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Welcome to KT 50K. We’re pleased that you have decided to participate in the 7th annual KT50K/25K/10k Trail Run. The Kanawha Trace is a hiking and backpacking trail that was built by boys from Troop 42 in 1962 and has been chosen as the course for this race. It will be adequately marked/blazed for direction but it is not a graded, manicured race course and therefore it maintains its integrity as it was designed. Caution is expected for there will be rocks, roots, trees, livestock, fence crossings, and other obstacles that you will encounter. The trail is located exclusively on private property, some low traffic dirt and paved public roads, so respect for the land is expected.
Cory Richardson, Race Director

This detailed description of the 50K route has been prepared by Mark Freeman, a scout leader and hiker who is on portions of the trail almost every weekend. You can tell he is intimately familiar with many details of the entire Kanawha Trace.

There will be a Runners Meeting Friday, August 4th   7PM at the Amphitheator at the Boy Scout Camp. We will discuss the course and on race day,……but I promise not in this detail!

Start will be at the actual ending point of the trail, so you will run it in reverse, east to west. The markers you will seek will be a triple verticle mark (1” yellow, 3”white 1”yellow). You will start at mile 31.7 on Old Rt 35 near Fraziers Bottom, and turn onto Stave Branch Rd for ½ mile. After crossing a small creek bridge, you will turn left into the woods at Marker 31 and follow the creek until it turns right up the hill, then descend between 2 old rusty fences (caution as they are only a couple of feet apart) then cross another small creek and head uphill again. On top of the ridge you will follow a small 4 wheeler trail briefly, then follow the trail down hill and you will see the culvert tunnel under the new 4 lane Rt 35.  After exiting the tunnel you will pass the 30 mile marker. The trail then loosely follows a creek until it powers up the hill and crosses an old logging road, with a sign describing the benefits of logging. You will then descend this hill, which is known as “Hells Staircase” and you will see the sign at the bottom, cross the marshy bottom, then use the newly constructed bridge to start uphill. Near the top of this hill you will see the Marker 29. After 29, you will find yourself in a mtn top meadow, pay particular attention for your markers in this area as there are several paths that can be deceiving up here. You will go through an area of pines/firs that have been cleared with the appearance of a “natural tunnel.”

Out of this “tunnel” you will find yourself in an area of logging clear cut. The bottom of this hill will have you at Mile 28, look for an old foot bridge near the 28 to help to cross the deep creek ravine, the cross the marshy bottom. You will cross Stave Branch Rd and follow the markers up the power line clearing till you cross the clearing and re-enter the woods, which has several small up and downs thru hardwoods and fern lined areas. Cross the gravel road and climb the embankment back into the woods. You will come to a small camp area, cross the yard of the camp, using caution to avoid the landowners horseshoe posts.  You will find marker 27 in the woods, and will exit the woods and use the road just past this point. This is the beginning of a long road section. You will pass mile 26, and just past Mt Zoar Church you will enter Mason Rd, which can be busy. Turn left onto Guyan Creek Rd and follow the gravel, being sure to turn rt (uphill) at the 1st fork, and you will pass the 25 marker up on the left side of the road. Take the left fork at the bottom of the hill and follow the gravel road past the houses, trailers, etc. One house has chicken, quails, peacocks, dogs, cats, but none have ever bothered me. You will also pass miles 24 and 23 on this road. Caution for dogs at the end of this road and at the trailer when you turn left onto the next road. Follow this road past the 22 mile marker, up a hill, then turn right to exit the road and descend into Bear Hollow, using a dried water cascade that resembles a natural staircase.

Follow the trails, road (mile 21) and (yeah) in the creek thru this section, once you pass the gas pipe you will cross a wide creek(plans for a new bridge are in the works and may be completed by race time), then climb the hill using the marked logging road, near the top it turns right onto a switchback back trail, then skirts below the ridge of the crest threw some pine areas. Small descend to a brief grassy meadow puts you on another logging trail where you will pass Marker 20, Then empty into a meadow with the old Blackjack Schoolhouse. An outhouse and pump cistern are available near the schoolhouse (it ain’t bottled water but is treated). Wiggle around the gate, follow the (muddy) access road, wiggle around another gate and onto the blacktop. Re-enter the woods where the road turns left by hugging the left side of the yard and descend the woods where you will have several up and downs. You will also cross the sign that enters Cabell Co and will pass the 19 Marker before dropping downhill, and turning left onto the road. The road will pass the Marker 18, turn right at the fork to briefly follow the road uphill till the marker points you left towards fields around another gate to wiggle around. Past the collapsing barn, you will briefly re-enter woods, when you leave the woods, look for markers on the left side of the field by the creek, please try to maintain single file along the creek line to protect the farmers hayfield.

