High Lonesome 100

[All: 1 Avg.: 5]


100 Miles

Race Type



Very Difficult


23,500 ft.

Highest Elevation



THE HIGH LONESOME 100 is an ultramarathon that loops the southern end of Colorado’s Sawatch Range. With views that are matched only by its difficulty, this race is designed to take a runner’s breath away in every way.
Brandon Yonke
Kaitlyn Yonke

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How to Run High Lonesome 100

Start to St. Elmo

Mile 0 - 25.5

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Start to Raspberry Gulch

Begin in a large field on CR 321. This field is privately leased and is not open to the public except for on race weekend. The start takes you straight out of the field and turns left onto CR 321. Descend a big hill into the Princeton Hot Springs area, and go right at the stop sign. Follow the road, crossing a drainage dip, and then making a left onto CR 290, a dirt road that begins on a slight downhill before crossing a bridge and river. The Colorado Trail begins about 1 mile up on the left.

You’ll begin climbing 800’ almost immediately on the Colorado Trail and parallel a stream as you go up a steep, at times rocky, hill. The hill tapers out briefly for a “false summit” on a tabletop that offers panoramic views of the Princeton/Chalk Creek and Wilderness areas. Follow what is now a sandy climb to the top of the hill. Things quickly turn back to smooth dirt trail.

Stay on the Colorado Trail at every intersection. You’ll drop a small hill with a hairpin turn and come to a grassy opening with a service road going through it near mile 7.3. Welcome to Raspberry Gulch Aid Station.

Raspberry Gulch to St. Elmo

Raspberry Gulch marks the start of the main climb at the High Lonesome 100. Enjoy the next mile or so of flat, grassy aspen fields. Reach a gate, open it, and begin a long climb into the sky. You’ll reach an intersection with a brown sign. Keep straight/right on Brown’s Creek Trail. You’ll be switchbacking for the first portion of it before it tapers into a mature-growth pine forest that closely parallels a stream. If you have a filter, this reliable source of water could be a great idea on this long, remote climb.

As you reach treeline, Mt. Antero (14,269’) will be on your right, and Mt. White (13,667’) on the left. Continue up the gulch, with the trail running right up the middle of it. The trail turns into a four wheel drive two track as you start cresting the mountain, which goes right, in the direction of Mt. Antero. Look for the wooden sign/billboard which marks the middle of the saddle of Antero’s mining road. This is the high point of the course, nearly 13,000ft.

Follow the mining road down. This road can be treacherous footing, as it is usually loose fist-size rocks all the way down. It’s a good idea to take it easy down this big descent to save your legs for later… and save your ankles. Enjoy views in every direction of the Sawatch Range. Continue on the main mining road in a northwest fashion. You’ll cross either a river, or, a large, rocky river bed, marking Baldwin Gulch. There is a sign about Mt. Antero on the left immediately after you cross – but keep descending the road to the right.

At the bottom of the mining road, you’ll reach Chalk Creek Road, a high-traffic 2WD dirt road. Go right, and then make a quick sharp left at the sign for the town of Alpine, about 100 yards up the road. You’ll cross a wide bridge going into Alpine and continue straight on the main dirt road as it wraps around Alpine Lake. This road is hot, exposed to the sun, and deceivingly rolly with a couple of sneaky climbs. Make sure you are drinking water.

When you reach a cemetery and a campground, you’re getting close to St. Elmo. There is a wide bridge at the end of the campground, and then you’ll make a short climb up the road to join with Chalk Creek Road again, staying right. St. Elmo will be immediately in view. Continue through this ghost town, taking the first right (Look for the old St. Elmo Fire sign/building… just after that) and cross the only bridge out of town. Go left after the bridge, passing a variety of vacation rental cabins. This road joins with Tincup road, which is straight/right at the fork you reach at the last cabin. Keep on this road, and about a quarter mile up is the trailhead, on your right, for Poplar Gulch. This is where the St. Elmo Aid Station is. 

St. Elmo to Cottonwood to Tincup

Miles 25 - 41

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From the St. Elmo Aid Station, you’ll back starting another significant climb. This trail is open to motorized dirt bike traffic. Heading up this south-facing gulch will be hot and exposed, so take time to fuel properly and be plenty hydrated. The beginning of the climb is a few long switchbacks, before you taper into the gulch and start moving in a more direct line. There may be some water on the trail from the creek that parallels it, depending on snowmelt. You might have wet shoes. There is a stream crossing that is easy to navigate, as you start to reach an opening in the forest and gain views of Law’s Pass, the unofficial name of the top of Poplar Gulch.

After treeline, you’ll have one switchback and a direct climb to Law’s Pass. Stop to take a moment to look around. Mountains are in every direction, and you might still be able to see some snow. The north side of Law’s Pass is typically heavily corniced in the winters, and snow holds until about the end of June.

Enjoy a mostly runnable, buffered descent down into Cottonwood Creek. The area you are now in is called Green Timber Gulch.

Careful on the wooden bridge as you enter Cottonwood Aid Station. The slats of aged wood offer lots of spots to snag your poles.

Return back the same way you came, climbing back up to Law’s Pass, and dropping back in to St. Elmo. Keep in mind the loose, chalky soil on lower switchbacks the St. Elmo side can be less favorable footing while descending.

Back at St. Elmo Aid Station, follow the road out and keep right onto Tincup Road. This road extends for 3.5 miles and 900’ of climbing over rocky terrain. Honestly – it is faster to run it than to drive it in most stock vehicles. If you’re looking around trying to get an idea of where the course goes, looking to the mountains on your left, the course ultimately will follow a gulch between two of the higher points, where the continental divide would be, at that time, on your right. The Tincup Aid Station is perpendicular to the gulch… so, focus on grinding uphill until you’ve passed the highest point on your left.

