Highlands Trail Festival

"You can't start a fire without a spark" - Dancing in the Dark

The spark often needed to ignite the fire in excitement, training, commitment, and anticipation, is getting yourself registered. Registration will open on Monday, December 6, at 12:00 a.m. on Ultrasignup.com.


The Jungle Habitat
Norvin Green State Forest
109 Airport Rd
West Milford, NJ, 07480


Saturday, May 14, 2022
Start Times

The Ideation

"You make your music, then you try to find whatever audience is out there for it." (interview)

The mission of Red Newt Racing is to put on inspiring events in beautiful places. What I’ve been inspired by is courses that not only flow, but which have a degree of elevation, technicality, or other difficulty which magnifies the experience, and gratification found in the finish. From steep or cumulative elevation, to beautiful vistas, to sections of singletrack that flow, I’ve gone searching for locations that inspire me.

In 2016, years into putting on events including Virgil Crest and Cayuga Trails, I spent time searching out trail destinations within a relatively short drive of my home in Ithaca. I was after elevation change, beautiful vistas, sections of trail that flow. After running a good chunk of Norvin Green, I let it percolate a bit, then got to work configuring possible course variations. Much like a conductor, I love using trail sections as notes, linking them as the sheet music, and, putting the needed pieces together for an orchestra of runners, volunteers, and community entities to pull together for the performance.

Red Newt courses are often quite tough, rated as some of the toughest in the Northeast, in some cases the nation, on elevation. But they’ve also been rated as some of the most beautiful. Norvin Green and the Highlands Trail Festival check these boxes. Although we’ve had fast entrants in hosting national championships over the years, I’ve found that experience doesn’t always correlate to success or finish rate. If someone is committed enough to put in the time ahead, to hang in there when the going gets really hard, there’s a good chance they’ll finish. It’s my hope to follow my own path, to create my own pieces of music, and hope that there will be an audience out there looking for just that.

Huge Thanks & Event Donations

This event would not be possible without the work of many entities and individuals. Some of these include:

The New Jersey State Parks - Thank you to the crew of Ramapo / Norvin Green for allowing us to run at all.

The New York New Jersey Trail Conference - Thank you for the tireless work in organizing, fundraising, and the heavy lifting in creating trails for us to use at all.

The Passaic River Coalition and North Jersey District Water Supply Commission - Thank you for your work in protecting our watershed as well in letting us pass over your lands.

West Milford Township First Aid Squad and Zsuzsanna Carlson for your medical coverage and assistance.

Ed Edington for your continued support on the web assistance front.

Volunteers - each and every one of you. These events, this community, can not exist without your tireless energy and dedication.

Highlands Trail Festival