Information courtesy bighorntrailrun.com
We created this ultra-running event to preserve the atmosphere of the Bighorn Mountains once threatened by a West Coast power development strategy called the “Dry Fork Project.” Through the commitment and perseverance of a few dedicated outdoor enthusiasts, attention to the potential fate of our mountains became a local concern. Ultimately, the “Dry Fork Project” was tabled and Bighorn Trail Run was born during this process to increase public awareness of the natural beauty, rugged terrain, and unique geology of the Bighorn Mountains and the Dry Fork and Little Bighorn River drainages.
The Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic Trail Run is founded on values and beliefs that knit us together as a family. We provide a multi-event experience created by a community for a community, meeting everyone’s desire for challenge. We value family, friendships, thoughtfulness, hard work, consistency and nature’s beauty – all the essentials required to get you to the finish line. However, don’t let Bighorn mislead you, it is a tough contender in the ultra-world boasting its name on the top 10 most difficult ultras in the nation. We met with Mother Nature to custom design a challenging course: full of steep climbs, difficult down hills, shoe sucking mud, and relentless technical terrain leading you to spectacular views with a possible wildlife encounter here or there.
Our commitment to you: During your time in our beautiful backyard, we commit to providing a team of tough and rugged individuals supporting you. Consider these experienced volunteers your trail family. With their commitment to lifting up a fellow human they provide well-stocked aid stations, first aid, and a fun atmosphere. Be aware however, much like you, these volunteers also endure sleep deprivation and harsh mountain conditions. Show them your appreciation and don’t be surprised when they encourage you to pull up your bootstraps so you can head on down the trail to claim your finish. After all, it did seem like a good idea during the winter sign-ups. Yeehaw!
The Course: The Bighorn Mountain Trail 100 is an epic mountain endurance adventure crossing through Little Bighorn and Tongue River areas of the Bighorn National Forest. Participants have 34 hours to navigate this remote, technical out-and-back course (average 2.94 mph). Mother Nature provides over 20,500 feet of ascent and 20,750 feet of descent testing the most seasoned ultra-runners with 76 miles of technical single-track trail, 16 miles of rugged 2-track jeep trail road, and 8 miles of gravel road. The Bighorn 100 is one of the classics, demanding you to reach deep down to your core of mental and physical fortitude. Our event is truly remote. Stretches of 18-mile technical trail will serve as your only way in and out of the backcountry. Have no fear; we have a family of trail crew volunteers that are crazier than you. They’ve been on the trail for weeks leading up to this event preparing the trails for the adversity you are about to experience.
This is not a mountaineering experience and we pride ourselves on a well-marked course. Trail markings will consist of orange flagging tape frequently attached to trees, bushes, rocks, rattlesnakes, and black bears (haha just making sure you are paying attention). In meadow areas, orange flagging will be attached to wire ground flags. White powder arrows (made from lime) will be used at a few junctions on the course. Reflective tape attached to the flagging and glow sticks will be used to enhance visualization during the night sections of the course (Kern’s Cow Camp – Jaws Trail Head). However, despite the best efforts of race management, occasionally the elk have other plans in mind for you and have been known to devour the markings on sections of this course within 48 hours of placement. Our course director and trail team work endlessly to replace flagging during the event. We are guests in God’s country so expect to share this course with elk, deer, moose, black bear, mountain lions, and rattlesnakes in the lower elevations.
Preparation: Our course requires ultimate individual preparation. Remember you have committed to an extreme mountain endurance event in the Wild West and crew access points are limited. Our aid station volunteers are experienced and will do their best to help each runner, however responsibility falls on participants and it is imperative each runner is adequately prepared for this challenging quest. Please study the course and plan to carry the necessary equipment to ensure your safety and the safety of our volunteers.
Photos courtesy Bighorn Trail Run and Sheridan County Travel & Tourism.