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40 Mile Course
Scotts Gulf in White County is an 18 mile long gorge formed by the Caney Fork River which contains several areas of class III-V rapids. Fortunately though, the river typically becomes almost dry during late summer months and has several areas with natural Fords. As part of the agreement when the lands surrounding the Caney Fork were ceded to the State of Tennessee from Bridgestone/Firestone Corporation, there are no structures allowed on the property. This includes bridges. Needless to say, if you register for this event, you can expect to get wet. The course is a 40(ish) mile event that will take runners across the Caney Fork a total of 4 times at different Fords. In between these river crossings runners can expect a little bit of everything. Steep rocky decents/ascents, technical boulder fields, wide flowing single track, and a bit of gravel road all while passing by beautiful overlooks, and several waterfalls.
The Caney Fork Ultra will start and finish on the Latimer Reservation Boy Scout property on the south side of the Caney Fork River in Van Buren County. Runners will cover several miles of trail in the Bridgestone/Firestone Centennial Wilderness as well as Virgin Falls and Lost Creek State Natural Areas. Runners will make a loop around Lake Joe Long on the Latimer Reservation to start the race before quickly descending into Bee Creek Gorge. The course will follow Bee Creek toward the confluence with Caney Fork River where you will Ford the river for the first time. Once across the Caney Fork, the course follows the Caney Fork River Trail in the Gulf through several rocky boulder fields before climbing up onto the Chestnut Mountain Ranch. A few miles of wide single track and a short distance of gravel road takes runners through the Centennial Wilderness toward Big Laurel Falls. Once past Big Laurel Falls, runners will follow Virgin Falls Trail to Virgin Falls then onto a climb over Wilson Ridge into Lost Creek Natural Area. Once runners pass Lost Creek Falls a short section of gravel road takes them to Big Bottom Unit(Yes, thats really the name) of Centennial Wilderness where they will Ford the Caney Fork two more times while passing through historic(though long gone) towns of Dodson and Bethesda. Once runners pass through Big Bottom they will climb out of Scotts Gulf on Ambers Den Ridge Trail to Welch Point where a spectacular overlook of the Caney Fork River awaits. After taking Ambers Den Ridge Trail runners will run a short section of gravel once again(retracing about a mile from earlier in the race) and then run the rim of Scotts Gulf above the Caney Fork River with some great views along the way before dipping back down into the Gulf one last time to make a final Ford of river. After crossing the Caney Fork for the last time runners will begin making their way back up along the Bee Creek Trail toward Latimer Reservation. Fair warning: the last 3/4 miles of trail ascends roughly 500'ft and is narrow, loose, and rocky. A perfect way to end a 40(ish) mile run!
There will be a total of 5 physical Aid Stations along the course. Two Aid Stations will be passed twice making a total of 7 Aid Stations that runners will pass
Aid Station 1/7: (5.2/39.5 mile): Fork Hole Ford Cutoff: 8:36am
Fork Hole Ford Aid Station will be at the bottom of Scotts Gulf Rd and will be accessed immediately after runners make their first ford of the river. This will also be the last Aid Station runners pass before climbing back up Bee Creek Trail toward the finish at Latimer Reservation.
Aid Station 2: (10.75 mile) Chestnut Mountain Ranch Cutoff: 10:18am
Chestnut Mountain Ranch Aid Station will be located at the top of the last climb out of Scotts Gulf on TWRA Headquarter property
Aid Station 3/6: (14.5/34.5 mile) Polly Branch Cutoff: 11:27am
Polly Branch Aid Station will be located at the Polly Branch Trailhead parking area on Scotts Gulf Rd. This Aid Station will be passed twice as runners leave the single track on Centennial Wilderness and run a short stretch of gravel rd. toward Virgin Falls Trail. Runners will pass Polly Branch Aid Station a second time as they come off of Ambers Den Ridge Trail and run the same short stretch of gravel rd from earlier toward Polly Branch Trailhead.
Aid Station 4: (23) Lost Creek Cutoff: 2:03pm
Aid Station 4 will be located at Lost Creek parking area off of Whites Cave Rd. This Aid Station will be after the first of two 8.5 mile stretches of trail. Virgin Falls and Big Bottom Unit of the Centennial Wilderness are some of the most remote and inaccessible areas in the entire Gulf. Leaving this Aid Station with a full bladder in your pack will be essential.
Aid Station 5: (31.5 mile) Welch Point Cutoff: 4:39pm
Welch Point Aid Station will be located at the end of Welch Cemetary Rd at the Welch Point overlook. Welch Point overlook is one of the best views in the South Cumberland Plateau. Its also the most iconic and recognizable view in the Centennial Wilderness. Its so impressive, we made decided to make it our cover photo above!
Aid Station 6: (34.5mile) Polly Branch Cutoff: 5:36pm
See description above
Aid Station 7: (39.5 mile) Fork Hole Ford Cutoff: 7:06pm
See description above