Highlands Trail Festival

The Course (and Risk)

"Honey, I'm tougher than the rest". - Tougher Than the Rest

The Highlands Trail Festival course and metrics are not easy. The Highlands are loaded with rock gardens, boulders, and root networks. You'll run points with sheer drops and exposure. It could be said that they are not beginner courses. But, I've seen total beginners prove as likely to finish if they put in the time and commit to finishing even when it gets really ugly, as much as experienced runners. However these may be some of the toughest courses on the East Coast, and Country. Every finish will be earned.

"So you been broken and you been hurt? Show me somebody who ain't" - Human Touch

You must know in advance what you're biting off.. Some course sections are remote and with significant elevation and technicality. We will contract EMT's to be on site for the duration of the event, and, hopefully including the West Milford Volunteer Ambulance crew. While they do have motorized search / rescue equipment, it will be very tough to extract you if you should get injured and / or immobilized, and it could take hours to reach you. For this reason, based on weather and distance, we may require mandatory equipment / supplies to be carried during the race. We will inform you of that decision and kit as we near the event date.

If you're seriously injured, or on the fringes of conditions like heat stroke, stop, rest / cool off, and get word back to us at the staging area. We'll do what we can to get to you. However, in the case of minor injuries we expect you to do what you can to get yourself to the next aid station or road crossing for pickup.

Course Configuration

The course starts and finishes at the Jungle Habitat, a former Warner-Bros.-owned animal theme park in operation between 1972 and 1976. Ruins remain, including massive parking lots adjacent to magnificent trail networks which will be used as the staging area and central aid station.

Entrants will open with a clockwise 18 mile lollipop circuit on the burly and beautiful Stonetown Circular circuit forming the shoulders, neck and head of the Wanaki. You'll cross several peaks and with views of the Wanaque Reservoir before arriving back to the Jungle Habitat.

From there you'll head south for an out-back configuration in Southern Norvin Green with a host of other high points in the Wyanokie Mountain Range. The turn-around point will depend on the event / distance.

Course Marking

"Like a river that don't know where it's flowing. I took a wrong turn and I just kept going." - Hungry Heart

Unlike the Boss's lyric in Hungry Heart, we'd encourage you to not only pay constant attention to markings at turns or intersections, but to turn around if you feel you've gone off. The course will be marked using reflective surveyor's flags. We typically use approximately 60 per mile. Many times they will be planted at site-line intervals. When there's really no place to go other than the trail you're on, the spacing may increase.

Please scan for markings at every turn or intersection. We'll place two flags close together ahead of the turn, one on the turn, and two after the turn. At intersections which you'll cross we'll have one before the intersection and two after the intersection.

We may use occasional signs if there's a predicted tricky turn or intersection and, if approved by the State Forest, a spray chalk arrow on the ground. We will also have the course track files available for downloading to your watch or device. We also encourage you to both carry a printed version of the map, as well as downloaded Northern New Jersey Highlands / Map 151 from the New York New Jersey Trail Conference on the Avenza App. If you're to get lost, and have reception, you can see where you are using Avenza, and jive where you're supposed to be on the course map.

Aid Station Cut-off / Time Grids

"Everybody needs a place to rest. Everybody wants to have a home." - Hungry Heart

The Aid Station and Time Grid. The shortest stretch between aid is between the Jungle Habitat and Burnt Meadow at 3 miles The longest is between Burnt Meadow and Stonetown at 7 miles. Some sections, such as that 7 mile stretch, will have significant elevation gain as well as technical terrain and may run more like a 10 mile trail stretch on easier courses. Plan to carry supplies accordingly.

Aid Station Crew Access

  • 25k: No Aid Station crew access (secondary to limited parking)
  • 50k: Crew access at Jungle Habitat Staging Area AS only (mile 18)
  • 50 Mile: Crew access at Jungle Habitat (mile 18), Camp Wyanokie miles 23 & 44), New Weis (miles 28.5 and 39)
  • 100k: Crew access at all aid stations

Crew Directions will be formulated in the weeks ahead of the race.

Distance Maps, Start Times and Cutoffs

"The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive. Everybody's out on the run tonight but there's no place left to hide." - Born to Run, 1975

100k GPX Course File 100k | 100k Course

The 100k will start at 05:00 and have a 19 hour cutoff (23:59:59).

50 Mile GPX Course File 50 Mile | 50 Mile Course

The 50 Mile will start at 05:00 and have an 19 hour cutoff (23:59:59).

50k GPX Course File 50k | 50k Course

The 50k will start at 08:00 and have a 12 hour cutoff (20:00).

25k GPX Course File 25k | 25k Course

The 25k will start at 08:00 and have a 6.5 hour cutoff (14:30).

Drop Bags

Drop bags will be permitted for 50k, 50M, 100K. They will be permitted at roughly 10 mile intervals and at the following Aid Station locations: Stonetown, Jungle Habitat, New Weis.

Drop Bags must be marked with Entrant BIB#, Last Name, and Aid Station NAME. They must either be placed in the respective bins at pre-registration on Friday night, or by 06:10 race-morning.

Please Note that Drop Bags will not be returned to the Jungle Habitat / staging area until the respective Aid Station closes (once final runner is through). Finishers / crews are welcome to retrieve drop bags on their own. Drop Bags, and their contents which are left behind, WILL NOT BE RETURNED!