50 MILE COURSE DESCRIPTION
The Tahoe Rim Trail 50 mile and 100 mile Endurance Run share the same course that takes place on high elevation alpine and sub-alpine forest trails and dirt roads in the Carson Spur of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The event is located on the northeast side of Lake Tahoe. All distances begin and end at the Spooner Lake State Park, which is at 7,000 feet. The highest point of the event is just below the 9,214 foot Snow Valley Peak (which also provides one of the best views on the course). The low point is at the bottom of the now "infamous" Red House Loop (A Taste of Hell) at approximately 6800 feet.
The start at Spooner Lake follows the North Canyon Road for approximately 1 mile before it veers left onto the Marlette Lake Trail. The Marlette Lake Trail meanders through conifers and Aspen groves as it climbs approximately 1,500 feet before descending about ½ mile to the shore of tranquil Marlette Lake.
Upon reaching Marlette Lake (7823 feet) veer right and continue to climb on dirt roads and connecting onto the Tahoe Rim Trail. After about a ½ mile you will come to the Hobart A/S at 8120 feet, 6 miles into the race. (At this point in the race, trekking poles are allowed).
Get ready for a trail running party at this aid station. Famous for great food, smoothies and a walk up bar.
After leaving the Hobart A/S the Tahoe Rim Trail climbs past Marlette Peak (photo Opp) and Harlan Peak before descending on an awesome single track to the Tunnel Creek A/S 11 miles into the race. Tunnel Creek A/S will be your home base during this race. As a 50 mile runner you will come to this aid station 3 times. It is a perfect place for a drop bag for your night time clothing, headlamps, extra hydration sources. (If you arrive here after 5:30pm you should have a headlamp to complete this race!) This is a huge aid station with an amazing array of food choices, a medical staff and medical tent.
Pay attention to the directions from the aid station staff at this aid station. There are three directions you will come and go from this aid station! It is your responsibility to be familiar with the course instructions. Be sure you know where to go.
Departing from Tunnel Creek A/S you go right and down the hill (1000 feet) starting the 6.3-mile loop to the Red House A/S and back. As you are descending this trail you continue to make right hand turns until coming to the Red House A/S. This is a wacky aid station and you never know what you will see when you cross the creek, but I guarantee they will take good care of you. Leaving the aid station you will be on a single track flume trail leading you back uphill towards Tunnel Creek A/S. There is one intersection that will be very well marked pointing you left, uphill, back to Tunnel Creek A/S. (If you find yourself desending after Red House A/S you are going the wrong way). There is a significant sandy climb near the top of the loop. (This loop is considered by most as the “glimpse of hell” part of the course.)
Upon returning to the Tunnel Creek A/S the 50M/100M course will travel approximately 6-miles north along single track section of the Tahoe Rim Trail. This section is mostly rolling with breath-taking views of both Lake Tahoe and the Washoe Valley. The Bull Wheel A/S is a small water stop 3 miles from Tunnel Creek. DO NOT LEAVE THIS AID STATION WITHOUT A FULL HYDRATION PACK OR BOTTLES! You have about 8 miles before arriving at the Diamond Peak A/S. Many runners run out of fluids on this section. **I highly recommend using at least three hand bottles or a full hydration pack for this section of the course.
At the Incline Creek trail junction the course makes a sharp left turn and drops down towards Incline Village, offering spectacular views of the North Shore of Lake Tahoe. This section of the course will provide views of Lake Tahoe not many but locals have seen. The Incline Creek trail will plunge down the mountain for approximately four miles and a loss of 2,000 feet of elevation, following the creek with many dives including twists and turns. As the trail flattens out towards the bottom you will come into the Tyrolean Village area directly behind homes. Once you come to the to the Diamond Peak Lodge parking lot area, proceed to the lodge where the aid station will be. (There is a 4:30 pm (10.5 hr) cut-off here.) This will be the 30 Mile A/S, a great aid station with many food options, indoor bathrooms, and the only spot to meet your crew. It is imperative that your crew members only park in designated parking spots and not clog the roadway. During the event the race is accountable for keeping the roadway accessible by residents of Tyrolean Village and the Fire Department! Crews that do not adhere to this will result in their runner being DQ’d from the race. Yes, it IS that important!
From there the course will follow the dirt service road up the ski run and onto Crystal Ridge. Then up and over the top of Diamond Peak resort at 8540 ft for a 1700 foot climb in just under 2 miles. This climb is steep! Take your time, it will not make or break your race. Stop and catch your breath and turn around for the most spectacular view of Lake Tahoe you will see on the entire course. When you reach the top of the ski lift (bull wheel), a sharp right hand turn will drop you down to the Bull Wheel A/S (water and typical aid station fair only. No hot food and no ice) turn right onto the Tahoe Rim Trail. The course then returns to the Tunnel Creek A/S 3 miles south for the third time.
From the Tunnel Creek A/S, the course will follow the Tahoe Rim Trail south (straight through the A/S) back towards the Hobart A/S. During the daytime this 5 mile section will be hot. Leaving the Hobart A/S you will come to a flat road intersection. You cross the road and veer left continuing on the Tahoe Rim Trail. If you get on a dirt road here you are going the wrong way! You will be on TRT for three spectacular miles climbing 1000 feet to the Snow Valley Peak A/S. This A/S is famous for the special care you receive from the Boy Scout Troop. These are not kids, but young men earning their way to be Eagle Scouts and they really run a top notch aid station.
Leaving the Snow Valley Peak A/S you will continue along the Tahoe Rim Trail about 5.5 miles before reaching the Spooner Summit Trailhead A/S. This part of the course winds around many turns but there is nowhere to get off the trail, just keep descending for what will seem like a very long way. The Spooner Summit Trailhead A/S is manned by a Cub Scout troop and is a water and electrolite fluids stop only. You sweep around a corner at the aid station connecting with the Spooner Lake trail for the final 1.7 miles to the finish area along a beautiful aspen grove and the shores of Spooner Lake.
Upon leaving the single track trail and popping onto a dirt road you will make a right turn onto a single track trail that will lead you to the finishers chute. There is a time limit of 16.50 hrs or 10:30 pm.
Keep in mind this course averages an 8,000 feet of elevation. Also, the air is very dry, normally less that 10% humidity. It is actually easier to become dehydrated in this environment than in a humid one. Because your sweat evaporates on your skin you do not feel like you need to drink as many fluids as if you were dripping sweat, don’t be fooled. The foremost reason for dropping from this race other than just plain old fatigue is dehydration.
Congratulations on a great accomplishment!!!