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Quest For The Crest 50K

Extremely Difficult


34.5 mile 55.5 kilometer point to point
71% Runnable
Extremely Difficult


Ascent: 10,589' 3,227 m
Descent: -10,767' -3,282 m
High: 6,668' 2,033 m
Low: 2,770' 844 m


Avg Grade: 12% (7°)
Max Grade: 70% (35°)


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Trail shared by Victor Mariano

It's 50 of the toughest kilometers on the highest mountain range east of the Mississippi River!

Victor Mariano

Features River/Creek · Spring · Views


The race course traverses most of the Black Mountain Crest Trail, and provides some of the best views to be found anywhere on the East Coast. The climbs will challenge even the most seasoned runners, and the downhill sections are steep and technical.

Need to Know

There are two full aid stations and two fluid-only aid stations. There are no crew access points and pacers are not permitted, as the bulk of this course is very remote and not vehicle accessible.

Runner Notes

Be prepared for extreme temperature changes, from the early morning start, through the numerous altitude and weather changes, to the afternoon finish in the valley floor.


This race is called Quest for the Crest for one reason, participants will go from the valley floor to the top of the Black Mountain Crest Trail, three separate times. It truly is a quest, to conquer over 20,000 feet of elevation change in 33 miles.

Runners will pass through multiple altitude zones, from lowland layers to treeless alpine. The weather is constantly changing with shifting and swirling winds. Snow has been recorded every month of the year on this mountain range. It is truly one of the most diverse sub-climates found anywhere in the world.

Flora & Fauna

The trail is flanked by rhododendron and mountain laurel and then transitions to alpine evergreens, ferns, and grassy slopes.

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May 18, 2019
Jay Lund
Quest for the Crest 50K 35mi — 12h 20m
May 17, 2019
Helene Strutko
May 20, 2017
Jan Gusz
A must-do. 33mi — 11h 17m

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Trail Ratings

  5.0 from 3 votes


  5.0 from 3 votes
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130 Views Last Month
6,459 Since Dec 13, 2016
Extremely Difficult



Afternoon sun streaming through the trees on the Crest Trail.
Apr 26, 2017 near Burnsville, NC
Running along the crest of the Black Mountains of NC.
Jan 17, 2016 near Burnsville, NC
Morning glory on the Black Mountain Crest Trail.
Jan 17, 2016 near Burnsville, NC
Sun rising over the cloud encased South Toe River Valley as the wind begins to whip up the just moments before still clouds as seen from Sunrise Point along the Woody Ridge Trail
Oct 17, 2017 near Burnsville, NC
Sunrise on the Black Mountain Crest Trail.
Jan 17, 2016 near Burnsville, NC
Autumn leaves blowing in the foreground along Woody Ridge Trail after a pre-dawn hike up to catch the sunrise. The cloud encased South Toe River Valley where the trail begins is below in the forefront.  10/15/17
Oct 17, 2017 near Burnsville, NC


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