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Cougar Ridge Classic 26K

A graphic design of a mountain and a cougar with "COUGAR RIDGE CLASSIC VAIL – MINTURN 26K" text.

Date, Location & Time

September 28, 2024 | Starting on Vail Mountain, CO and ending in Minturn, CO | Time: 7 a.m.
*Date, location and time are subject to change


Online Registration  | Registration Form - coming soon

  • Registration is limited 175 racers.
  • $80 if registered by Thursday, Aug. 1. | $95 after Thursday, Aug. 1
Race Info 

Race Info

We are thankful to be hosted by Vail Ski Resort for our start and Town of Minturn for our finish for the inaugural Cougar Ridge Classic 26K trail race.

The course is a point-to-point race, starting at Lionshead Village in Vail and finishing in the Town of Minturn.

Course Info 

Course Info

Running Surface

75% Singletrack Trail
25% Dirt/Gravel Road

Racers will begin by traversing up the front side of Vail Mountain towards Mid-Vail via Cabin Trail. This will be a long, consistent climb that we like to call a "Mountain Climb." Upon approaching Mid-Vail, racers will continue to ascend Vail Mountain up Kinnickinnick Trail.

As you approach Wildwood, we would like to congratulate you on making it up Vail Mountain, you’re 11,000 feet above sea level! We know you’re feeling that Colorado High, with your head down and your thighs shaking, but we recommend you take a moment to look up and enjoy the view. Feel free to tell the world that you’re King/Queen of the Mountain, you earned it!

The trail grade levels off as the course continues along Vail Mountain service roads towards Eagle’s Nest. After Eagle’s Nest, enjoy a steady descent traversing across Game Creek Bowl towards Cougar Ridge Aid Station. This is a public trail, so please keep an eye out for bikers and hikers

The course will then start on a technical, but steady, descent on Cougar Ridge Singletrack Trail towards the Town of Minturn. Enjoy flashes of gold as you run in and out of aspen groves with views of Mt. Holy Cross before a steep descent onto Minturn roads. From here, you’ll have a short distance to the finish in Minturn’s downtown!

Course Map 
This image shows a topographic trail map with start/finish points, aid stations, cutoff times, and route marked in yellow.
Elevation Gain 

Elevation Gain

Approximately 3,410 feet over 14.7 miles. 

A graph depicting a 14.75 miles hike with 3410' elevation gain, including data on elevation, slope, aspect, tree and land cover.
Aid Stations 

Aid Stations

As you traverse over Vail Mountain, we’ll have well five stocked aid stations with plenty of snacks and electrolytes. We don’t suggest attempting to tackle a sub-ultra trail run fueling up on gels and chips alone, so each aid station will have some hearty and relatively healthy food options to keep you going.

Thanks to our partners at Skratch Labs, all aid stations will be well stocked with electrolyte hydration, energy chews and rice crispy bars for those of you that need carbs. Aid stations will also be stocked with an assortment of sweet and salty snacks. Some snacks you may encounter out there in the wild are: Gummy worms, pretzels, fresh fruit and Oreos.

Don’t expect to find everything at all the aid stations, so if there is something you really like, you may consider saving it for later! There will be a mix of goodies at each station as well as some extra treats you may not have expected.

There will be plenty of water available as well as pre-mixed electrolyte fluids, thanks to our partners at Skratch Labs. We’ll also provide a selection of fizzy sodas including Coke, Sprite and ginger ale. We will do our best to keep everything nice and cool for you while the sun is beating down on you, but we make no promises. Mid-Vail and Eagle’s Nest aid stations will have some ice for those of you who need to cool off.

Cut-Off Times 

Cut-Off Times

Mid-Vail/Aid Station #2: 8:45 a.m.

Eagle's Nest/Aid Station #3: 9:45 a.m.

In accordance with our safety plan, Vail Resorts, USFS, and respect for our volunteers' time and safety, cut-off times will be strictly enforced. Runners that are not leaving an aid station by the cut-off will be instructed to take the gondola down to Vail. Alternatively, racers can continue running to Minturn or back down to Vail. We are not responsible for your safety at this point, so please take what you need from the aid station and stay safe. If this is your first endurance run or you are unsure of making these cut-offs, please plan on having crew support to get a ride to the after-party and awards.

Pre-Race: Friday, Sept. 27 

Pre-Race - Friday, Sept. 27

Bib Pickup Info

Join us at Gravity Haus Vail on Friday, Sept. 27 from 4-7 p.m. to pick up your race packet. Stay tuned for more information on pre-race activites.

If you can’t make it to the Friday packet pickup, you can pick up your bib  between 6-6:50 a.m. on race day on Saturday, Sept. 28.

Race Day Morning: Sat, Sept. 28 

Race Day Morning - Sat, Sept. 28

Exact start location in Vail is TBD.

The race will start at 7 a.m. SHARP. You can always start after, but your official race time starts at 7 a.m.

We will have drop bag transportation for racers wishing to have extra gear/refueling supplies available for them on the course. Drop bags need to be pre-labeled with name, bib number and aid station destination. Please keep drop bags small (less than 20L). We will have tarps/trucks near the race start, labeled with which aid station they will be delivered to. Please place your drop bag at the appropriate tarp/truck for delivering to aid stations. We are not responsible for gear delivered to incorrect locations. Our drop bag vehicles will depart the start at 6:55 a.m., so please plan accordingly.

Drop bags will be returned to the finish area at the Town of Minturn by course close at noon on Saturday, and at the awards location inside Gravity Haus. It is your responsibility to pick up your drop bag. If you forgot your bag because you wanted to race home too, please contact us at

Race Cost 

Race Cost

$80 if registered by Thursday, Aug. 1.

$95 after Thursday, Aug. 1

Parking & Transportation 

Parking & Transportation

  • Vail Parking 
    There is free parking in the Vail Village Parking Structure and Lionshead Parking Structure throughout the summer. Carpooling is highly encouraged!
  • Minturn Parking
    Minturn Municipal Lot and street parking. Parking at the Train Yard. Carpooling is highly encouraged!
  • Racer Shuttles
    Shuttles from Minturn to Vail will be available prior to the race; details are TBD
Awards, Raffle & Swag 

Awards, Raffle & Swag

After-party and awards will take place at 1 p.m. in the Town of Minturn.

Elite Category
The top three men and women will be competing for a cash prize presented by Dynafit.

1st place - $500

2nd Place - $300

3rd Place - $150

Awards & Raffle
In addition to the $2K cash purse , we will prize the first, second and third places in each category for age group/gender. We will also have a raffle with some amazing gear, so make sure you stick around for that! You must be present to win the raffle.

If you must leave before the awards ceremony, please inform race staff prior to race day. This helps us when mailing out prizes. We want to make sure you receive your prize, and it’s a sad day when packages return to us.

Racer Swag
Info Coming Soon


All participants must sign and return the Vail Resorts Release of Liability Form to participate in the Cougar Ridge 26K. To save you time, you can print the FORM and bring it with you to bib pickup.


A poster for the Cougar Ridge Classic race on September 28, 2024, in Vail, with a QR code for registration.