Black Squirrel Half: September 11, 2021

  • U.S.A.T.F. Colorado Half Marathon Trail ChampionshipStart: Lory State Park, Bellvue, Colorado
  • Distance: 13.1 miles with ~2,000' of vertical gain/descent.
    • Kids: 1 mile on gently rolling singletrack.
  • Min/Max Elevation: 5,400'/7,000'
  • Average Elevation: 6,100'
  • Terrain: 12 miles dirt singletrack, 1 mile dirt road
  • Fauna: Black abert squirrels, black bears, other more colorful animals
  • Registration Cap: 350
  • Time Allowance: 5.5 hours
  • Date: Saturday September 10, 2022, 7:00am (kids: 10:30am)

We hope for close-to-normal conditions on race day, as relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. Current race information reflects a normal year. Details may change as race day approaches, and any changes will be communicated to registered runners well in advance. For reference, here are the 2020 COVID Safety Protocols.

Taking place on the trails of Lory State Park to the northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, the Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon offers a perimeter tour of the park, providing breathtaking views to the east of Horsetooth Reservoir, Fort Collins and the Great Plains; and to the west of the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain peaks.

The race covers a variety of terrain, with a mix of technical and non-technical hard-pack trails. After a mile of dirt roads, the trail ascends a little under 4 miles and 1,500 feet to the apex of the course on Lory’s west ridge. The views are well worth the climb. A rapid and – at times – technical descent follows, leaving three and a half miles of gently rolling and smooth singletrack into the finish.

After the race, kick back and enjoy a hearty breakfast, awards and generous sponsor giveaways at the newly updated Soldier Canyon Picnic Area. Our aim is to offer a trail running experience that is challenging, yet accessible to all.


Registration for 2022 will open December 15, 2021

Fees for the 2021 Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon are as follows:
Dec 7 – April 30: $75
May 1 – July 31: $85
Aug 1 – Sep 9: $99

What You Get in Return for Your Registration Fee

  • A beautiful, challenging and well-marked course on some of the best trails in Fort Collins
  • Enthusiastic, knowledgeable race and aid station volunteers
  • Fully stocked aid stations
  • Lory State Park day parking pass
  • Generous 5.5 hour cut-off time
  • Gender specific race T-shirt
  • Metal camping tumbler finisher award and overall and age group awards
  • Post race pancake breakfast and raffle
    • Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free and non-alcoholic options are available as part of our standard race fare

Waiting List

In the event that the race sells out, we will maintain a waiting list and transfer runners from the waiting list to the race roster should other runners already registered not be able to attend.

Transfer Credit Policy

In the event that the race sells out and there are runners on the waiting list, we will offer a race-transfer option, allowing runners credit towards their next Gnar Runners race registration according to the following schedule:

  • Until July 31: 75% credit of registration (excluding Ultrasignup fees)
  • Aug 1 – Sept 9: 50% credit of registration (excluding Ultrasignup fees)

Credits may be applied to any future Gnar Runners race and will be valid for 12 months. To request a transfer credit, please Contact Us.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

With the exception of wait-list transfers, entries are non-refundable and non-transferable. In the event the race is cancelled due to extreme weather, fire, disease or for some other unforeseeable event, we cannot offer refunds or credits.

Course & Aid Stations

Half Marathon Course Map

Black Squirrel Map Click to download PDF map of course

A map of the Lory trails is available here.

Interactive Map

Course Profile

Black Squirrel Half Marathon Course Profile

Aid Stations

Aid Station Mile Split Total Gain Descent
Timber/Westridge 4.5 4.5 1600 50
Arthur's West 3.8 8.3 50 1600
Arthur's East 2.5 10.8 250 250
Finish 2.5 13.3 20 200

All aid stations will be stocked with water and VFuel drink. The Arthur's West Aid Station at mile 8.3 will have additional snacks including fruit and chips.

**Aid stations will not provide disposable water cups. All runners are required to carry their own water bottle or hydration pack.**

Time Cut-Offs

Runners have a total of 5.5 hours to complete the course. There are no intermediate course cut-offs.

Drop Bags

Runners may leave a finish line drop bag at the start/finish. We will have a tarp to set bags out next to the start. Pack your gear to stay dry in case we get any rain.

Drop bags should be clearly labeled with your name and bib number. Please keep your drop bag to a reasonable size (small duffel bag or stuff sack). Please do not leave any valuable items in your drop bags - volunteers are not responsible for lost items. Drop bags will not be transported to any other locations on course.

Course Marking

The course will be well marked with pink flagging and pink pin flags. Important intersections will be supplemented with flour ground markings and directional arrows. On longer stretches of trail without intersections, confidence flagging will be placed approximately every quarter mile. Turns will be marked heavily.


