Desolation Duo

50 Miler and Marathon, Friday-Saturday, 15-16 of June, 2018



The Desolation Duo offers two spectacular courses in the heart of the North Cascades National Park.  After a boat taxi to the trailhead, most of the miles here are scenic, moderate lakeside routes, except for the 4,500’ climb up Desolation Peak. From this iconic lookout, runners are rewarded with expansive views of craggy peaks, snowy glaciers, and Ross Lake. From the summit it’s all downhill and rolling trail to your post-run feast.

50 Miler: From Colonial Creek, runners are transported to the Happy Panther trailhead, which quickly descends to the shores of Ross Lake. A waiting boat shuttles folks to the northern end of the lake at Hozomeen Camp and the Willow Creek Trail, the beginning of the run. After the first 3 miles of trail, a 1 mile spur leads to the incredible lakeside views of Hozomeen Peak. The next 11 miles are rolling single track, mostly in the Lightning Creek drainage. Just before reaching Ross Lake runners must first make the 14 mile out-n-back climb up Desolation Peak. The 4,500’ ascent to the Desolation lookout offers 360 degree views of snowcapped peaks of the North Cascades. After the decent from the summit the East Bank Trail follows the shoreline for another 16 miles, dipping in and out of creek drainages, crossing suspension bridges, and showcasing spring wildflowers. The trail ends at Highway 20, where another shuttle brings runners into the finish at Colonial Creek Campground.Click here to view an Alltrails map and elevation profile of the  50 Miler course.

Marathon: Like the 50 Miler, runners are transported to the Happy Panther trailhead, which quickly descends to the shores of Ross Lake. However, their boat shuttle brings them directly to the foot of Desolation peak, where they immediately begin their run with a 4,500’ climb to the summit. Descending to East Bank Trail runners enjoy the rolling views to Highway 20, where another shuttle brings them into Colonial Creek. Click here to view an Alltrails map and elevation profile of the marathon course.



4:00pm. Course check in. Burlington WA

  • Meet in the parking lot of Bob’s Burgers and Brews
  • Address: 9440 Old Hwy 99 N, Bow, WA 98232
  • Look for the green Suburban with “Aspire Adventure Running” decals

4:30. Depart for North Cascades, Colonial Creek Campground

6:30. Arrive camp. Aspire will serve an evening meal; conduct a course overview and orientation. Runners pack/prep for the next day’s run.


7:00 am. Wake and enjoy a hot breakfast prepared by Aspire staff.

8:00 am. 50 Miler Shuttle departs for Hozomeen Camp

  • Estimated travel time for the course 8-15 hours.

11:00 am. Marathon shuttle depart for Lightning Creek

  • Estimated travel time for the course 2-9 hours.

1pm-Midnight. Course finish.

  • Course finishes are well stocked with food and beverages, hot showers, and camaraderie. These activities will be staged out of the Colonial Creek Campground. Family and friends are welcome to join us at the course end!

8:00 pm. Saturday return shuttle to Burlington.

9:30 pm. Shuttle Arrival in Burlington.


8:00 am. Hot Breakfast

9:00 am. Shuttles depart for Burlington

10:30am. Shuttle arrival Burlington


Running Gear: Each runner should come equipped with a personal running pack/vest, hydration system, water filtration, and personal snacks. Aspire has a selection of bars, gels, electrolytes etc. available, but we encourage folks to bring foods that they are accustomed to for long runs. Running clothing should consist of a layering system that includes a wind/waterproof jacket and an insulative layer. Each runner is required to carry a headlamp and emergency blanket. All runners are encouraged carry a water filtration system and a personal first aid kit to respond to blisters, chafing, and minor ailments. 

Drop Bag: A bag of post-run clothing is essential. This bag should include an insulative jacket preferably down or synthetic, a wind/water resistant outer layer, dry clothing, and dry shoes.

Camping Gear: This course includes camping. Required equipment includes: a tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and camp clothing suitable for a seasonally appropriate mountain weather. Personal camping equipment is available for rent with registration. Aspire will provide a group shelter, heaters, a phone/watch/camera charging station, hot showers, and lively camp amenities.


Early Bird Registration: $220. Ends December 31st

Regular Registration: $250. Ends April 31st

Late Registration: $280. Closes September 9th


Trip Insurance

Every year we have at least one runner who due to injury, illness, or personal/familial circumstances can not participate in their registered trip.  While registrations can be transferred, Aspire does not issue refunds.  See our FAQ’s.  We strongly encourage each runner to purchase 3rd party trip insurance that will reimburse registration costs and travel expenses if they are unable to participate.