UPDATE, June 2021: The permit has been approved by the Cle Elum Ranger Station! Runners who requested a rollover from 2020 should receive an email no later than Tuesday, June 8th with more info. Registration will open to the public Thursday, June 17th. The event will take place on Saturday, October 9th, 2021.

I love everything fall. The colors, pumpkins, hot soups, warm sweaters, etc. It was brought to my attention that there was a sweet but neglected loop near the top of Blewett Pass that had larches and loads of autumn color. A scouting trip mid-October 2019 to the Swauk Forest Discovery Loop confirmed the above – beautiful color and larches abound but down trees and overgrown bushes everywhere. The Cle Elum Ranger Station is excited about the potential of The Golden 6 Hour serving as the steward of the Swauk Forest Discovery Loop for future years. Join us for the inaugural year on October 9, 2021!

October 2019 scouting trip

Registration

Registration will open Thursday, June 17, 2021 on Ultrasignup. Included in your $85 entry is a mug with an original larch design and a beanie for those runners who run/hike/walk all 6 hours. Space is limit to 100 runners and there will be a waitlist if it fills. REGISTER HERE.

Results // King & Queen of Loops in the Larches

Results will be posted on Ultrasignup. Participants who run/hike all 6 hours will receive a beanie. The female and male who complete the most amount of loops in 6 hours will receive a Territory Run Co. hoodie with an original larch design. These ARE sweet hoodies that will not be available for sale! If there is a tie for most amount of loops, the runner who crosses the finish-line first will receive the hoodie.

Course // Aid Station

The Swauk Forest Discovery Trail is a 2.45 mile loop near the top of Blewett Pass. It’s all single-track that winds through a variety of woods, vegetation, and has mountain views.

Aid Station – BRING ON THE PUMPKIN PIE
I am not joking about the fall themed aid station. There will be hearty soups, hot apple cider, my favorite Halloween candy, Oktoberfest beer, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc. UPDATE – we will not have a pumpkin pie contest since no homemade food is permitted. However, we will have pumpkin pie at the aid station! Vaccinated volunteers will be serving runners.

Swauk Forest Discovery Loop – directions & lodging

From the WTA website: Heading west on Hwy 2, turn south onto Hwy 97 and proceed approximately 21 miles. Turn left at the Pipe Creek Sno-park parking. Follow NF-9716 uphill approximately a half-mile to Swauk Forest Discovery Trail parking area. Trail head is to the right of toilet facilities and information signs.Heading East from Ellensburg or Cle Elum on Hwy 97, follow Hwy 97 approximately 14 miles and turn right at the Pipe Creek Sno-park parking. Follow NF-9716 uphill approximately .5 miles to Swauk Forest Discovery Trail parking area. Trailhead is to the right of toilet facilities and information signs. Parking Pass/Entry Fee: Northwest Forest Pass

Lodging: There are a lot of fun options. Flying Horseshoe Ranch is 21 miles away, Leavenworth is 26 miles away, and Cle Elum is 27 miles away. Make it a weekend getaway! FYI – this is during Leavenworth’s Oktoberfest. Runners are also allowed to camp in the parking lot before and/or after the race. Please note though that these trails and parking lot is open to public so it is first come, first serve.

Closest lodging option – Flying Horseshoe Ranch. Photo by Nick Danielson

Schedule

Friday, October 8th, 2021

  • 5:00pm-6:30pm – optional packet pick-up at Flying Horseshoe Ranch (come stay the night at the ranch and have time for a hearty breakfast in the morning – YES!)

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

  • 8:30am – check-in
  • 9:45am – pre-run briefing
  • 10:00-10:10am – run into the larches
  • 4:00-4:10pm – course closes
  • Beanies will be handed out as runners finish
One of several view points, October 2019

Q&A // Rules

  • What is Walla Trails doing to keep runners safe pre-event, during the event, and post-event? We know and recognize that Covid guidelines are continuing to change and may look different when the event happens. We will abide by the WA State Covid guideline for the event. Here are some of the key safety measures we will take regardless:
    • Volunteers will be vaccinated and use hand sanitizer during check-in and at the aid station
    • Hand sanitizer will be available at the start/finish/aid station area
  • What is Walla Trails asking runners to do pre-event, during the event, and post-event? Here are some of the key safety measures we need all runners to follow:
    • Stay home if not feeling well
    • Runners may be asked to wear a face covering at the start, and during the event when coming within 6 feet of volunteers or other runners
    • Social distance of six feet or more will be maintained when possible for runners not vaccinated
    • Please use hand sanitizer as soon as you arrive, after you use the restroom, and after you finish the race
    • Travel and stay with family or those in your social distancing circle
  • What if there’s a storm the weekend of the event? We are indeed running on a mountain pass right before winter which could mean wild weather. We will keep a close eye on the weather a few weeks before the event and if it looks like snow is in the forecast, we will make a final decision on Thursday, October 7th. There will be a fun plan B in place (which will be communicated at least a week before the event). Other options are to rollover your registration to 2022 or receive a 50% refund if weather becomes an issue.
  • Are spectators allowed? As of June 2021, no. Our permit only allows runners and approved volunteers. HOWEVER, if you’d like a friend or family member to be present at your race, have them volunteer! Email wallagretchen@gmail.com to see how we can create a win-win situation! We will communicate if this changes.
  • Are dogs welcome? Yes! Dogs must like people and other dogs and obey their owner. If your dog is caught jumping on runners, volunteers, or the RD, expect that Fido will need to wait in the car for rest of the event. Also, we are not responsible for lost dogs!
  • What if the race is cancelled due to COVID? We will offer rollovers for 2022 or 50% refund pending recouping costs of permit and insurance.
  • Are there refunds in general? Yes:
    • 50% refund by August 9th
    • No refunds on or after September 9th
  • 2020 Rollover Info:
    • Runners who asked for a rollover will be given a code to re-register for 2021. Email wallagretchen@gmail.com if you have not received instructions on how to rollover your registration by June 9th.
    • If October 9th does not work for you, registration can be rolled over in 2022. Email wallagretchen@gmail.com for other options.
    • We can not guarantee your rollover once registration opens to the public. Please do not wait!