Here are the 2020 Trail Runs Worth Running


Truckee and Lake Tahoe are world-class destinations for trail running and racing. If you’re visiting the Truckee Tahoe region, these races are a great opportunity to explore new terrain while staying safe with a support crew. Check out our local running club, the Donner Party Mountain Runners, and become a member to take part in high elevation training runs and get more familiar with the area.

APRIL

Escape From Prison Hill

  • Saturday, April 4, 2020
  • Silver Saddle Ranch, Carson City, NV
  • 5K, 10K, Half Marathon
  • Register here

Kick-off your running season with this race in Carson City, NV. You’ll gain elevation quick on these courses, which makes this race a good one to test your spring running fitness. Keep your eyes peeled for the iconic “dead truck” along the way!

Escape From Prison Hill is the first of 3 races in Ascent Run’s Half Marathon Trail Series. The others include the Carson Canyons Half Marathon on April 18th in Carson City and the Silver State Half Marathon on May 16 in Reno. Bag all three and you’ll receive a special finishers award!

Runner on the Carson Canyons Super K Trail Runs course
Carson Canyons Super K Trail Runs
Photo: Ascent Runs

Carson Canyons Super K Trail Runs

  • Saturday, April 18, 2020
  • Long Ranch Park, Carson City, Nevada
  • 5K, 10K, 21K, 30K
  • Register here

These courses are a mix of trail, single track, pavement, and jeep roads. Click here to see course descriptions and maps for each distance. The family-friendly start and finish at Long Ranch Park in Carson City is the perfect spot to hang out and cheer on your runner.

The Carson Canyons Half Marathon is the second of 3 races in Ascent Run’s Half Marathon Trail Series. The others include  Escape From Prison Hill (EFPH) on April 4 in Carson City and the Silver State Half Marathon on May 16 in Reno. Bag all three and you’ll receive a special finishers award!

For more information, check out Ascent Runs. Their mission is to create and host challenging, fun and memorable trail running experiences that promote the natural environment of the Tahoe Basin and contribute to the success of local businesses and communities.  I’m all for that!

A trail runner on the Canyons Endurance Runs course
Canyons Endurance Runs
Photo: Epic Endurance Events

Canyons Endurance Runs

  • Saturday, April 25, 2020
  • Foresthill, CA
  • 100K, 25K
  • Register here

Participants will experience some of the most scenic and challenging sections of the iconic WS Trail as they cover up to 15,000 feet of gain through the Canyons between Swinging Bridge and the famous river crossing at Rucky Chucky. Your limits will be tested and your finish will be hard fought as this is the most rugged and difficult of sections of the Western States Trail, RUN TWICE.

Along the trail, runners will behold panoramic Sierra vistas, descend into intimate canyon gullies filled with vibrant ferns and fauna, and gaze up into lush canopies of Oak and Pine. You’ll dip your toes into the rushing waters of the historic American River and cross mountain streams and old wooden bridges through historic settlements from California’s gold rush days. You might even hear an echo of old prospectors and mules on their quest for the mother lode as you follow the same trail they did over 150 years ago.

The Canyons is now a Western States 100 Golden Ticket Race.

MAY

Silver State 50/50

  • Saturday, May 16, 2020
  • Rancho San Rafael Park, Reno, NV
  • 50M, 50K or Half Marathon
  • Register here

The Silver State 50/50 holds a special place in the history of trail running. The 50-miler and 50-kilometer race are celebrating 35 years of Endurance Runs this year and 12 years for the Trail Half Marathon. The longer races involve a challenging amount of vert and make great training runs for Western States or the Tahoe Rim Trail 100-miler. Enjoy beautiful views, well stocked aid stations, and a variety of terrain at this race.

Runner on a trail at the Truckee Running Festival. Northstar California in the background.
Truckee Running Festival
Photo: Tahoe Trail Running Series

Truckee Running Festival

  • Sunday, May 31, 2020
  • Riverview Park, Truckee
  • 5K, 10K, Half Marathon
  • Register here

The Truckee Running Festival is a fun event for the whole family, and it’s right in our backyard! This festival features a 5k and 10k along the Legacy Trail and a half marathon that winds through the scenic Waddle Ranch trails. There’s also fun kids races of various lengths. The 5k is a fundraiser for Girls on the Run Sierras, a local non-profit that helps girls build healthy, lifelong relationships with health and fitness and discover inner strength and confidence through an activity-based curriculum.

