Saturday, Jul 15, 2023 @ 5:30 AM

Devil's Backbone

Gallatin Mountain Range

Bozeman, MT 50 Miler, 50 Mile - Relay

This Event Took Place Sat. Jul 15, 2023


This is an event for experienced mountain runners, as it is unmarked and almost unsupported (there is only one aid station at the turn-around). This CANNOT be your first 50 miler. There are many cairns and you primarily stay on a ridgeline, but with no course marking it is still possible to get well off-course. You will need to carry supplies for five to nine hours of running, and once you are out on the course there is no easy way out until the turnaround.

This 47 mile out-and-back course takes place in the traditional territory of the Apsaaloké, Tsėhéstáno, & Niitsitapi peoples. You will be running at altitude (mainly at or above 9500 feet) with a spectacular views of the Paradise Valley, Absaroka Mountains, and Spanish Peaks. Elk, mountain goats, and bears (both black and grizzly) may be seen. Hand-drawn and topographic maps are available at the website.

The event starts and finishes at the Hyalite Creek Trailhead. It is on 100% singletrack trail, with one significant climb to Hyalite Peak (10,300 feet) and multiple short steep climbs totaling close to 11,000 feet total vertical gain. It is a deceptively difficult course due to the high elevation, exposed terrain, and rough, rocky trails.

There will multiple small stream crossings in the first (and last) 7 miles. There is a lake at 11 miles (and 39 miles), a very small spring a mile later, and typically a number of snow patches along the course. Water has certainly been frequented by wildlife, so a filter or other water purification is recommended. Cutoff time is 7.5 hours at the turn-around cabin. Please note that no dogs are allowed on the course, and please leave your speakers at home (not everyone wants to listen to your music!).

This event is limited to 30 solo runners and 20 relay teams. While registration is free (because of the nature of our USFS contract), a donation of $45 (for the solo race) or $60 (for the relay) is HIGHLY encouraged. Please plan to bring your donation (cash or check) to the pre-race meeting the evening before the race (there will not be an option to donate online with registration this year).


A two-person "relay" is an option for those not wanting to run this course solo. The second relay person is responsible for driving to the Windy Pass trailhead (see map). Relay members starting at Windy Pass will be asked to help carry drop bags up the trail to the turn-around (about two miles each way). The first relay person starts with the solo runners at Hyalite Creek trailhead at 5:30 AM, and the second will start at the Windy Pass Cabin at 7:30 AM. Though we prefer a true relay for traffic reasons, any teams wishing to run together can check with us. A time penalty of 30 minutes is added if you both start at Windy Pass and subtracted if you both start at Hyalite. 

Event's current local time: 8:40 PM MT


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