August 30, 2020


The 20 Miler consists of one big clockwise loop, complete with breathtaking views throughout the course. Runners will be treated to incredible vistas of Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood, as well as the majestic Mt. Margaret Backcountry and its many lakes, creeks, craggy ridgelines and miles of sweet single-track. 

Total elevation gain is 4,800ft and loss is 4,800ft.  Approximately 98% of the course is on single-track trails. The course has two full aid stations.  


  • RACE DATE: SUNDAY, AUGUST 30, 2020 (Pending US Forest Service permit approval)

  • BIB PICKUP/CHECK-IN: 6:45-7:45AM

  • BRIEFING: 7:50AM at Start Line

  • RACE START: 8:00AM

  • CUT-OFF: 12:00PM at Johnston Ridge Aid Station

  • FINAL CUT-OFF: 2:00PM at Finish Line


Due to the remote, mountainous nature of the course and significant distance between some aid stations, all 20-mile participants must bring capacity for 20 ounces of fluids/water during the race, which will be verified at race day check-in. A lightweight jacket is also recommended in case of inclement/shifting weather, a common occurrence in the region. 


Click on the map for a high resolution copy. Here is a link to the course gpx data file for use in your navigation app of choice.



There are two aid stations, with the first being hiked in by our enthusiastic and experienced volunteers. Be sure to express your appreciation for their support during the race! All aid stations will be well stocked with water, Tailwind energy drink, Skout Backcountry trail bars, GU energy gels, PB&J sandwiches, soda, various fruit options, chips, gummi bears, a variety of other ultra fare and basic first aid supplies. All Daybreak races are cupless, so be sure to bring your own cup for liquid at aid stations.  

Aid Station Total Distance (mi) To Next Aid (mi) Crew Cutoff
Start 0 5.0 Yes --
#1 - Coldwater Creek 5.0 8.8 No --
#2 - Johnston Ridge Observatory 13.8 6.9 Yes 12:00 PM
Finish 20.7 -- Yes 2:00 PM


Start to Aid Station 1 (Coldwater Creek): 5.0 miles. Starting from the courtyard of the Science & Learning Center, runners make a quick clockwise loop of the parking area to thin the group before joining the Elk Bench Trail for a .75 mile singletrack descent down to Coldwater Lake and a left turn onto the Lakes Trail. Runners follow the serene, rolling Lakes Trail along the lake shore to Aid Station 1 at mile 5.0. Watch for soaring bald eagles scanning for fish and beavers in their lodge near the upper reaches of the lake.  Overall, this section is very runnable with some brief rocky areas. Be sure to top off your fluids and thank these volunteers for their hike-in effort! Also, did you know Coldwater Lake used to be the Coldwater Creek canyon, but filled into a lake after the creek outlet was dammed by the massive landslide during the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens?!

Aid Station 1 (Coldwater Creek) to Aid Station 2 (Johnston Ridge): 8.8 miles. Upon leaving Aid Station 1, runners cross a footbridge over Coldwater Creek and immediately begin a stout 2600’ climb up the Coldwater Trail over the next 4.3 miles. This trail section is a mix of runnable and hilly dirt trail down low, with some steep rocky sections and loose, volcanic sandy soils up high. This section begins with incredible views up the Coldwater Canyon and its surrounding jagged peaks, followed by sweeping panoramas of Coldwater Peak, Mt. St. Helens and its blast zone in the upper reaches. Pause along the way to scan for large herds of elk in open areas below the trail, and mountain goats on the rocky ridges. Upon merging onto the Boundary Trail 4.3 miles from Aid Station 1, runners reach St. Helens Lake, Coldwater Peak and its adjacent rock arch-- yes, you will run through it! After the arch is a minor climb, then a thrilling 2-mile descent down to Harry’s Ridge, followed by 2.5 miles of rocky, rolling trail in the desert-like blast zone before arriving at Johnston Ridge Observatory parking area and Aid Station 3. This will be a large aid station with crew and spectators welcome.

Aid Station 2 (Johnston Ridge) to Finish: 6.9 miles. Mt. St. Helens looms large and uninterrupted along the 4 mile descent down Johnston Ridge on the Boundary Trail to the Hummocks Trailhead-- “Hummocks” are literally giant chunks of Mt. St Helens that blew away during the 1980 eruption, creating giant mounds and wetland ponds as a result. Upon reaching Hummocks Trailhead parking area, runners cross Spirit Lake Hwy (Hwy 504) over to Coldwater Boat Launch day-use area and reconnect onto the Lakes Trail. Runners then follow the Lakes Trail for 0.8 mile back to the junction with Elk Bench Trail for the 0.8 mile, 500’ climb back up to the Science & Learning Center for the race finish!


Crew and spectators are welcome and encouraged at Johnston Ridge Aid Station and the Start/Finish area only. Be courteous with parking and sounds levels, as we must not create any complaints from other visitors to the Monument.


There will be no drop bags available.


Our permit does not allow pacers. No dogs or other pets are allowed on course or within the boundaries of the National Monument.


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.