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The Rut 28k Race

Big Sky

An "extremely steep & technical" 28k course with stunning views and nearly 8000' of climbing!

Trail Running Severe

28 km
2.3 km
2.3 km
5-6 hrs
Low Point
2.3 km
High Point
3.4 km
The Rut 28k Race Map

Considered one of the most coveted trail running events in Montana, the Rut includes the most challenging 28k you will ever run. The 17.6-mile course includes a staggering 7,800' of elevation gain and traverses "extremely steep & technical" terrain, especially as you approach the 11,166' summit of Lone Peak a little over halfway in. "This is a true mountain course," according to the race director, and it's strongly encouraged "to become familiar with the course terrain before registering for this event."


In 2020, the entire event sold out in 4 hours, so if you plan to make this your next big race, keep an eye on the upcoming year's registration day. Cash prizes are awarded to the top 10 overall men and women, so this race draws in plenty of elite runners looking to claim their price.

The 28k begins Saturday at 8am in 3 waves staggered apart by 5-minute increments. Though elite racers have clocked times well under 4 hours, the median finish time is much closer to 6 hours. If you've been trail running for a while, you're likely already doing the math in your head—even on a hilly course, 6 hours is a respectable finish time for a 50k. That thought only reinforces that this is one of the most difficult 28k courses you'll find anywhere in North America, maybe even across most of the world.

Per the race guide, the 28k includes three full aid stations and one water-only stop at the following intervals: Headwaters Bowl: (Mile 3.9) (Cut off time of 10:15 AM) Swiftcurrent: (Mile 9.0) (Cut off time of 12:15 PM) Summit: Water Only Station (Mile 10.7) Moosetracks: (Mile 14.5) (Cut off time of 3:15 PM) Finish Line: (Mile 17.8) (Cut off time of 4:30 PM)

Other Course Details & Source



High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

between May and October

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area