The Rough Trail Ultramarathon is one of the roughest, toughest, and damn hardest trail races in the eastern United States. Taking you the length of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge, this 50k trail race will give you a rare opportunity to see the entire Gorge in all of its rough beauty. Rough is designed for one purpose: to take you to your limits and give you that rare opportunity to smash through the wall. In doing so, we believe you learn something new and important about yourself.
Rough Trail Ultramarathon will give you stunning views of ancient rock shelters, natural arches, and the deep expanse of the Red River Gorge. Oh, and some of the gnarliest trails you’ll find.
Rough will punish you and trick you into thinking the worst it’s over when it certainly is NOT. But if you believe you can take the beating and keep moving forward; if you think you have what it takes to learn a hard new truth about yourself; if you want to see some of the most breathtaking, untouched Appalachian country and have one of the most exciting experiences of your life, then Rough is waiting.
Rough Trail Ultramarathon gives you the option of two distances: 25K and 50K.
25K Trail RAce
Start Time: 9:00am
Cut-Off: 8 hours (5pm)
Distance: 15 miles*
Elevation: 3,845' Gain, 3,845' Loss
50K TRAIL RACE
Start Time: 7:00am
Cut-Off: 10 hours (5pm)
Distance: 31 miles*
Elevation: 6,500' Gain, 6,500' Loss
Packet pickup for the 2018 Rough Trail 50K / 25K will be available at the following times:
- Friday 11/9 4pm-6pm @ Koomer Ridge Campground @ Koomer Ridge Campground Ampitheater
- Saturday 11/10 5:30am-8:45am @ Koomer Ridge Campground Ampitheater
- Click HERE for directions to Koomer Ridge Campground
AWARDS AND SWAG
All participants receive a race shirt.
All finishers receive a special finisher's award.
Top three men and women from each race receive a special award.
*All distance and elevation data is approximate.
The Rough Trail 50K and 25K race courses start and finish at Koomer Ridge Campground in Kentucky's beautiful Red River Gorge. The 50K course will take you from one end of the gorge to the other through deep, lush creek beds and over fantastic rock overlooks. You'll see natural rock shelters and arches as well as some of the most challenging terrain anywhere. The 25k course is no easier. Just shorter!
The start and finish line areas will be at the Koomer Ridge Campground Ampitheater!
Click the buttons below for printable course maps, downloadable GPS files, or a turn-by-turn course description.
50K Aid Stations
#3: Martins Fork
Cut Off: 12:30pm
#6: Chimney Top
Cut Off: 4:00pm
#1: Auxier Ridge
Cut Off: None
#4: Chimney Top
Cut Off: None
#2: Auxier Ridge
Cut Off: 11:15am
#5: Sky Bridge Rd.
Cut Off: None
25K Aid Stations
#2: Chimney Top
Cut Off: 4:00pm
#1: Grays Arch
Cut Off: None
The Rough Trail 50K takes place at Kentucky's famous and beautifully brutal Red River Gorge. The race starts and finishes at Koomer Ridge Campground in Pine Ridge, Kentucky.
Parking for the race is at Koomer Ridge Campground. This is a small campground so our ability to fit everyone in there will depend on your willing to CARPOOL. Parking attendants will be there to assist you and make sure we park in a safe and efficient manner. No shuttles will be used at this time. If we decide to go to our emergency backup plan which involves shuttles, you will be notified via email and this page will be updated.
Find a reasonable parking spot in the hiker lot to the left or along the road. You will then need to walk up to the ampitheater for the start line.
For directions to the race use the following address and/or GPS coordinates:
GPS Coordinates: 37.7843629,-83.634979
Lodging & Camping
Hotels and Cabin Rentals
There are plenty of hotels, motels, and luxury cabins in Red River Gorge. Currently, we are working with the local providers to get you some sweet discounts. So check back later to hear about those! In the meantime check out www.redrivergorgeguide.com to see everything that The Red has to offer.
Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals
Rough Trail runners can receive 20% off luxury cabin rentals on race weekend from the great folks at Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals! Click the button below to view all of their incredible cabins and yurts for rent. Just call their office at 844-MY-CABIN and tell them you are running the Rough Trail Ultra. They will hook you up.
Koomer Ridge Campground
Camp within eyesight of the start and finish lines! Koomer Ridge features 54 tent camp sites and 19 trailer camp sites. This is a fantastic way to spend your weekend! Check out this campground guide for more information on Koomer Ridge Campground.
PLEASE NOTE: ALL camp sites are Koomer Ridge Campground are first come, first served. Get there early. NO CAMP SITES WILL BE RESERVED BY NEXT OPPORTUNITY FOR RUNNERS!
Just a few rules to make sure we all have a fun and SAFE time. Failure to obey these rules will result in disqualification.
- Stay on course and on trail. Do not cut any switchbacks, take any shortcuts, or leave the trail for any reason.
- Going off trail creates a negative ecological impact. So if there is an obstacle in your path go through it, over it, or under it. If there is mud, get muddy. If there is water, get wet. If there is a tree down, find a way over it. This isn’t just about the environment. It’s about challenging yourself.
- Study the course maps and be prepared before the race begins.
