50K & 20 Mile trail runs in the wild backcountry of Mt. St. Helens
September 7, 2019



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 on the north side of the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument 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. 

Backcountry Rise includes 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 originally designed as an observatory, perched on the slopes above Coldwater Lake. Each race offers big climbs, sweeping descents and stunning ridgeline views of the surrounding Cascade Volcanoes, high mountain lakes, rushing creeks and abundant wildlife, especially resident mountain goats, elk and many more. 



Event Jan 1 - Feb 14, 2019 Feb 15 - Mar 31, 2019 (If Available) Apr 1 - Aug 24, 2019 (If Available)
50K $125 $140 $150
20 Mile $80 $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 starts.

  • 20 Mile: 9:00AM Start; 8:45AM prerace briefing; 7:30AM check-in starts.



The races are located inside the Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest in Washington State. 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 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.


CAMP WITH US! We will have exclusive use of the Science & Learning Center site the night before the race and all day on race day! Parking, camping and use of the Center are included in the race registration fee. The Center is a full commercial facility, with running water and flush toilets, plus plenty of day-use indoor space including a kitchen and indoor/outdoor dining and viewing area.

There are two camping options: Car camping is available in the large paved parking lot, and there is also adjacent walk-in field camping available with tent sites for 100 people-- first come, first served. There are RV parking spaces (no hookups) in the upper areas of the parking lot as well. 

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. 


Race day check-in is required of all runners. Bring your mandatory gear with you. Bib pickup/check-in will begin inside the main pavilion of the Science & Learning Center as follows:  50K - 5:45-6:45AM; 20 Miler - 7:15-8:45AM.



Due to the remote, mountainous nature of the course and significant distance between some aid stations, all runners must have the following minimum gear during the race, and 50K runners must have run at least one 50K (or longer) race prior to race day. All gear will be verified at race day check-in:

  • 50K:

    • Capacity for 40 ounces of fluids/water or more.

    • Lightweight jacket

    • Prior ultra race finish

  • 20 Miler: 

    • Capacity for 20 ounces of fluids/water.


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 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 per meal. 


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.