JUNE

Lake Tahoe Rubicon Trail 1/2

  • Saturday, June 6, 2020
  • Emerald Bay, CA
  • 1/2 Marathon
  • Register here

Welcome to Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe’s crown jewel and one of the most photographed places in the world. Every day is beautiful here and in early June it is magical. The run starts at Eagle Point Campground on the south side of Emerald Bay where the Rubicon Trail descends around the bay and up to Bliss State Park to the turn around. Return back to the finish right where you started. We will have aid stations at miles 3, 6.5 and 10. Don’t forget to take plenty of photos as you pass landmarks like Eagle Falls, Vikingsholm, Fannette Island’s stone Teahouse and the Lighthouse. State Parks will receive $10 of each runner’s entry fee which will be used locally to fund their efforts to provide this wonderful playground for all to enjoy.

Runner climbing up a snow slope at the Broken Arrow Skyrace
Broken Arrow Skyrace
Photo: Broken Arrow Skyrace

Broken Arrow Skyrace

  • Friday, June 19 – Sunday, June 21, 2020
  • Squaw Valley USA
  • VK, 11K, 26K, 52K
  • Register here

The Broken Arrow Skyrace, presented by Salomon, is a three-day, five distance event held at world-famous Squaw Valley Alpine Meadows. On June 19-21, 2020 elite and recreational participants will experience an unforgettable trail running experience “where the mountains meet the sky.” The Broken Arrow consists of four iconic distances (plus a kid’s race) that showcase the beauty of Lake Tahoe, the Jewel of the Sierra Nevada.

Designed in the vein of classic European Skyraces, the Broken Arrow Skyrace represents a unique style of mountain running, characterized by off-trail scrambling on steep terrain with massive amounts of vertical gain and loss at altitude….with exposure, hand lines, a ladder and snow slopes thrown in for good measure!

Burton Creek Trail Run

  • Sunday, June 21, 2020
  • Highlands Community Center, Tahoe City
  • 6K, 12K, Half Marathon
  • Register here

The Burton Creek Trail Run takes place on a beautiful, fun and challenging trail system within Burton Creek State Park near Tahoe City, CA.  The course features miles of single track through pine forests and high sierra meadows. This is a great family-friendly race and includes age-appropriate kids races for ages 4 and up.

Ariel shot of a runner on the Western States 100 mile endurance run course
Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run
Photo: LetsWander

Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run

  • Saturday, June 27 – Sunday, June 28, 2018
  • Squaw Valley USA to Auburn California
  • 100M
  • Learn about the competitive entry process here

Western States 100 Mile Endurance run is the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race.  It starts in Squaw Valley, California, and ends 100.2 miles away in Auburn, California. In the decades since its inception in 1974, it has come to represent one of the ultimate endurance tests in the world.

Following the historic Western States Trail, runners climb more than 18,000 feet and descend nearly 23,000 feet before they reach the finish line at Placer High School in Auburn.  In the miles between Squaw Valley and Auburn, runners experience the majestic high country beauty of Emigrant Pass and the Granite Chief Wilderness, the crucible of the canyons of the California gold country, a memorable crossing of the ice-cold waters of the main stem of the Middle Fork of the American River, and during the latter stages, the historic reddish brown colored trails that led gold seeking prospectors and homesteading pilgrims alike to the welcoming arms of Auburn.

Western States is the pinnacle of 100-mile ultramarathons. You’ll need to enter a lottery in advance to get a spot in this race, but demand is high. Consider yourself lucky if you earn a spot in this race!

JULY

Sunrise on the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run
Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run
Photo: Gary Wang

Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run

  • Saturday, July 18, 2019
  • Spooner Lake, Nevada
  • 100M, 50M, 55K
  • Register here

High demand for the Tahoe Rim Trail Endurance Run has led to a lottery system, similar to Western States, for entry. If this race is on your bucket list, mark your calendar for when the lottery is announced and cross your fingers you get in! It’s a fantastic ultra run that takes you on high elevation single track and dirt roads within Spooner State Park and the Tahoe Rim Trail. The courses are challenging but you’ll be treated to some of Tahoe’s finest scenery. Here’s what their website says you can expect “Don’t expect to run a PR here. DO expect to find the finest aid stations in ultra running, epic scenery, and world famous volunteers.”