- Obey all traffic laws and yield to motorists. We will be running for about 5 miles on a gravel road. Stay to the side and yield to traffic! This is for your safety, the safety of motorists, and for the integrity of our event.
- Be respectful and courteous of each other. If you need to pass another runner you must announce your intent to do so. If you are being passed, step aside and let the other runner by when you feel safe enough to do so.
- Be respectful of campers and hikers. We do not have exclusive access to any part of the race course. There will be hikers and campers. You represent yourselves, Next Opportunity Events, and the larger trail running community; so be polite and share the trails with our fellow adventurers.
- Be respectful to and obey all race volunteers. Thank the aid station crews and obey the orders of the course marshals. They want you to have a great time, but above all they want you to be safe. Obey their instruction or be disqualified.
- Take nothing. Leave nothing. Leave no trace of your presence in the Red River Gorge by taking any trash out with you. Do not pick or otherwise deface any plant life. We want this forest to look just like it did pre-race when we leave on Saturday night. Any runner caught littering in the forest will be disqualified.
- BE EXTREMELY CAUTIOUS. The cliffs in the Red River Gorge are beautiful but dangerous. STAY ON COURSE and proceed with extreme caution when near any cliffs.
- Leave no injured runner behind. Help your fellow competitors. If you come upon an injured runner, help them if you can or run to the nearest race official. Tell the race official the injured runner’s location, bib number, and nature of the injury.
- All runners must carry their own hydration system. Rough is a "cupless" race. That means that we will not have any cups available to you at aid stations. You must carry your own cup, bottle, or bladder to hold fluids. This approach accomplishes two things: this reduces the amount of waste created by our race and it forces you as the participant to have fluids with you at all times to mitigate the risk of dehydration. No runner will be allowed to start the race without the capacity to carry at least 20 ounces of fluid. If you come into any aid station and don't have a fluid container you will be pulled from the race and disqualified.
- No crews or pacers will be allowed.
- All runners must check in and check out of every aid station. This is for your safety so we don't leave anyone out on the trails. This will also ensure the integrity of our race. Any runner who fails to check in/out of any aid station will not receive an official finish time. No awards will be issued until we have verified that you checked in and out of every aid station and therefore ran the entire course.
- Anything left behind after the race will be donated to charity. Any personal items left behind after the event will be kept for 30 days then donated to charity. We WILL NOT mail or ship anything back to you under any circumstances. Please keep track of your personal belongings during the event.
- No pets are allowed at the race. This includes dogs on or off leash. Per regulations related to our USATF event sanction and Next Opportunity insurance policies pets are prohibited on the race course and at the race site for the duration of that event. This includes on the race course, all aid stations, and Koomer Ridge Campground. We love our doggies, but they'll have to miss out on Rough.
- All aid station and finish line cut-offs will be strictly enforced. Any runner not out of an aid station before that aid station's cut-off will be pulled from the course and given a DNF as his or her finish time. If a runner disregards race volunteers' instructions to stop running after a cut-off, the runner will be disqualified. Any runner regardless of distance or circumstance not through the finish line by 5pm exactly according to the official race clock will be disqualified. No exceptions.
A STRICT 10-HOUR COURSE CUT-OFF WILL BE ENFORCED FOR THE ENTIRE EVENT!!!!! That means that every runner (50k and 25k) needs to be off the course by 5pm.
+ I've never done a trail race before. Can I do Rough?
The short answer is yes, but you need to think long and hard about what you are getting yourself into. This SHOULD NOT be your first trail race. This is a tough course with a lot of elevation change and very technical trails. You'll be running along some gorgeous but down right dangerous cliff lines. Rough Trail itself is a long stretch without any aid stations and limited access for emergency personnel. We believe that the only things holding you back are your own limitations. This race exists to give you the opportunity to go beyond those limits and find out just how far you can go. You can do this race, but you need to be prepared for a long, hard day!
+ How long do I have to complete the race?
A strict 10-hour course cut-off will be enforced for the 50k and 8 hours for the 25k. This means that you MUST be off the trails by 5pm local time. This applies to both races. This is so that we can make sure everyone is back at the finish line before sun down.
+ Can we camp at the campground before or after the race?
Yes you can, but remember that all campgrounds operated by the US Forest Service such as Koomer Ridge Campground are first come, first served. No camp sites at Koomer Ridge Campground can be reserved. Camping is $10 per night per site, so get there early before the sites fill up!
+ What will the weather be like?
November weather in Kentucky is unpredictable at best. We'd recommend just being prepared for every possible scenario. It will likely be pretty cold at start time, but who knows what the afternoon might have in store.
+ Will I get wet?
Probably! There are a number of water crossings. Depending on how much rainfall we have in the days prior to the race the crossings could vary greatly in size. November is typically pretty dry in Kentucky, but be prepared to have wet feet.
We can't do what we do without our volunteers. If you would like to volunteer for the 2017 Rough Trail Ultramarathon, click the button below. We need happy, energetic folks for a number of duties from aid station workers, parking attendants, base camp workers, course marking, and more. It doesn't matter if you have all day to volunteer or only 30 minutes. We'd love to have you with us.
All volunteers get a free shirt and 25% off any future individual Next Opportunity Events race. You can earn bigger discounts for working LONGER. Read our volunteer policy HERE.