North Cascades Fall Trail Running Festival and Symposium

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-16 of September 2018



Fall is a good time to be in the mountains. It is even better when those mountains are the North Cascades, where one can spend multiple days in a row on trails exploring alpine lakes, hanging glaciers, cascading creeks, and eating ripe huckleberries. And it might even be the best if, between the days of running you can return to a historic cabin, enjoy hot showers, eat delicious meals, and be surrounded by a community of friends who love to run and play in the mountains, too. This is the first annual North Cascades Fall Trail Running Festival and Symposium. We hope you will join us.


The Baker Lodge sits high in the North Cascades surrounded by epic mountain views and hundreds of miles of trails. Owned and operated by the Mountaineers, the lodge is a hub of mountain activity in every season. It’s bunk-style accommodations holds up to 62 people and is divided between men’s, women’s, and family sleeping areas. It boasts a full kitchen, hot showers, and a gear drying room (typically used in winter but could come in handy). Aspire has reserved exclusive access to the lodge for the duration of the festival and it will serve as basecamp for the week’s activities. Check out more info on the lodge here


As bookends to each day, the Aspire staff will have the lodge kitchen operating at full capacity serving up delicious breakfast and dinner fare. Healthy, seasonal, and local are the standard for these “lodge” cooked meals, and our menus cater to the carnivore, vegetarian, and vegan alike. For lunch, light fare will be available along with a sample selection of bars, gels, and assorted trail food.  


From the door of the lodge, one looks directly into the Mt. Baker Wilderness. There’s no need to drive anywhere because each trail in the area is connected by a trailhead only a few hundred yards from the lodge. Most the trails end up above tree line, and runners will be greeted with expansive views of glaciated peaks, luminescent fall foliage, and wild berries.  

Each day of the festival, formal and informal groups will be organized to experience different trails and explore the local contours. Link-ups, combinations, and variations of all these trails are all possibilities, so one can choose how much to run each day, from 10 to 30+ miles. Aspire will also be organizing shuttles to access additional trails along the scenic Highway 542 corridor. Below is a sampling of what this specific area has to offer. Detailed trail descriptions and trip reports are linked to the Washington Trails Association website. 


Each evening there will be an opportunity to participate in a symposium style lecture/presentation wherein local naturalists, historians, and athletes will share stories and insights around the intersections connecting people to this place, the wildness and beauty of the North Cascades. Stay tuned for updates on our list of presenters, musicians, and inspirational rabble rousers. 



3:00-6:00pm. Course check-in at the Baker Lodge.

  • The lodge is located at mile marker 55 of WA State Highway 542.
  • Parking is located in the Mt. Baker Ski Area upper Heather Meadows parking lot.   

6:00pm. Welcome Dinner

7:30pm. Orientation and Program

8:30pm. Organize running groups, pack and prepare for a day in the hills!

10:00pm. Bed time

10:30pm.  Lights out in the Lodge.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday

7:00am. Breakfast

8:30am. Shuttle and organized groups depart.


6:00pm. Dinner

7:30pm. Evening Program

8:30pm. Organize running groups, pack and prep for a day in the hills!

10:00pm. Bed time

10:30pm.  Lights out in the Lodge.


7:00am. Breakfast

8:30am. Clean up

10:00am. The party is officially over…till next year!


Each runner is responsible for their own running kit including snacks and clothing appropriate for the possibility of rain and/or snow and/or daytime temperatures in the mid 70’s. Comfortable evening and sleepwear, personal toiletries, and a sleeping bag/pillow are essential for the lodge.


Registration fee’s include: 4 nights stay at the Baker Lodge, all meals, shuttles, and access to all symposium programming.

Early Bird registration $600. Ends February 28th.

Regular registration $650. Ends June 30th.  

Late Registration $700. Closes September 10th


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 the cost of registration in the event that you are unable to participate in the event.