The Eastern Divide is a point-to-point race. Racers will park their cars at the finish (Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures- Returning to our original space for 2022!) and be shuttled to the Cascades trail head near Pembroke. Here racers will check in. If you are dropped off here please do not leave your car. We have promised the USFS that we will keep racers from parking so we can continue to use the facilities.
The start is along the Cascades Trail and climbs towards the falls. Racers will drop down to the falls and climb back to the top of Butt Mountain. After 4 miles racers leave single track and turn left on the Butt Mt. fire road. This is AS1. Last year there were rumors of bacon and a pick-me-up-drink. Will see what the volunteers have in store. The climb is not quite done as racers need to make it to the tippy top of Butt Mt. The next several miles are rarely used forest roads that are the home to many migratory birds and tall ferns. AS2 is at the cross roads of Butt Mt. fire road at Bailey Gap. The Appalachian Trail passes close by and is a great section to run on another day. After AS2 runners travel down hill to Rocky Mt. Road. This road meanders along the back side of the mountains towards wind rock. This section offers great views towards WV and beyond. AS3 is towards the end of this road before you begin your climbing to Wind Rock. After AS3 it is approximately 3.5 miles to AS4 and the top of Wind Rock. The climb is two miles long and is very runnable. After AS4 is is 4 fast miles to the single track of Mountain Lake. This is where you will find your drop bags. If you think you will be a 8.5+ hour finisher, we recommend picking up your headlamp here! AS5 is heavily stocked with friendly faces and food and marks the beginning of ups and downs, rocks and roots, and fern lined single track. AS6 is just after a long section through a large mountain top meadow. Runners then finish up, still running among waist high ferns, at the Mountain Lake TreeTop Adventures base. We'll be waiting there for you, passing out high-fives like it's our job!
Don't let the amount of fire road alarm you. These roads are lightly traveled and are in the middle of nowhere. Most of the roads are lined with ferns and boulders with large Hemlocks looming above. Plenty of large holes that you will have to leap around. Check out the map page or buy the Trails Illustrated Blacksburg/New River Valley map. All mileage is approximate:AS1 4 miles (no crew) AS2 8.75 miles (no crew) AS3 16 miles (no crew) AS4 19 miles (crew/drop bag) AS5 22 miles (crew/5.5 hour cutoff) AS6 26 miles (no crew) AID STATIONS will be stocked with the following (some will have all of the below and all will have Tailwind, Water, Honey Stinger, Endurolytes):
Starting in 2018, Eastern Divide went CUPLESS. In an effort to be more sustainable and be friendly towards the environment, the Eastern Divide Ultra is now a cupless race. All runners will need to carry their own reusable cup throughout the race to use at aid stations. If you do not have one already, you have the option to purchase one of our TrailAdventure cups when registering and it will be waiting for you at packet pick-up. Tailwind Honey Stinger Water Soda Electrodelytes Chocolate PB&Js Chips Granola bars Fruit (oranges, banans, apples) and more...
CUTOFF: All runners must make it to AS5 (~22miles) in 5.5 hours. Runners will be directed towards their cars and finish area which is a short walk from this aid station. Please do not continue if you do not make the time cut. This is for yours and other racers safety.
Course Preview #1 - Mountain Lake Trails
We'll meet at RunAbout Sports in Blacksburg, VA at 8am OR you can meet us at the Day Use Lot just below Mountain Lake's Tree Top Adventures at 9am.
We'll run the last 8 miles of the course. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks.
Course Preview #2 - Cascades
We'll meet just outside of Walkabout Outfitter in Blacksburg, VA at 8am OR you can meet us at the Cascades' parking lot at 9am. Parking is $3 cash.
This run will start at the starting area of the course and run past aid station #1. We'll continue up to the top of Butt Mountain and then head back. Should be 8-10 miles round trip. Be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks.
Top Male and Female finishers:
King & Queen of the Mountain-HEFTY RunAbout Sports GC to the first male and female to Aid Station 1 (must finish race before cut-offs). 4 miles and nearly 2000' of climbing. It is a gamble because you may have nothing left for the rest of the race but it is good money. .
Packet pick-up will be on FRIDAY at Walkabout Outfitter in Blacksburg, VA from 5-7pm (race meeting at 6:30 unless COVID dictates otherwise) and at the start Saturday morning (Cascades) at 6:40am. If you must pick up your number the morning of the race please make sure you are on the first bus down. Remember, the morning of packet pick-up is at the start, not where you park your car.
Racers are not allowed to leave a car at the start. Please park at the
finish (at Mountain Lake Treetop Adventures) and we will shuttle you to the start. We have three large Giles County school buses. The buses will be
leaving at 6:15am and will not wait for late comers. Since it might still
be dark, please use caution while parking and leave room for others. The
road into the parking area is one way in the morning so please make sure
you have everything with you.
All racers must check in at the start. The start is as close to 7:30am
Crewing will ONLY be allowed at aid stations 4 and 5. We will
provide a 1 gallon Ziploc bag to be used as a drop bag. Drop bags will be
at aid station 4 only. Please make sure your number is on your drop bag.
Please leave your drop bag at the parking area before you load onto the
bus. Drop bags will be brought back to the finish once all runners have passed
through AS 4.
Please only drive on Rt. 613 to reach your runners if absolutely necessary.
Cars are prohibited on the Mountain Lake Conservancy trails and forest roads.
Feel free to run the final miles with your runners.
The course will be marked clearly with arrows, ribbon and people. Run
with your head up and you will be fine. Run with your head down and you
will still be fine.
Check out the maps here and on FB. The mileage on the maps
will not be 100% accurate. It is ~22 miles to AS5 and the start of the
Mountain Lake Conservancy section. AS5 to the finish is ~9 miles. That
gives you a total of 30.2 miles and yes, a little short, but I promise you
will feel satisfied. Garmins will not give accurate mileage. They will read short.
And there are many more miles of trail in the area if you are looking for a few more miles!
Lodging and Camping:
There are a number of hotels in Giles County near the start/finish here.
-Blacksburg/Christiansburg Hotels-only a 30 minute drive to the start/finish/shuttle.
Friday packet pick up is located in Blacksburg near many of these hotels. For something small and local, consider the Clay Corner Inn.
- Mountain Lake Lodge has ample room and is right at the finish line - no need for a long drive to the race on race day when you can stay right there.
-CAMPING-There is no camping at the start/finish/shuttle but the camping is near by. Only one mile past Mountain Lake there is the Jefferson National Forest. 6 miles past Mountain Lake is the White Rocks Campground.