The Rough Trail 50K 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 50K 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 50K 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 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.
Overall male and female champions of the Rough Trail 50K receive FREE ENTRY into next year's race to defend your crown!
*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
50K Elevation Profile
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
Red River Gorge Cabin Rentals
Rough Trail runners receive 20% off their luxurious cabins and yurts for race weekend. Call (844) 692-2246 and mention the "Rough Trail 50K" to receive your discount. Check out all of their great properties below.
Natural Bridge Cabin Company
Rough Trail runners receive $10 off your reservation OR a third night 50% off. Call them today at (606)663-3700 to reserve.
There are many other hotels, motels, and luxury cabins in Red River Gorge. Check out www.redrivergorgeguide.com to see everything that The Red has to offer.
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. Runners who miss the finish line cut-off will receive a DNF as his or her finish time and will not receive a finisher award. 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.
+ Do I still get a finisher's award if I make all the aid station cut offs but miss the finish line cut off?
No. To officially finish the race a runner must run the entire race course within the allotted time. Even if you run the full distance you must also do so within the official time limits to receive an official finishing time or finisher award.
+ Are there restrooms on the course?
No. There are restrooms at the start and finish lines.
+ 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!
If you would like to volunteer for the 2018 Rough Trail 50K, 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. You must volunteer at least two hours to receive race discounts. We'd love to have you with us.
*Read our volunteer policy HERE.
Other Volunteer Opportunities
Race Command Support
Assist with race timing, set up and tear down, communications, finish line support, and more. Run errands as needed, hand out medals, and generally ensure a positive finish line experience.
The course sweepers are critical to the safety of runners. Sweepers follow the last runner ensuring everyone stays ahead of the race cut offs and that no one gets left behind.
Like being out in the woods? Course marshals are out on the course at important intersections directing runners in the right direction. You make sure no one gets lost!
Aid Station Volunteer Opportunities
Auxier Ridge Aid Station
Location: Auxier Ridge Parking Area, Tunnel Ridge Rd
Volunteers Needed: 4-5 at all times
Time Open/Closed: 645am-12pm
Gray’s Arch Aid Station
Location: Gray’s Arch Picnic Area, Tunnel Ridge Rd
Volunteers Needed: 4-5 at all times
Time Open/Closed: 845am-12pm
Martin’s Fork Aid Station
Location: Martins Fork Trailhead, Hwy 77
Volunteers Needed: 3-4 at all times
Time Open/Closed: 7am-130pm
Sky Bridge Rd. Aid Station
Location: Rough Trail Trailhead, Sky Bridge Road
Volunteers Needed: 2-3 at all times
Time Open/Closed: 9am-3pm
Chimney Top Aid Station
Location: Rough Trail Parking Lot, Chimney Top Road
Volunteers Needed: 4-6 at all times
Time Open/Closed: 830am-4pm