50K & 20 Mile Trail Runs
September 1, 2018



Welcome to a majestic backcountry rising from the ashes of the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens. With its sapphire lakes, rugged, toothy peaks and wildflower-blanketed slopes, the Mt. Margaret Backcountry north of Mt. St. Helens provides an unforgettably unique and stunning trail race experience. The power and resilience of Mother Nature is truly on full display here in the backcountry. 

The Backcountry Rise Trail Runs include two different challenging and remote loop courses: a 50K and a 20 miler. Both distances start and finish at the spectacular Mt. St. Helens Science & Learning Center, itself a destination venue perched on the slopes above Coldwater Lake inside the National Volcanic Monument. Each race offers big climbs, sweeping descents and stunning ridgeline views of the surrounding Cascade Volcanoes. Course highlights also include several stunning mountain lakes, rushing creeks and abundant wildlife, especially resident mountain goats, elk and many more. 



Event 1/1/18 - 2/28/18 3/1/18 - 4/30/18 5/1/18 - 8/24/18 Bib Pickup & Race Day (If Available)
50K $120 $135 $140 $150
20 Mile $75 $90 $95 $105
*Race fee does not include a race shirt or other add ons.



  • 50K: 7:00AM Start; 6:45AM prerace briefing; 5:45AM check-in.
  • 20 Mile: 9:00AM Start; 8:45AM prerace briefing; 7:30AM check-in


Both races start and finish at the Mt. St. Helens Science & Learning Center, which serves as our base camp and gateway into the Mt. Margaret Backcountry. The races are located inside the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. 


The Mt. St. Helens Science & Learning Center is located at milepost 43.3 on State Hwy 504 (Spirit Lake Hwy). The nearest town is Toutle, WA.

Google Map directions to the Science & Learning Center: Seattle and Portland. Allow 2 hours drive time from Portland or 3 hours from Seattle.

From Seattle: Follow I-5 S to exit 63. Take State Hwy 505 East and follow for 16.4 miles, then turn east onto State Hwy 504 East for 28.2 miles to the Science and Learning Center.
From Portland: Follow I-5 N to exit 49 in Castle Rock. Follow Hwy 504 East for 43.1 miles to the Science and Learning Center.

Nearest major airports are Portland (PDX) and Seattle/Tacoma (SEA).

Stunning views abound of Mt. St. Helens at the start/finish area at the Science & Learning Center.


We will have exclusive use of the Science & Learning Center for race weekend! Car camping in the large paved parking lot is available for participants the night before the race. There is also walk-in field camping a short distance from the parking lot that has sites for 100 people-- first come, first served. The Science & Learning Center has lots of indoor space, running water, flush toilets, a kitchen and an indoor/outdoor dining area. Parking, car camping and use of the Science & Learning Center are included in the race registration fee. 

The nearest hotel lodging is in Castle Rock, WA which is 50 minutes from the start/finish. There are some camping opportunities in the Silver Lake, WA area as well.

Pet Policy: The U.S. Forest Service prohibits pets inside the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. While we love our 4-legged friends, please plan to not bring them to the event. 


This is a tough race, hands down. Get the training prep needed for a successful race from Wy'east Wolfpack! They have first-hand knowledge of the courses and provide exceptional training and coaching services. 


There will be an optional bib pickup event at Seven Hills Running Shop in Seattle on Sunday, August 26 from 11AM-3PM! If you can't make it to packet pickup, you can get your stuff on race morning. Race day bib pickup will begin inside the main pavilion of the Science & Learning Center as follows:  50K - 5:45-6:45AM; 20 Mile - 7:15-8:45AM.



Our race t-shirts and hats are from Territory Run Co., based in Portland, Oregon! The shirts are a cozy 50/50 blend with the race logo on the front. Race hats are made of soft and light moisture-wicking materials with the race logo. Race shirts and hats are not included in the race entry fee and are both available for $25 each. Shirts and hats must be picked up at race check-in or packet pick-up, no exceptions. All unclaimed shirts will be sold on race weekend. Remaining shirts and hats will be sold on race day.


An optional spaghetti dinner will be available to all interested participants and volunteers on Friday night before the race from 6PM-8PM inside the Science and Learning Center dining area. For an accurate head count, please sign up for the dinner during registration if desired. There will be veggie and meat sauce options. Spectators can join in, but will need to bring $5 cash for the dinner. 


Stay and enjoy the Science & Learning Center while we cheer on all the race finishers! A post race meal, beverages and live music are available after the races for all participants and volunteers. Family and friends are welcome to eat and drink for a $10 cash contribution per person, payable in cash only at the merchandise table. 


  • All participants receive a sweet custom award as they finish their race.
  • A raffle of some awesome sponsor swag will be held while runners are out on the course! Prizes will be given to raffle winners as they finish their race. 
  • The top 3 female and top 3 male finishers of each race will receive some fantastic awards from our great sponsors.


Daybreak Racing loves to give back to the community and each of our races has a beneficiary. The race beneficiary is the Mt. St. Helens Institute, whose mission is to advance understanding and stewardship of the earth through science, education, and exploration of volcanic landscapes. 


Check the latest local weather here.


See the Daybreak Racing Cancellation Policy.

This event is granted by a Special Use Permit through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest Service, U.S. Forest Service. In accordance with Federal law and U.S. Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.