew/drop bag aid station point). The course then ascends 3.5 miles on trail to Cathedral Rock, a limited aid station, then continues through the scenic Little Bighorn Canyon passing by Leaky Mountain to Spring Marsh at approximately 6920 feet and 40 miles. Runners continue to ascend via trail through the Wagon Box Creek, Duncum Creek, and then into Elk Camp, a limited supply aid station. The course then continues to Willow Creek drainage to cross Devil’s Canyon Road on the Bighorn Mountain divide at approximately 8951 feet and 47 miles. The course then descends the Porcupine Creek drainage (0.5 miles trail, 0.5 miles jeep trail) to a turn-around point at JawsTrailhead (a fully supplied crew/drop bag aid station) at approximately 8800 feet and 48 miles.
Runners return on the same course crossing the Bighorn Mountain divide at the trail crossing of Devil’s Canyon Road at 49 miles, descending by Spring Marsh at 56 miles, and continuing to descend to the Little Bighorn River footbridge at 66 miles (a crew/drop bag aid station). The course then ascends the Dry Fork drainage going through Bear Hunting Camp at 69.5 miles, Kern’s Cow Camp at 76.5 miles, and exits the Dry Fork Drainage at the Freeze Out Road saddle of Dry Fork Ridge (a crew/drop bag aid station) at 82.5 miles. Participants ascend to Camp Creek Ridge at 83.75 miles, descend the Sheep Creek drainage to the upper Sheep Creek crossing at 88 miles, and summit Horse Creek Ridge at 88.5 miles. The course then descends the Tongue River Canyon drainage to the Tongue River Canyon Road trailhead at 94.75 miles. Runners then descend the gravel Tongue River Canyon Road 1.25 miles going past the starting point of the race. Runners continue to descend on the Tongue River Canyon Road an additional 3.5 miles to Dayton crossing the Tongue River on a footbridge adjacent to U.S. Highway 14. They then cross U.S. Highway 14 in Dayton to finish 0.5 miles later at Scott Park in Dayton.
Trail markings will consist of frequent orange flagging tape attached to trees, bushes, and rock. Some orange flagging tape will be attached to wire ground flags in meadow areas. White powder arrows (made from lime) will be used at a few junctions on the course. Some of the orange flagging may have reflective tape applied to aid in visualization of the ribbon when traversing the course during the night. There will be occasional glow sticks used on the section of the course between Kern’s Cow Camp and Jaws trail head. Elk have been known to devour the markings on sections of this course in the past within 48 hours of the markings having been placed, despite the best efforts of race management.
The race committee reserves the right to respond to potential safety contingencies posed by potentially adverse weather conditions or other course conditions to make "last minute" course changes. If any such course changes are required, runners will be fully briefed at the Friday pre-race briefing.
Upper Tongue River Canyon Trail
Mile 0 - Tongue River Road
Elevation 4275' Moderate Assistance Crew and Spectators allowed
Elevation 4240' Minimal Aid - Water only No Crew/Pacers
Upper Sheep Creek
Lower Sheep Creek~ No Cutoff
Mile 3.5 Elevation 5025'
Minial Aid - water, hydration drink, trail mix, pretzels,
granola bars, candy, nuts.
Mile 8.5 Elevation 7450'
Minimal Aid-water, hydration drink, trail mix, pretzels,
granola bars, candy, nuts, fresh fruit.
Mile 13.5 Elevation 7480'
Major Aid - water, hydration drink, Meat and cheese roll ups,
sandwiches, chips, fresh fruit, soda, cookies, candy, nuts,
jerkey, special items.
Crew Allowed- Parking Area 1/4m from Aid Station
Drop Bags Station
Mile 19.5 Elevation 6600'
Moderate Aid - water, hydration drink, trail mix, pretzels,
granola bars, candy, nuts, fresh fruit.
Mile 26.5 Elevation 6800'
Minimal Aid- water, hydration drink, pretzels,
granola bars, candy, nuts.
Mile 30 Elevation 4590'
Drop Bags Allowed
Parking Area 1/2m from Aid Station
MIle 33.5 Elevation 5080'
Minimal Aid - water, hydration drink, pretzels,
soup, granola bars, candy, nuts.
Elevation 6920' Moderate Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 7430' Minimal Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 8800' Major Aid Crew/Pacers Allowed Drop Bags Allowed
Elevation 7430' Minimal Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 6290' Moderate Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 5080' Minimal Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 4590' Major Aid Crew/Pacers Allowed Drop Bags Allowed
Elevation 6800' Minimal Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 6600' Moderate Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 7480' Major Aid Crew/Pacers Allowed Drop Bags Allowed
Elevation 7450' Moderate Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 5025' Minimal Aid No Crew/Pacers
Elevation 4240' Moderate Aid Crew by BIKE ONLY
Elevation 4040' Moderate Aid Crew by BIKE ONLY
Elevation 3970' Major Aid Drop Bags Allowed
100 Mile Start 2018
All runners will be weighed at the race packet pickup and will be asked for updated medical information that might be germane to their participation in this race. The starting weights will be recorded along with pertinent weight parameters and significant medical information. Periodic medical checks of the participants consisting of mental acuity assessments will be performed at designated medical checkpoints during the event (Jaws Trailhead, Sally's Foot Bridge and Dry Fork checkpoints). Mental alertness will be screened at all manned aid stations.