AUGUST

Lost and Found course in Truckee
Lost and Found
Photo: Epic Endurance Events

Lost and Found

  • Saturday, August 1, 2020
  • Johnson Canyon Trailhead, Donner Lake
  • 10K, 30K, 55K
  • Register here

Epic Endurance Events with special support from Run On Dirt Coaching present the Lost and Found 55K/30K/10K. Designed by Peter Fain of Run On Dirt, this course will leave you breathless. From the abundant wildflowers to the Summit of 9000 ft Castle Peak with 360′ views of the beautiful Sierra Nevada Mountains, you will be inspired by the beauty and tested by the difficulty. Whether you are looking for a rugged course that will prepare you for mountain races like UTLT and Castle Peak 100K or you want to discover the magic that awaits around this high alpine route, we will guide you safely on this journey.

Marlette 50K and 10 Miler

  • Sunday, August 9, 2020
  • Spooner Lake, Nevada
  • 50K, 10M
  • Register here

The Marlette 50K is a truly adventurous romp through some of planet earth’s most scenic and challenging trails.  Based at Spooner Lake in Lake Tahoe Nevada’s State Park the run features 30 miles of epic trails and views.  Think prime Sierra single track and add in 360 degree panorama views of Lake Tahoe, the Carson Valley and Carson Range.  Marlette Lake lies in the middle of the course and if you’re heating up during the run feel free to take a plunge. The Marlette 10 Miler starts at Spooner Lake and heads north on the North Canyon Trail. Then heads along the south shore of Marlette Lake featuring views of the canyon and Snow Valley Peak.  

Overhead shot of Castle Peak 100 course
Castle Peak 100
Photo: Castle Peak 100

Castle Peak 100

  • Saturday, August 22, 2020
  • Start at Prosser Ranch Campground and finish at Sugar Bowl Resort
  • 100K
  • Register here

Experience dramatic scenery, demanding trails and genuine support on this point-to-point mountain course.  The Castle Peak 100k trail race starts near the historic Donner Camp in Truckee, California, where runners will climb and descend some 14,000 feet at an average elevation of 7,100 feet.  The course tours the Tahoe National Forest, Tahoe Donner, Donner Lake Rim Trail, Basin and Castle Peaks, Royal Gorge and Sugar Bowl before descending Cold Stream Canyon to finish at Donner Memorial State Park.

Please be advised that the course includes a 1.25-mile section (the Palisades) of very technical, risky and exposed scrambling and may not be appropriate for those with a fear of heights.

Castle Peak 100K is a Western States Endurance Run qualifier and 2020 finishers earn 4 points towards 2021 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Qualification.

The race is produced by the Donner Party Mountain Runners, an all-volunteer non-profit organization. Their mission is to inform and inspire mountain runners in Truckee-Tahoe. Check them out and become a member! Here’s a race report to get you inspired!

SEPTEMBER

A runner on the Tahoe 25K / 100K
Tahoe 25K/100K
Photo: Tahoe 25K/100K

Tahoe 25K and 100K Endurance Runs

  • Saturday, September 12 – Sunday, September 13, 2020
  • 25K @ Homewood Resort
  • 100K @ Spooner Trailhead to Sierra at Tahoe
  • Register here

The Tahoe 25k is a fun and challenging race from the base of Homewood Mountain Resort all the way to Ellis Peak and Barker pass. If you love vert, we’ve got some vert for you! Homewood has some of the best and most expansive views of Lake Tahoe. Enjoy views of the largest alpine lake in the USA while climbing and descending this route and run along rocky Ellis Peak (see photo on this page) with views of the Crystal Basin, Loon Lake, and Desolation Wilderness. 

The Tahoe 100k is a point to point exploration of the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Tahoe Basin. The route will take you on a magical journey from the East side of Lake Tahoe along the Rim Trail, through the mountains with views of Lake Tahoe, Sierra Nevada Mountains on an almost entirely single track course. 

Runners on a rocky section of the Tahoe 200 Endurance Run
Tahoe 200 Endurance Run
Photo: Tahoe 200 Endurance Ultra

Tahoe 200 Endurance Ultra

  • Friday, September 11 – Tuesday, September 15, 2020
  • Tahoe City, California
  • 205.5M
  • Sign up for the 200M waitlist here

The Tahoe 200 is the first and only 200 mile single loop mountain trail race in the United States! The event has 40,200 ft of climbing. This incredible route circumnavigates the sparkling, clear blue waters of Lake Tahoe from the Tahoe Rim Trail. The race occasionally detours off the TRT to explore aspen meadows, rock gardens of giants, small and impossibly blue lakes, thick canopied forests, and long ridge lines with stunning views of Lake Tahoe. The course is nothing less than magical. Entry to this race is competitive and on a lottery system. Mark your calendar for next year’s lottery, spaces go fast!

