Black Canyon 100k Race Info

Summary: Black Canyon 100k is a desert run with a mostly downhill course for the first half and rollers over the second half, as it’s point to point on the non-motorized Black Canyon Trail, featuring a mixture of single track trail with some very rocky, technical sections, jeep roads, and pieces of an old stagecoach route. Distances include 100k and 60k.

Race Details

Lessons Learned from Race Reports

  • Shuttle bus to the start since it’s point to point – have your plans for getting to the start set up well ahead of time
  • Stay up to date on any changes, as 2017 saw a last minute course change due to river flooding, so the course was changed to an out and back course, a very significant change for runners and crew
  • Tough to get in a rhythm with the snaking nature of a lot of the course. If the course is muddy, it’s hard to find a comfortable running rhythm.
  • Be prepared for anything with this race, as past years’ weather has been both very hot and very wet and cold, both making DNFs all the more likely.
  • Make sure you have gear for both hot and cold temperatures.
  • You’re running in the desert without cover, so bring whatever you can and use the aid station resources to make things easier on yourself.
  • Be conservative on the technical sections in the beginning, especially since these might feel easier because of the gradual downhill, as it will help save your legs for the latter miles.
  • Single track starts pretty early in the race, so it helps to be closer to the front if you’re really looking to be competitive.
  • The race is a tale of 2 halves, with the first 50k losing about 2000 feet of elevation, and the second 50k being much more rolling
  • Very little shade on the course, if any, so completely exposed to elements, which can be tough in both hot and cold conditions
  • The combination of a more challenging second half of the course with hotter, exposed conditions (unless it’s an off year with rain and clouds), along with some technical, rocky terrain, makes this a deceivingly hard course.
  • Be sure to have your headlamp for the latter miles of the race
  • Several race reports indicating runners taking too little water from the aid station and running out between aid
  • If it’s hot, use the ice provided at aid stations
  • The rocky sections are full of loose rocks that roll all over the place, making foot placement quite difficult and causing falls and ankle rolls
  • Pee right before you get on the bus shuttle to the start, because it’s a long ride and everyone will have to pee the moment you get off

Rough course description:

  1. First five miles have gentle rollers
    1. Starts around a track, then 2 miles on paved road and one on dirt before connecting to single track trail.
  2. Miles 5 – 13 are all downhill
  3. Miles 13 – 16 are mostly flat, before going back downhill to mile 20
  4. 300ft climb from 20-21, then mostly flat or slightly down to 27 (this is where heat can typically set in)
  5. Steep descent from 27 to 29.5, then rollers to 40
  6. 40-42 has the steepest climb of the day, gaining 659 ft
  7. Downhill from 42 to 50, then another climb from 50-55 (about 600 ft over 5 miles)
  8. Rolling for the next 3 miles, before going down to the finish


Total gain/loss: 7,000/8,898

Ft/mile gain: 112.5

Total climbs: 2x700ft (~miles 40-42 and miles 50-55), 6×100-200ft climbs, countless rollers

Longest climb: ~700ft from miles 50-55

Steepest climb: ~700ft from miles 40-42 (several short, steep climbs throughout)

Elevation profile: BC100KProfile2015.png

Aid stations

Total aid stations: 9 (not including start and finish)

Furthest distance apart: 8.8 miles

Locations: 7.3, 12.5, 19.2, 23.7, 31.2, 37.4, 46.2, 50.9, 58.6 (Bold indicates crew accessible)

What’s available: Typical aid station fare including water, electrolyte drink, sweet snacks, salty snacks, and fruit.

Crew access

Access Locations: Miles 7.3, 12.5, 19.2, 37.4, 50.9

Crew instructions/directions:


Permitted to start at the Black Canyon City (Mile 37.4) aid station. Pacers may switch out at the Table Mesa Aid Station (Mile 50.9).

Race qualifiers

Western States Qualifier – finish under 17 hours

Western States Golden Ticket Race – First 2 male and first 2 female finishers get auto entry into current year’s Western States 100 race.

Race reports

Chase P’s 2020 100k Race Report

Coach Deserae Clarke’s 2020 60k Race Report

Jeff U’s 2017 Race Report (out and back course because of weather) (good section by section course description and lots of photos at the bottom of the post)

Strava activities and GPX files

100K GPX

Race Website