Mile 17 is absent in this area, but hopefully can be replace (vulnerable to flood waters d/t the open area, hard to keep it here) please latch the gate in this area, then past the deer tower you will be back in the woods on the Rt side of the fence line, following another logging type road. You will have numerous creek crossings, and some fence crossings that use the “tripod” steps. Climb the heavy duty green gate to enter another field(which may have cows), pass Marker 16 climb the heavy duty green gate to exit the field. More creek crossing are in your future until you reach the cow field, then follow the marker uphill, pass Marker 15, use caution crossing the electric fence and turn left onto the road, which you will follow until you turn right on Barkers Ridge (busy rd) for 100yds, passes the yellow fire station, the trail enters the horse field behind the abandoned store via a gate (BE sure to re latch it), the trail goes threw the length middle if the field, use the red gate on the far end of the field (Re latch it too) to re-enter the woods, Just past the power line you will see Marker 14. Follow the brier ridge which will descend to a gravel road, cross the road, use tripod to help get down into field and cross straight across field, cross creek(with tripod) then follow creek as it meanders threw hardwoods and some nice rock formations, after “hugging the log” to get up the hill you will find Marker 13. Just past this marker you will climb up out of the “Beware of the bull’” field and turn left onto the gravel road (straddle the electric fence). This gravel road turns right onto an asphalt road that you will follow past the Marker 12, then turns into a long gravel descent which can be slick. Follow gravel to the asphalt rd, turn rt briefly then left to cross new McComas footbridge (unpredictable dogs are here), then start uphill threw pine thicket, trail continues uphill past thicket then levels out as you pass Marker 11. Past marker 11 you will exit the woods turn right onto brief gravel, hop the small gate then follow the asphalt.

The trail re-enters the woods just past a driveway cutoff, and uses another old logging road. Don’t be confused when you pass trail marker “6”, it is for a different trail that bisects with the KT in this area, but you will soon find the Marker 10. Just past “10” turn right and follow the trail marker downhill to the green overnight shelter. Fresh city water and an outhouse are available at this shelter. Follow the trail as it descends out of Canaan Lands, enjoy running under the cave and hopefully the water will be coming over the edge so you can get your head wet. Shortly you will be on Howells Mill Rd for 100 yards, then turn left at trail marker, cross creek and follow the trail as it begins uphill to a nice rock formation (say Hi to the Gnome for luck), curl around both sides of the formation, Mile 9 marker is past rock, follow this nice ridge run and descend on the newly created switchback to the creek, follow the markers until you get to the gravel road. Marker 8 is beside the red gate that you will go around, continue to follow until your KT markers take you to and old suspension footbridge to cross, after crossing the bridge, go past the barn follow the markers threw the blackberry field, turn right at the old houses, cross the creek the follow the trail through this area. You will pass Marker 7 cross another bridge, then head uphill. Top of the hill you will pass an old abandoned mailbox in the middle of nowhere. Following the trail will get you to Boy Scout Camp.

Just before Marker 6, you will leave the KT and follow the Old Baldy Trail (blue markers) and we will have scouts to point you in the right direction. Descending the Baldy Trail will put you back on the KT near an abandoned camp, where you will turn left to go threw mtn laurel and hemlocks, before climbing up and threw a nice rock cave, continuing to follow the creek to “Williams Shelter” and overnight shelter with an outhouse and water pump (purified but iron tasting). Follow the KT back up hill where Scouts will then direct you to a different section of the “Blue Trail” From here you will follow a ridge which will take you downhill where the trail runs parrell with the river, past the active camps, towards the amphitheater/lake area, and finish line. Congratulations!
Mark Freeman

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