Trail runner on the Overlook Endurance Runs course
Overlook Endurance Runs
Photo: Epic Endurance Events

Overlook Endurance Runs

  • Saturday, September 12, 2020
  • Foresthill, California
  • 50M, 50K, 25K
  • Register here

Created by the legendary Ann Trason, the Overlook Endurance Runs primarily follow the historic Western States trail. While the races have different starting locations, they finish at the same place: Overlook Park in Auburn.

Highlights for all distances include following old mining roads and trails along the river, holding onto a rope as you wade the river at the historic Poverty Bar crossing used for decades by horse riders, passing the ruins of the Mountain Quarries, crossing the famous No Hands Bridge and passing Robie Point on the way to the finish at the American River Canyon Overlook. And YES, all distances will have a river crossing!

Thumbs up on the Emerald Bay Trail Run
Emerald Bay Trail Run
Photo: Tahoe Trail Running

Emerald Bay Trail Run

  • Saturday, September 12, 2020
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • 7M
  • Register here

Called “One of America’s Most Scenic Trail Runs” by Competitor Magazine, this trail run is defined by both the incredible beauty of Lake Tahoe and the towering peaks of the High Sierra.  The Emerald Bay Trail Run starts at Eagle Point and takes runners around Emerald Bay and up the Rubicon Trail to D.L. Bliss State Park to finish at Lester Beach.  The course is 7 miles  / 11k point-to-point and features mostly single track with moderate climbs and descents.  The trail is somewhat technical with natural granite steps. It is hard not to look at the stellar views of Lake Tahoe while running!

Plan on bringing the family and spending the day for this race.  Emerald Bay State Park is considered one of the most beautiful areas in the United States.  Carved by ancient glaciers, Emerald Bay offers unequaled scenic hiking and trail running.  There’s also a post event party with music, food and beverages, raffle, awards and swag from race sponsors. 

Ultra Trails Lake Tahoe

  • Saturday, September 26, 2020
  • Northstar Village, CA
  • 100M, 50M, 50K, 25K
  • Register here

Epic Endurance Events invites you to UTLT Mountain Ultra Trail Festival. The 100mi is now a 6 point UTMB race and the 50mi is a whopping 4 points.

The village at Northstar CA serves as our start/finish venue, there simply is no better mountain resort to host these scenic and difficult events! The village is world class with great rooms, condos, homes and the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Luxurious amenities abound where you can pamper yourself after the leg crushing terrain with spa treatments, hot tubs, swimming, shopping and exquisite food.

Enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe before or after running; the water, beaches and scenery will leave you in awe. All this and more will provide the perfect backdrop for North America’s version of the ultimate Mountain Ultra Trail Festival. This is Lake Tahoe, “surely the fairest picture the whole world affords.” -Mark Twain

OCTOBER

Great Trail Race

  • Sunday, October 4, 2020
  • Truckee to Tahoe City
  • 34K
  • Register here

The Great Trail Race is an epic point to point route between Truckee and Tahoe City, CA that you can either ride or run. Choose one of two course options, Elite or Classic. The Elite course adds in more technically challenging terrain and distance. Make the event the goal of your summer training, then dig deep and beat your age-group rivals. Or set your own pace and enjoy a beautiful Tahoe mountain bike ride, Tahoe trail run or walk through the Sierra forest. Whatever your speed, this is one race that you’ll be psyched you did!

The Great Trail Race is a fundraiser for Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue on a similar course to the Great Ski Race.  Check out the event website for more details.  

Let us know in the comments below what race(s) you’re going to do this summer and stop by Tahoe Mountain Sports in Truckee for all of your trail beta and racing needs!

Marketing Coordinator at Tahoe Mountain Sports | + posts

Former park ranger turned writer/marketer. Always down for a sufferfest, as long as it ends with ice cream. Favorite activities include backcountry skiing, trail running, and backpacking.

1 thought on “Here are the 2020 Trail Runs Worth Running”

Leave a Comment