The start and finish locations for 2013 will be in Rotary Peace Park (moving back from ShipYards Park). Because of this move to Rotary, Leg 4 will once again include the loop around Hidden Lakes.
Course Overview (updated for 2013)
The race begins and ends in Rotary Peace Park. For much of the course, you will be running along side of (or above) the Yukon River or one of a few small pothole lakes. The trail, though well used, is worn so watch out for tree roots in many spots. There is significant elevation gain and loss all along the trail (see map).
The course is divided into four legs, ranging in length from 7.6 to 13.6km. The marathon and relay routes consist of all four legs. The half-marathon consists of legs 1 and 4.
The trail is well-marked with permanent trail markers (with Yukon River Trail Marathon logo), orange pin markers and spray paint.
Volunteers are posted at key points to ensure runners remain on course.
Fluids are available at kilometers 4.1, 7.6, 14.7, 19.6, 23.8, 30.5 and the finish line. Food is available at Checkpoints 1 (7.6 km), 2 (19.6 km) and 3 (28.5 km) - there are no gels on the course.
Leg 1 - 7.6 kilometers
Starting at Rotary Peace Park (on the West Side of the Yukon River), runners cross under the Robert Campbell Bridge, then take a hard right turn and onto the bridge before meeting up with the Millennium Trail (on the East side of the Yukon River) to the Rotary Centennial Bridge. Cross the Bridge (back to the West Side) and follow the trail through the Robert Service Campground, crossing the parking lot to the South Access Road. Turn left at South Access, passing Yukon Energy Corporation's Whitehorse Rapids Plant. Turn left on Schwatka Lake Road and continue to the float plane dock, where a sharp right turn is made up the embankement and the railway tracks are crossed. Following the trail approx. 1.6km to emerge alongside the Miles Canyon Road for about 50 meters before turning right onto a short narrow section added in 2011. This takes the runner to the crossing point at the top of the first big hill on Miles Canyon Road. Cross the road and follow the trail which shortly reaches the escarpment, down to 'Saddle' on the side of the road and down a narrow trail that follows Miles Canyon and crosses the new 'single-track' bridge before re-joining the Miles Canyon access road.
After a short section on the road (100-150 meters), drop down a short, steep trail, and across Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge. Fluids are available here and this is the first exchange point for the relay. Half-marathoners turn left here, and follow Leg 4 along the east shore of Schwatka Lake.
Leg 2 - 10.0 kilometers
Runners in the marathon, relay event turn right at the bridge, and follow the Yukon River trail through Canyon City.
EXTREME CAUTION should be used as there are some steep drop offs to the river. Keep your eyes on the terrain, not the scenery.
Continue along the river trail for a few kilometers, then make a sharp left turn in the direction of Chadburn Lake. Follow a log-strewn trail with a long, steep hill to Chadburn Lake picnic shelter. Food, drinks, and toilets are available here; this is Checkpoint #2 - the second exchange point for the relay.
Leg 3 - 10.9 kilometers
Continue along Chadburn Lake and over to Chadden Lake. Follow the low-lying trail along Chadden Lake until directed up a hill. Continue along rolling hills to the end of the lake where there is a BIG hill leading to a lookout above the lake (water is available here). Follow the undulating trail for a couple of kilometers before making a sharp left turn up a steep trail to the Chadburn Lake Blue ski trail. Follow the Blue ski trail, cross Chadburn Lake Road. Run through the ski trail parking lot and back to the Miles Canyon Suspension Bridge. This is the Checkpoint #3 and the third exchange point for the relay. Food and fluids are available here.
Leg 4 - 13.6 kilometers
From the Miles Canyon foot bridge, the course turns north and follows the east shore of Schwatka Lake past the boat launch and up a short path to the right. The trail continues above the lake, and returns to lake level after a few kilometers. Continue through the picnic area where water is available and then cutting right toward the Chadburn lake road, crossing it and then looping around Hidden Lakes (on your left). The trail initially rises, then descends to lake level and then back up a steep climb to overlook the lakes. The trail undulates, but stays high before slipping down to the open area before Heart Break Hill (your old friend is back!) Ascend Heart Break and then enjoy the bone jaring descent to the Chadburn Lake road and the weezing climb up "Pee Wee" hill just after crossing the road. Enjoy the awesome view over Schwatka Lake to the green Yukon River Valley and beyond to Mount Lorne and Golden Horn Mountains. The trail descends to the river to a water stop and the Millennium Trail. Cross the Rotary Centennial Bridge, and continue along the paved trail, running under the Robert Campbell Bridge to finish at Rotary Park.