Stats: 19.76 Miles, 5200' Ascent, 5200' Descent.  These measurements generated by Topofusion on the GPX track seen in the map below.

Start: 8:00 AM

Cutoffs: (distances measured by Topofusion mapping software)
Cutoffs for the 20 Mile Race are the same as for the 40 Mile Race...except you have all day to go half the distance.  Everyone should be able to make it with lots of time to spare.  Plenty of time for picture taking at Louie Lake.
1. Boulder Lakes Trailhead:  6:00 PM.  12.0 miles.
2. Finish at Jug Mountain Ranch: 8:30 PM.  19.76 miles.


The Course...

JMR Singletrack
Begin on the main access road used to enter the JMR backcountry- called "Mainline."  After a few hundred yards, veer right onto a very narrow singletrack called Doubleshot.  (Do not ever go up or down this trail on foot except on raceday). This trail was climbed at the beginning of the races in 2012 and is back by popular demand.  The climb starts steep and gets steeper.  This is a double black diamond mountain bike trail.  Banked turns and rocks will slow you to a crawl.  By the 1 mile mark (on top at the flagpole), you will have climbed over 600' vertical feet to your first summit.  Follow nice singletrack down to "Murphy Junction" then up a Forest Road a shorts way to Reservoir Junction.  This begins the new Upper Jug Reservoir Trail.  This wraps around the shore of the Reservoir for 1.25 gorgeous miles.
Rolling terrain over a shady ATV track brings you to Lower Jug Reservoir.  Turn right and climb steeply for 500 vertical feet for three-quarters of a mile to the quaint aid station at Jug Meadows Saddle.  From here, 10 milers will descend the hill you just climbed, then head for home.  20 and 40 milers will continue on into the hills.

Upper Jug Reservoir.  5570'.  The new Reservoir Trail runs through the forest along the far side of this pic.

Louie Lake Loop

Louie Lake Dam with Jughandle Mountain above. New Aid Station will be at the spot this photo was taken.
A true McCall Classic.  From the Jug Meadows Saddle Aid Station, climb Southeast on a steep ATV trail to Jug Meadows.  Turn left on the main Forest Road through Jug Meadows.  After about a quarter mile, go left onto an old logging road which phases out into a short grassy cross country slope and becomes a nice singletrack through the forest directly under Jughandle Mountain.  This is the Jug-A-Lou Trail.  20Milers will continue traversing about one mile total on this singletrack, climbing and descending towards Louie Lake.    (NOTE:  40 Milers do not take the Jug-A-Lou, they continue past it.)  20Milers will arrive on the small earthen dam of Louie Lake (7004‘) and admire the breathtaking view.  We will have a new aid station here to serve 20 and 40 milers.  Nestled in the granite cirque below the north face of Jughandle Mountain, Louie Lake is truly a special place.  A rugged singletrack traverses the north shore before beginning an arduous 700‘ ascent past the Twin Peaks.  As you reach your lactic threshold, steal a quick glance at Jughandle Mountain behind you...ridiculous alpine slendor!  Finally, the saddle- 20 mile highpoint- signals the end of the climbing and the beginning of a long downhill into the Boulder Creek drainage.  Down-down-down you go-quads-a-screaming-NO-NO-NO.  Abundant lupines should be in peak bloom during the race, and the entire hillside will appear as a purple carpet.  Reach a flat, forested trail traversing the south shore of the glacial Boulder Lake (6973') for about 1 mile.  Enjoy this flatness and stretch those legs out.  This is all the flat you get!  Drop past Boulder Lake’s small stone dam into the ultra-steep drainage of rushing Boulder Creek.   Switchbacks, big step downs and boulders bring you to the rocky shores of Boulder Meadows Reservoir (6269‘).  Reach the trailhead just under the Boulder Reservoir Dam, go west for a few hundred yards on the Boulder Lake Road and reunite with your crew  at the Boulder Lakes Trailhead (BLT) Aid Station.  Climb a steep singletrack for a half mile to reach the old Louie Lake Jeep Road.  GO LEFT on the Jeep Road for about 100 YARDS.  Make a RIGHT TURN into the forest and descend a tight singletrack trail for about a half mile.  At the bottom, the trail joins a wider trail as you veer right.  Follow this wider trail for about 1 mile.  Make a sharp left and cross the cool Louie Creek- about 10 feet across.  RACERS HAVE MISSED THIS TURN IN THE PAST.  You can finagle a way to keep the feet dry on logs, but by this point, you will probably like a quick soak.  Ascend very briefly to a fork- stay left- and within 200 yards reach the site of the Jug Meadows Saddle Aid Station (now an unmanned water only station).
Miss Katie descends through a peak bloom of Lupines.
Return to JMR (Minor changes to final 1.3 mi for 2019 to finish at the Campsite area.)
From the Aid Station, descend the hill you just climbed. At the bottom, cross the dirt road and descend a short, steep embankment down to the Lower Jug Reservoir Dam.  Cross the dam on an ATV trail and enjoy rolling and shady trail through the deep timber.  A short descent will bring you back to the Upper Reservoir.  From here, enter the Vandelay Trail.  This 3+ mi trail has been used in the beginning of the races in past years.  This beautiful, shaded trail will test you with twists and turns with rocks and roots, while descending but still stinging you with short, painful uphills.  Vandelay flows nicely into Harper's Hollow Trail and deposits you at the Campsite area on Boulder Creek where the finish line party will be waiting.

Congrats...that's a tough 20 mile mountain run you just completed.  Come back next year for the 40.  If you liked the style of this 20 mile...try this 30K in September.


  1. Very excited about this! Question: Are poles allowed in the race? (ankles). Trying to determine appropriate race length.

  2. Yes, poles are just fine. Some of our trails are tight and technical, so be careful around other runners and be sure to practice on this type of terrain with the poles.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.