50k Course Description

The Cumberland Trail 50k is a point-to-point trail race that begins at the Cave Branch Trailhead and proceeds northeast along the Cumberland Trail until arriving at Cove Lake State Park in Caryville, TN. The actual distance is slightly less than a 50k, but will challenge even the experienced ultra-runner as it traverses more than 7,000 ft of gain over what is some of the wildest and most remote terrain in Tennessee. Runners will be treated to miles of technical singletrack with unique rock formations, seasonal mountain streams, scenic vistas and the chance of elk sightings. The course offers a multitude of challenging climbs, including Lawson and Anderson Mountains, with climbs of more than 1,250 ft and culminating with a 1,560 ft climb up Cross Mountain to the highest point on the Cumberland Trail. The race concludes with an overall descent into a mountain valley with a relatively flat and runnable finish at picturesque Cove Lake State Park.

* There is a 10.5 hour cutoff time for the Cumberland Trail 50k
* Proceeds from the race will benefit the Friends of the Cumberland Trail, for the protection and preservation of the Cumberland Trail

Race Day Details

When: Saturday September 22, 2018
Packet Pickup/Check-in/Shuttle : Cove Lake State Park (Swimming Pool) – 5:00 AM – 6:00 AM
Start: Norma Road Trailhead @ 7:30 AM
Start: Cave Branch Trailhead
Finish: Cove Lake State ParkMap to Finish Line

Distance: 29.5 miles
Ascent: 7,199 ft
Descent: 7,314 ft

90%+ singletrack trail
9% doubletrack / old logging roads
1% paved greenway

Race Day Check-in and Shuttle

Check-in will be at the Cove Lake State Park pool parking lot from 5:00-6:00 a.m. Since the 50k is a point-to-point course, runners will be shuttled from the race check-in at Cove Lake State Park to the start (Cave Branch Trailhead). The shuttle will leave Cove Lake at at 6:00 a.m. for a 7:30 a.m. start. Runners can leave a few labeled items with a race official to be transported back to the finish.

Course Map

View Interactive Map Download GPX File

Course Markings

The course follows the Cumberland Trail for the majority of the race, which can be navigated by watching for white blazes which often turn unexpectedly. Signage and flagging will be strategically placed at locations that could be confusing to runners.

Aid Stations

There are six fully stocked aid stations located along the 50k course as well as aid provided at the finish. Each aid station will be supplied with water, Sword electrolyte drink, gels, snacks, and basic first aid.

Start: 0.0 – Cave Branch Trailhead (7:30 AM)
Aid #1: 6.4 – Lick Creek Mountain Aid Station (Cut-Off Time: 9:53 AM / 2 hrs 23 min.)
Aid #2: 9.5 – Lick Creek Mountain Aid Station (Cut-off Time: 11:09 AM / 3 hrs 39 min.)
Aid #3: 12.5 – Norma Road Aid Station (Cut-Off Time: 12:05 PM / 4 hrs 35 min.)
Aid #4: 17.5 – Lower Elk Meadow Aid Station (Cut-Off Time: 1:50 PM / 6 hrs. 20 min.)
Aid #5: 23.3 – Carroll Road Aid Station (Cut-Off Time: 3:41 PM / 8 hrs. 16 min.)
Aid #6: 25 – Tower Road Aid Station (Cut-Off Time: 4:24 PM / 8 hrs 54 min.)
Finish: 29.5 – Cove Lake State Park (Cut-Off Time: 6:00 PM/10 hrs 30 min.)

*Note: Cut-off times reflect the deadlines for LEAVING the aid station.


We will have unique awards for the top male and female finishers. All 50k finishers will receive a finishers award.

Notable Race Policies

  • The 50k is a cup-free race. Each runner is responsible for bringing their own reusable cup or water bottle.
  • Cut-off times will be strictly enforced for the safety of the runners and the volunteers.
  • Runners must check into and out of each aid station.
  • Any runner wishing to drop from the race must inform the nearest aid station captain.
  • Runners must follow the marked trail at all times. Any runner departing from the official trail must return to the point of departure on foot before continuing.
  • There will be no crewing/pacing of runners permitted.

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