“The Yamacraw 50k is a point-to-point trail race that takes place every April in Stearns, Kentucky.”
— Brian Gajus
Race - Apr 6, 2019
Cave · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife
The Yamacraw 50k is a point-to-point trail race that begins at the Lick Creek Trail
in Daniel Boone National Forest and ends at the Blue Heron Mining Community in Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area. The course traverses some of the most beautiful trails in the southeast including the Sheltowee Trace Trail, Kentucky’s longest trail.
Runners will be treated to miles of magnificent singletrack trails and scenic landmarks that include stunning rock overhangs, natural arches, and wonderful waterfalls. Runners will enjoy multiple water crossings as they run alongside the Big South Fork Cumberland River and adjoining creeks. The race ends with an iconic crossing over the river on a 100 foot high pedestrian bridge that leads runners straight to the finish.
The course offers some challenging climbs towards the second half of the race but is fast and highly runnable which can be a challenge in itself. At a modest 3,809 ft feet of elevation gain, the Yamacraw 50k is challenging but still a great race for those looking to complete their first ultra or those gearing up for their new race calendar.
Need to Know
Major creek crossing at mile 19 across Rock Creek. In years with high water, we will use rafts to ford the creek.
- The 50k course starts at the Lick Creek Trail in Stearns.
- You'll run behind rock overhangs and shelters, and even cross beneath a wet season waterfall before reaching the creek after two miles along the trail.
- Be prepared for the possibility of getting your feet wet as you cross Lick Creek several times the next 3.4 miles.
- Shortly after reaching Princess Falls, runners will take a right turn onto the Sheltowee Trace Trail and head north crossing Lick Creek.
- At approx mile 5, runners will turn right onto the Negro Creek Trail then make a 2 mile gradual accent to a powerline cut and the first AS at HWY 700.
Yahoo Arch Trail AS (7.2 Miles)
- Runners will cross the HWY 700 and reenter the trail at the Yahoo Arch Trail trailhead on the left.
- After one mile, they will reach Yahoo Arch. Stairs with railings mark your approach to Yahoo Arch.
- Runners will continue pasting behind rock overhangs and wind down switchbacks for 1mile until reaching Yahoo Falls.
- The next 2 miles is rolling trail that runs alongside the river eventually reaching HWY 700 again.
- Runners cross HWY 700 and enter the Alum Ford AS.
Alum Ford AS (11.6 Miles)
- Leaving Alum Ford, runners will continue on the Sheltowee Trace Trail for the next 6.4 miles. This section contains rolling inclines, some mildly technical passes, and creek crossings.
- Approximately 3.2 miles after leaving the Alum Ford AS, runners will pass the Negro Creek Trail.
- After passing the Negro Creek Trail, the next 1.7 miles of trail will be the only section of the course that runners will repeat during the race.
- Once runners return to the bridge at Lick Creek, they will head right on the Sheltowee Trace Trail and continue for about 1.5 miles to the Yamacraw Bridge AS.
Yamacraw Bridge AS (17.9)
- Leaving the AS, runners will cross the Yamacraw Bridge and follow signs and markers to continue on the Sheltowee Trace Trail.
- At approximately mile 19.5, runners must ford Rock Creek. The crossing can be dangerous during high water times. A guide rope will be stretched across the river, with personnel available for assistance. (River rafts will be used in high-water years).
- The next 1.9 miles, runners will encounter numerous creek crossings. Guide ropes will be stretched across difficult crossings.
- Runners will soon begin a half mile ascent up the ridge on forest service road.
- Near the top of the ridge, runners will take a left on a service road and go 1 mile until they reach Devil’s Creek Rd AS.
Devil's Creek Rd AS ( 20.9)
- Runners will stay straight along the paved road for approximately 400 yards where they will then reconnect with the Sheltowee Trace Trail.
- The next 2.6 miles of trail is mostly singletrack and weaves up and down, through and around boulders and bluffs.
- The trail pops out onto a gravel forest road (CR-1210). Turn left and follow the gravel road 1 mile up to Beech Grove Road.
- Runners will head left and cross Beech Grove Road following markers to the gravel road Bald Knob-Hill Cemetery Rd and Ledbetter.
- After about 1.4 miles of gravel road, runners will reach the Ledbetter AS.
Leadbetter AS (26.78)
- Turning left off the gravel road, runners reenter singletrack as they get onto the Kentucky Trail.
- The next 4 miles of the course follows the Kentucky Trail through winding switchbacks, high grass fields, and bridge crossings & flat creek beds.
- The course turns left and up as runners make their final climbs on the course on bluffs above the Big South Cumberland River. Runners will climb up and down several sets of wooden ladders.
- Runners turn right onto the pedestrian tipple bridge crossing the Big South Fork Cumberland River to the race finish at Blue Heron
History & Background
This race began in 2015.