Black Canyon Ascent 6M Run and Challenge Walk

Black Canyon Ascent 6M Run and Challenge Walk

Saturday, May 16, 2020   •  6 mile


CO HWY 347 & US HWY 50, Montrose, CO    view map


The Black Canyon Ascent 6-mile Run and Challenge Walk features a tough, scenic 6-mile course starting at an elevation of 6500' and climbing almost 2,000' to the rim of the Black Canyon National Park. For over 40 years, beautiful vistas and scenic surroundings have inspired people to challenge themselves and the competition in this classic Western Colorado event. After the race, participants and their family and friends can enjoy visiting the spectacular Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. All participants will receive high-quality tech shirts with distinctive Black Canyon imagery. Also, all participants will be entered in the raffle to take place during and after the awards ceremony. The race is also the San Juan Mountain Runners primary fundraiser for several local non-profits. This year we will feature:

   -CJ Sports Timing

   -High-quality tech shirts

   -Tasty food and drink at the finish line area

   -Great overall and age group awards

   -Excellent raffle prizes


 T Shirt

 Goody Bag

 Course Certified

 Event Timed


 Food and Drinks



Course description:

This 6-mile event climbs almost 2,000' to the National Park on a 2-lane, paved road.  The road will be open to traffic and participants will need to stay on the left side of the road.  That being said, there is little traffic on that road race-day morning and State Patrol will be helping us to monitor the course.
Two aid stations will be set up:  at mile 2 water only and at mile 4 water and Gatorade.  If it is a warm day we encourage those who anticpate being on the course for more than 90 minutes to carry extra water.  
At mile-5 at the kiosk entrance to the Park, the course flattens out and the last leg entering the campground area is a fast downhill.  Be careful!  On tired legs that downhill stretch can get the better of you!

Course maps:

 Copy - BCA course  

Directions to start:

Both the walkers and runners will start at the intersection of US Hwy 50 and CO Hwy 347 approx. 6 miles east of Montrose, CO.  The course climbs 6 miles into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park on a paved 2-lane road.  The finish area is near the Park Campground with post-race festivities at the adjacent Park Amphitheater.


NEW THIS YEAR: Race participants must park in the in the San Juan Cinema parking lot and take the bus to the start.  Post-race bus service will return particants to the parking area.  Carpooling is recommended.  Participants who have picked up their race packet may be dropped off at the race start; however, parking will not be allowed.

Awards info:

This year we are offering a $100 bonus if someone sets a new course record in the Overall Male or Female category.

  • Overall Male Course Record - 38:55 (Mike Popejoy, 2017)
  • Overall Female Course Record – 44:53 (Kim Dobson, 2016)

We will feature custom awards for:

  • Overall 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Male and Female
  • Masters 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Male and Female
  • 1st place for Male and Female in the following age groups: 0-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70+.

Additional info

Event Schedule:

  • 7:30 am - Walkers
  • 8:00 am - Runners
  • Awards immediately following the run
  • Delicious hot food, drinks, and entertainment at the finish line.

Awards and raffle take place in the amphitheatre overlooking the Black Canyon and the Elk Mountains immediately following the run. First 250 Registrants are guranteed race shirts. 

Professional Timing:

CJ Sports Timing will provide professional timing for all runner participants.  Walkers will be timed manually and all walkers are encouraged to keep track of their own time. 

Proceeds Benefit:

All proceeds will go to local non-profits.

Technical Singlets

All participants will receive technical short-sleeved t-shirts featuring our Black Canyon logo. 

Packet pickup:

Friday night Packet Pick-up & Registration, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. located in Montrose at the Office of Business and Tourism, 107 S. Cascade at the corner of South First and Cascade.

NEW THIS YEAR: Race day Packet Pick-up & Registration, 6:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. at the San Juan Cinema parking lot at Hillcrest and Highway 50, 1869 E Main St, Montrose, CO 81401.   

Registration info:

Registration Fees

$30 - until 3/16/2020

$35 - until 4/16/2020

$40 - until midnight, 5/14/2020

$45 - 5/15/2020 at Packet Pickup and on Race Day 5/16/2020

Special Youth Offer - free youth registration (13 and under) with paid adult registration!


• Early Bird Individual

$30.00    Expires 3/16/2020 11:59 PM

• Youth (13 and under) with paid adult