If the medical personnel flags a runner whom they are concerned about, a full medical check will ensue. This will consist of weight, blood pressure, pulse, oxygen saturation, and respirations as well as a thorough physical and mental assessment by a medical professional. A weight loss of 3% indicates that significant dehydration has occurred and the runner will be encouraged to hydrate back to their pre-race weight. At 5% weight loss, the runner may be nearly exhausted and may be held by the aid station until adequate hydration can be established by the runner. A 7% loss of body weight may be grounds for mandatory withdrawal from the race due to the high risks of heat exhaustion or hypothermia while on the course and the increasing risk of dangerous impairment of bodily functions. These decisions will be made by our qualified medical professionals.
Weight gain may also be problematic indicating retention of water with the corresponding risk of dilutional hyponatremia and possible seizures. Runners over 3% of their starting weight will be queried further regarding their fluid intake and urination history with particular attention directed to a participant who has not been urinating during the event. Runners over 5% of their starting body weight may likely be held for closer monitoring and possible mandatory withdrawal from the race due to the risks of hyponatremia and seizures from excessive water retention during an ultramarathon event.
It is important for the participant to recognize the potential physical and mental stresses, which may evolve from participation in this race. The runners may be subject to extreme temperatures of heat and cold, hypothermia, heat stroke, kidney failure, seizures, low blood sugar, disorientation, injury, falling rock or trees, wild animal or reptile attack, or even death from their participation in this event.
Adequate pre-race conditioning is mandatory and a participant should not run the race if they have not been able to prepare adequately to run safely. Hypothermia and heat illness will be significant risks in this race. Both can cause nausea, dizziness, and mental confusion. Impending heat stroke may be signaled by a decrease in sweating and goose bumps and can progress to collapse in a short period of time. The diagnosis of why a runner is nauseated requires careful consideration of temperature conditions at the time of illness, altitude, and race pace to arrive at corrective measures. Proper race pace is crucial. A runner must be careful not to exceed their own physiologic thresholds which may vary according to temperature, altitude, terrain, and conditioning. High altitudes above 7000 feet coupled with strenuous exertion may produce various degrees of altitude sickness. This can lead to severe lung and brain swelling which without treatment can even lead to death. Treatment for altitude sickness is rest and descending to a lower altitude. Altitude sickness can be prevented with altitude acclimation, proper fluid and electrolyte intake, and proper pace.
Injuries from falling both on even or rough trail, hazards of running in possible snow conditions, falling rock or trees, and injuries related to adverse encounters with wildlife exist for the participant taking part in this race. Vehicle hazards, common fatigue, getting lost, and being far from medical help, treatment, and evacuation are just some of the other risks associated with participating in the Bighorn Trail 100. It is crucial that the runner has physically prepared himself/herself to safely participate in this race, stays mentally alert, stays adequately hydrated and nourished during the event, and is mentally prepared to withdraw at an appropriate time if he/she can not safely continue.
All participants will be checked in by their race number/bib at the start of the race by race management and will be checked in/out of all manned aid station checkpoints along the course. Sheridan Search and Rescue will provide communications support at all the manned aid stations. The communications personnel will be provided an accurate list of all starters and their race number. Each participant will have a check in/check out time recorded at each manned aid station with the information radioed to the next aid station to aid in accounting for each runner during the event. In the event a runner has failed to check in/out of the next manned aid station, a trail sweep will be conducted at the appropriate time along each section of the trail. If the sweep fails to account for any runners, race officials will notify standby groups for an emergency search. If an emergency search is activated, any emergency search costs will be the responsibility of the entrant including any emergency search costs generated by the entrant failing to properly withdraw from the event by turning in their race number to the Aid Station captain at the closest aid station.
Crew access locations during the event include the starting point, Camp Creek Ridge intersection with Freeze Out Road (out only), Dry Fork Ridge Aid Station (out and in), Sally's Footbridge Aid Station (out and in), Little Bighorn Trail course intersection with Devil’s Canyon Road (out and in), Jaws Trailhead, and from the Tongue River Canyon Trailhead to the Finish . Detailed crew access directions will be available at the packet pick-up and rules regarding crew access at specific crew access locations will be reiterated. Crew access from the Tongue River Canyon Trailhead (94.75 miles) on Tongue River Canyon Road to the Finish will only be by foot or bike because of congestion on Tongue River Canyon road. Crew access to Dry Fork Ridge Aid Station (in) on Saturday will have parking restrictions.
Crew access to Sally's Footbridge Aid Station (out and in) is difficult due to the distance to the mouth of the Little Bighorn River Canyon and the fact that there is limited parking in the canyon. Crews should expect at least 25 minutes to navigate the 2 mile section of rocky, rough, primitive road into the canyon to the designated crew parking area. From that crew parking area, crews will need to walk ¾ miles to access Sally's Footbridge Aid Station. A high clearance vehicle is recommended for accessing Sally's Footbridge Aid Station and carpooling is suggested. It will take a crew approximately 2.5 hours, at a minimum, to go between Dry Fork Ridge Aid Station and the Footbridge Aid Station both out and in.
Approximate travel times that should be considered by entrants and their crews assuming good road conditions and no construction delays are as follows:
Crews may provide aid to their runner at any point on the course after the Tongue River Canyon Trailhead (94.75 miles) to the finish as long as they have not driven on the Tongue River Canyon Road to access their runner. They may walk, run, or bike on the Tongue River Canyon Road to access their runner and must return via the same manner. Crew or family who drive a vehicle on Tongue River Canyon Road will subject their runner to disqualification.
Father with PACER son finishing the 100 mile race