Course Details

2017 Course Description

The Mount Laguna Trail Marathon will begin at the Red Tail Roost Parking Area located on the Sunrise Highway in the Mount Laguna Recreational Area.  Runners will immediately cross the Sunrise Highway and head east on Thing Valley Road to connect with the Pacific Crest Trail. The course then follows the PCT northbound on mostly rolling terrain for approximately 12.5 miles, cruising over Mount Laguna, through Penny Pines and on to Pioneer Mail, all while taking in the dramatic views overlooking the Anza Borrego Desert.  

From Pioneer Mail Parking Area, runners will cross Sunrise Highway and gradually ascend Champagne Pass over the next 2.5 miles using the Pine Mountain Trail. Once at the top of the Pass, runners will connect with the Indian Creek Trail to take a more direct and technical descent to the creek and then continue up the trail to meet the Noble Canyon Trail. The course then follows the rolling Noble Canyon Trail east to the final Aid Station at Penny Pines.

The final section of the Marathon follows the Big Laguna Lake Trail around the east side of the Lake and through meadows to connect to a beautiful tree lined dirt road/ trail to finish at Red Tail Roost. While most of this section is flat and fast, the finale is a short, but sweet climb to cross the finish line and truly earn your award! In total, the 2017 marathon will be 27 miles with 3,358 feet of elevation gain.* (Normally the race is 26.5 miles) 


*The Mount Laguna Trail Marathon course was measured using a number of GPS Devices including Garmin, TomTom, and Suunto.   


Aid Station Distances

Aid Station name Miles Between Cumulative Miles Cutoff (hours)
START: Red Tail Roost
Todd's Cabin 4.5 4.5
Penny Pines 1 5.5 10.0
Pioneer Mail 4.0 14.0 4.5 hours
Penny Pines 2 7.0 21.0 6.5 hours
FINISH: Red Tail Roost 6.0 27 8 hours


Aid Station Information

  • Aid Stations will provide the necessities including water, electrolyte drink, a small amount of gel packets, as well as typical race fare such as fruit, potatos and a variety of sweet/salty nibbles.  
  • Due to the distance between Aid Stations, the terrain, and the exposure to elements, it is highly recommended that all runners carry food/fuel and at least one water bottle for the entire course.
  • Runners must check into and check out of every Aid Station. 
  • Crews will not be allowed at the first Aid Station. 
  • Aid Station Captains are experienced ultra-runners and are present to encourage and assist runners, but most importantly they are present to keep runners safe.  Aid Station Captains have the authority to hold runners at the aid station or remove runners from the course if they believe it is in the best interest of the runner.  Safety is our first priority.
  • Aid Station Captains will be responsible for enforcing the posted cutoff times.  Please be respectful of these times and of the Aid Station personnel.
  • Please remember to thank your Aid Station volunteers! Without them this run would not be go on.  


Aid Station Locations

  • Red Tail Roost is located at mile marker 22.5 on the Sunrise Highway, directly across from the Mount Laguna Fire Department.
  • Penny Pines is located at mile marker 27.5 on the Sunrise Highway.
  • Pioneer Mail is located at mile marker 29.5 on the Sunrise Highway. 


Additional Rules and Information

  • This is NOT A ROAD RACE, learn the rules of the trails before you run. 
  • There will be no drop bags.
  • There will be limited crew access.
  • There is not an early start option.
  • Every runner is highly encourage, and may be required (weather dependant) to carry a water bottle. 
  • Do not litter. If you are seen littering you will be asked to leave the run and will not be invited back in future years.  If you see any garbage on the trails please carry it to the next Aid Station where you can properly dispose of it. 
  • The course will be marked with confidence Ribbon.  A ribbon will be placed every 3-4 minutes of running time, and potentially spread further apart in areas where there are no turns.  There will be multiple ribbons placed at junctions and at turns.  If you travel more than 6-8 minutes without seeing a ribbon, turn around.  We will also use chalk and/or signs at important junctions.   
  • It is the runner's responsibility to pay attention to the course markings.  It is also the runner's responsibility to review the course maps prior to the run, and to have general confidence in where you are going.    
  • If you are unable to complete the run you MUST personally tell an Aid Station Captain and you MUST give them your identification bib.  Retreiving your bib is our accountability that you are off the course.  If you do not properly drop at an Aid Station, a search and rescue effort will be initiated on your behalf and you will be responsible for all costs associated with the rescue effort.
  • There are two highway crossings in this run.  It is the runners responsibility to cross the highway safely.  We have assigned crossing marshalls to assist runners across the highways however they will not be stopping traffic. 
  • Sweep runners will follow the last runners and will be removing all course markings. If anyone is lagging way behind, and cannot maintain the pace of the sweep, they will be required to stop at the next applicable aid station. 
  • Runners are responsible for their crew members.  If any person associated with a runner in this event behaves in such as way as to endanger others along the race course, the runner will be immediately disqualified.  This includes driving at inappropriate speeds on Sunrise Highway where runners are crossing or crews are parking; parking in places that may inhibit emergency vehicle access to runners; or not following the direction of parking marshall's or other race officials.
  • Weather is unpredicable in the mountains in November. It is your responsibililty to be prepared for cold, wet, windy conditions as well as dryness and heat. If the event is cancelled due to dangerous weather conditions we will do everything in our power to reschedule the event, however this may not be possible.