The Tincup Aid Station is where the road intersects the Continental Divide Trail.

Miles 41 - 59

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After leaving Tincup, switchback through pine trees before hitting treeline. Follow the thin continental divide trail through the grassy alpine. After about 5 miles, you’ll reach a wooden sign at an intersection. The sign is not well marked in the direction you came from, but the back of the sign points toward Hancock and Alpine Tunnel East Portal. Head left, descending from the ridge. Going right, over the divide, drops to an extremely remote and inaccessible area of the Sawatch. Don’t go there!

After splitting left, you’ll switchback a few times onto the Alpine Tunnel railroad grade, which maintains a 3-4% downhill grade all the way to Hancock, a few miles ahead.

Follow Forest Road 295 out of Hancock, a sharp right. At any intersection, stay on the wide road 295, which is also marked with CDT signage. The road dead ends into single track trail, which also lands you on the shoreline of Hancock Lake. Follow the CDT , climbing across the pass and into a flowing downhill. The trail goes over a rock field near a lake and keeps on the shoreline to runner’s left. There are a couple of splits that immediately lead to a forest road. In both cases, keep on the CDT, left. You’ll be passing through a large boulder field near mile 55. Shortly after this boulder field, pass through a gate and head right, toward Lost Wonder Hut.

The hut is privately rented throughout the year. You should only access the Hut during race weekend. Return back to the gate after you supply at Lost Wonder Hut, now continuing left on the service road. The Colorado Trail/Continental Divide Trail quickly joins on the left. Take that trail. There are many intersections in the next couple miles. When in doubt, keep on the CT/CDT! 

After crossing back over the service road, a couple miles after LWH, cross the wooden bridge, still following CT/CDT. A steep climb to Boss Lake awaits you. 

Boss lake is a magnificent sight in the daylight, but, unfortunately this section will be dark for most runners. You’ll be on a dam, with Boss Lake on the right, and the lights from BV way off on the distant horizon. Take the dam a short hundred feet or so and fork left, crossing a bridge. Follow the CT/CDT at any intersection.


Boss Lake to Monarch Pass

"The Ridge" Crux

Miles 59 - 69

Boss lake is a magnificent sight in the daylight, but, unfortunately this section will be dark for most runners. You’ll be on a dam, with Boss Lake on the right, and the lights from BV way off on the distant horizon. Take the dam a short hundred feet or so and fork left, crossing a bridge. Follow the CT/CDT at any intersection.

Buckle up for a long grind up to the Continental Divide. In fact, you could probably call the section from Boss Lake to Monarch the crux of the course. It is high, dark, exposed to the elements, and remote.

When you crest the Continental Divide ridgeline near mile 61.3, 12,500ft, continue on the divide ridgeline for about 4 miles, to mile 65. Immediately after you encounter signage for ski slopes, Purgatory aid station will be on the right.

Follow the climb to the top of Monarch ski area. After making a quick descent, there is perhaps the most confusing intersection of the day. Making it simple, cross under the chairlift, which is somewhere around your 1-o-clock direction. Do not go left, which is downhill on one of the green ski slopes. The first right, at your 2-o-clock, takes you to the lift line of the chairlift.

The course will tease views of Monarch Pass and the aid station, but takes an indirect route there. When you reach the large wooden sign for Old Monarch Pass, take the trail behind it, which winds around a cone-shaped hill. This takes you away from the aid station before winding back around and dropping you on the Pass about 150ft beneath the aid station. Cross the road to the left to get to this major aid station, complete with everything you need. Keep in mind, you just spent *hours* at/over treeline getting here, and the aid station is at 11,300ft. If you feel like junk, its because you earned it, but focus on getting out of this high altitude aid station and to Fooses quickly, which is over 2,000ft lower, and just 5 miles away.


Monarch Pass to Finish Line

Miles 69 - 100

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Go behind the gondola to begin leaving Monarch. Stay on the service road when you reach the intersection for the CT/CDT. Yes, you read that correctly – for the first time, don’t take the CT/CDT! The service road forks right, downhill. The other fork is clearly marked for administrative use only. At the bottom of the short downhill, go left, crossing around a green gate, then following a steep, loose service road downhill. You’ll follow power lines for a few miles from here. At the bottom of this treacherously steep mile, you’ll cross another identical green gate and be on an amazing, runnable, shallow grade dirt road. Follow the road as it bypasses camping areas and parallels Fooses Creek and power lines. Fooses Creek Aid Station is near a lake on this road at mile 75.7.

From Fooses Aid Station, cross the road to join with the Colorado Trail. The trail will take a few switchbacks, heading in the direction of the power lines near the top of the climb. When you cross beneath the power lines, continue directly forward into the trees on the Colorado trail. Cross every dirt road you insect with, continuing on the Colorado Trail, which is straight across.

Drop about 800’ into the Shavano H20 Aid Station, and then begin a similar climb back out, still on the Colorado Trail. The views are stellar. You’ll quickly arrive at the Blank’s Cabin Aid Station, which is along an intersection with a wood fence and aspen grove. Continue along the Colorado Trail again. Keep straight/right (on the Colorado Trail still) when you reach the intersection for the Mt. Shavano summit trail, which is soon on the left.

Near mile 90 is a signed intersection for Wagon Loop trail, which is down hard right. Do not take that trail – just keep on the Colorado Trail. Very soon after, the trail splits again at a brown sign. Fork to the left and roll up a quick short hill to stay on the CO Trail. Going right/downhill would take you off course to the Browns Creek Trailhead. You’ll quickly be at the intersection from earlier for Little Brown’s Creek Trail 1430. This time, split right, downhill, and backtrack to Raspberry Gulch on the same route as you took earlier.

Continue backtracking the course all the way to the finish.

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