There will be ample facilities at the start/finish. In addition, there are park facilities that can be used at the Arthur's Trailhead, which is passed at mile 8.3 and 10.8. There is also a toilet at the Timber Trailhead at mile 1.

Crewing & Spectating

The best viewing points are at the start/finish line and at the Arthur's Trailhead, two miles north of the start at the end of the main park road.

The entire trail system is open to the public if you want to spectate and encourage elsewhere on course; however, crewing and pacing is not allowed outside of designated aid stations and will result in the disqualification of your runner.

Kids Race

We will hold a free one-mile kids race beginning at 10:30a from the race start. Parents are welcome to accompany their children on the course, and we will also have race volunteers available to help chaperone the kids through the course.

Detailed Course Directions

The Black Squirrel Trail Half Marathon will start and finish at the Soldier Canyon Picnic Area in Lory State Park to the northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado. Runners will head south on the Lodgepole Drive Spur Road for a little less than a half mile before looping back north on the main Lory Service Road to the Timber Trailhead where they will access the Timber Trail and ascend all the way to the Westridge Trail.

The course takes a right on Westridge, looping around to connect with the Howard Trail (right turn), which runners will take down to the Arthur's Rock Link Trail (hard left) and Arthur's Rock Trail (right) to the Arthur's Rock Trailhead. From the trailhead/aid station, the course will run south on the west side of the South Valley Trail until it turns back north on the east side of the loop at the Horsetooth Mountain Park border. Runners will then pass through the Arthur's Rock Trailhead again to connect with the East Valley Trail which will take them back to the finish.

You will climb ~1,500 feet between mile two and mile six, descend an equal distance over the next two and a half miles and then run on gently rolling terrain for the last 4.5 miles.


Race rules are designed to provide a safe and fair experience for everyone involved and to help ensure our ability to produce the race again next year. Major rule infractions by racers will result in immediate disqualification of the racer. Please do not argue with or harass our volunteers. Please direct any questions and feedback to us here.

  1. The race will be limited to 5.5 hours and will end at 12:30pm. There are no intermediate cut-offs.
  2. Please make sure that your bib number is visible from the front.
  3. If you need to drop out of the race for any reason, you must check out with the nearest aid station or course volunteer.
  4. Purposeful littering is prohibited and will result in an immediate disqualification.
  5. Stay on the trail. No bushwhacking or short cutting. In case of wet trail conditions, please run through any muddy sections to avoid widening the trail. Yield to pedestrian and horses. Mountain bikers should yield to runners, but please use common sense in all circumstances.
  6. Pacers are not allowed. Crewing is allowed at designated aid stations only.
  7. No mechanical aid (poles, traction devices, etc.) unless approved by race staff prior to the race for a specific reason.
  8. All runners should carry a 16oz minimum water bottle or bladder that can be refilled at aid stations. There will be no water cups at aid stations.
  9. Dogs are not allowed on the course with runners.


    Friday 9/10:

    4:00-7:00p: Optional packet pick-up at Altitude Running 2531 S Shields St #2N, Fort Collins, CO 80526

    Saturday 9/11:

    5:30-6:45a: Race Day Packet Pickup
    7:00a: Race Start
    8:30a: First Finishers Expected
    9:00a: Post-Race Pancake Breakfast & Party Begins
    10:30a: Kids Race
    11:00a: Awards
    12:30p: Race Cut-Off

    Parking & Directions

    Parking for runners will be available at the Soldier Canyon Picnic Area in Lory State Park beginning at 5:30 a.m. Priority parking spaces adjacent to the Soldier Canyon start/finish area will be given to carpools of 2 or more runners on a first come-first serve basis.

    All other vehicles will be directed to park in the Timber Trailhead lot, on the side of the Lodgepole Drive spur road and, if necessary, further down the main Lory Service Road in the Eltuck Picnic Area. Late arrivals parking at the Eltuck Picnic Area may need to walk up to a mile to the start of the race. Plan to arrive early to give yourself enough time to walk to the start and check in.

    The Lodgepole Drive spur road will be restricted to one-way traffic from south to north. Vehicles will enter on the south end of Lodgepole Drive and will fill in the first available space on the right side of the road. Vehicles will exit on the north end of Lodgepole Drive.

    All vehicles containing registered runners will receive a park pass - good for one vehicle - as part of their entry fee. Any other vehicles (crews/spectators) will be required to have a Colorado State Parks Annual Pass or purchase a park entry pass on-site for $9.

    Black Squirrel Parking Map

    Driving Directions

    708 Lodgepole Dr, Bellvue, Colorado 80512