Quest for the Crest 50K 

When / Where:

50K - Saturday  May 17, 2020 5:30 A.M.

Burnsville, NC


Friday - May 15th, 6:00 P.M. 9:00 P.M.

Packet Pick-Up and mandatory check-in for the 50K

Albert's Adventure Inn

76 S Toe River Rd Burnsville NC, 28714

Saturday - Race Day - Start 5:30 A.M.  14.5 Hour Cutoff

No packet pick-up on race day!! No Exceptions

Camping information

If you purchased camping on Ultrasignup. Camping will be at Albert's Inn. Camping is for the 50k only and one car per person. The camping fee is for Friday and Saturday nights $50.00 per person.  Check in after 5:00 P.M. and check out by 9:00 A.M Sunday. Pick up all trash and be respectful of the other campers. There is no camping at Black Mountain Campground as pre the USFS Permit.

A shuttle bus will pick you up at Albert's Inn and take you to the start.

Shuttle buses will be provided to the start line. There is no parking at the start!! If you are not on a shuttle you not be allowed to run!

Food and Lodging

Call Albert's Inn at (828) 675-4691. They have 10 rooms that usually sell out when the race goes  on sale. But they also rent properties in the Toe River Valley. There are a couple of hotels in Burnsville.

There are a couple of nice restaurants within walking distance to Albert's Inn.

1. J & J's Grill. Best trout and great food with a German twist, to honor Albert himself.

2. The restaurant at the Mt. Mitchell Golf course.

In Burnsville RunBum's favorite is Snapdragon. Most craft beers on tap and best mixed drinks around. The food is great as well. Ask for Vanessa, the bartender, and tell her you know Run Bum!

Shuttle / Race Information

  1. There will be parking for participants at Neals Creek heliport, located at 2279 S Toe River Rd Burnsville, NC 28714. Follow signs and volunteer instructions. You must be at the shuttle parking no later than 4:00 A.M. to be on the bus by 4:15 A.M. (please do not arrive earlier than 3:00 A.M.)

  2. If you are camping at Albert's Inn, there will a shuttle bus picking you up at the Inn. You must on this shuttle no later than  4:15 A.M.

  3. If you are not on the bus to the start you will not be allowed to race!!

  4. There will be a port-a-potty located at Neals Creek. No port-a-potty at the start.

  5. Bring enough fluids to last for the shuttle ride, and first three hours of the race.

  6. See aid station locations and course maps below. If you want a hard copy map, get Nat Geo #779


Mandatory Gear
1. Headlamp. We start in the dark so you need it but you must keep it with you the entire race. Even if you finish in the daylight per USFS permit!!! 
2. Charcoal filter. Such as life straw or mini sawyer. Tablets and or drops do not count. Every year people don’t think they need it. 60% of the DNF's ran out of water. Even the winners ran out of water between aid stops. Take 2 minutes or less to filter water and they ran out!

3. Collapsible cup for fluids.

Gear will be checked at various aid stations along the course. Not having these items will result in immediate disqualification. 

Drop Bags

Drop bags will be collected at the shuttle pickup . Be sure to label your drop bag with your bib number and the drop location aid station. (Colbert's and/or Mt. Mitchell). Drop bags will be delivered to the finish as soon as possible after the aid stations close. All unclaimed items will be donated or disposed.

If you have clothing to drop at the start, make sure it is labeled, and it will be at the finish.

50K Overview and Notes:

There is 24,000 feet of elevation change in this tough point to point race!

There are 3 big climbs, and 3 big downhill runs that will give you 3,000 + feet of change per climb/descent.  This race tops out at the summit of Mt. Mitchell 6,684 feet above sea level, the HIGHEST point East of the Mississippi! Fifty percent of this race occurs above 5,000 feet. You will crest 6 peaks above 6,000 feet as you run along the Black Mountain Crest Trail. The views from the crest are amazing. All of the trails are EXTREMELY technical, with roots, rocks, and near vertical climbs. The weather is completely UNPREDICTABLE. The temperature could swing as much as 30 degrees from the bottom to the top. A lights jacket is always recommended. It could be raining, snowing or heavy fog. Hiking poles NOT ALLOWED ON THE FIRST CLIMB (Woody Ridge). You will need to have free hands to ascend the steepest parts of the trail. After that you may use hiking poles. 

You must be able to purify water from streams / springs to supplement fluids in the event you run low. We recommend a "life straw" or similar product. We cannot stress enough the remote location of  this race .

You must be self sufficient.


The cutoff time for the 50k is 14.5 hours. See chart Here. Cut off times are SUBJECT TO CHANGE AT ANY TIME FOR weather, safety, etc. as the race director deems is necessary.

This is a CUPLESS race. Bring your own collapsible water container for drinking.

For the 50K, there will be five (5) aid stops along the course. There will be three (3) with full aid and one wit lite aid ,and 1 with fluids only. Aid stations will be stocked with bananas, Coke, Gatorade, salt, potatoes, peanut butter and jelly. 

Special Notice Regarding Water!!

There are several water sources that runners can access along the course. (see locations and descriptions below)

Every runner will most likely have to filter water. Practice using your water filtration device before the race.

Aid Station and Water Information

AS#1 Bowlens Creek - Mile 6.7 - Full Aid 

  • This aid station is a short distance into the race, but comes with 6,500 feet of elevation change! Please grab food and fluids for the climb back up Bowlens Creek to the Black Mountain Crest.

AS #2 Bowlens Creek Return - Water stop - 10.5 miles

  • If you need additional water on your way back up Bowlens Creek, there will be water and Gatorade. Make  sure you have full fluids as your next stop will be 8 miles ahead at Colbert's Creek

AS # 3 Colbert Ridge - Mile 18.0 - Full Aid - Drop Bag


AS # 4 Buncombe - Mile 20.6Lite Aid and Fluids

  • Top-off fluids to prepare for the grueling climb up the Buncombe Horse Trail to Mt. Mitchell. This will be the hottest part of the day.

Spring #1 - Mile 22.3

  • This spring is located just a little over 2 miles up the Buncombe Horse Trail. Water must be filtered.

 Spring #2 - Mile 24.5

  • This spring is located about 4.5 miles from Buncombe Aid #4 at the intersection of the Buncombe Horse Trail and Big Tom Gap. You will cross Thee Creek. Water must be filtered. 


AS # 5 Mt Mitchell - Mile 27.0 - Full Aid  & Drop Bag & Crew Access

  • Full aid station and drop bag. Again take advantage of this aid before you tag the highest point on the east coast and then crush your final decent to the finish. Middle and back of the pack runners make sure your headlight is working as you will likely be running in the twilight on the east side of the mountains.



  • Neals Creek Heliport. There will be BBQ and refreshments at the finish. Also drop bags will be delivered to the finish area. 

Crew Information

Crew is allowed at Mount Mitchell AS.    Address is 2388 NC-128, Burnsville, NC 28714

Runner Tracking & ITRA

Quest for the Crest 50K will feature LiveTrail, runner tracking. Runners will be scanned at four locations along the course and at the finish line. LiveTrail is not used for timing results. Family, friends, and runner crews will be able to follow their runner's progress during the race. Links to the LiveTrail web site will be updated on this page once the LiveTrail website is live. Find out more at

If a runner drops, or misses a cutoff they must turn in their bib at the nearest aid station.

LiveTrail is used for runner tracking only - official results are on Ultrasignup!

Quest for the Crest is a UTMB qualifier, finishers will receive 3 ITRA points.

Note: To register for the 50K - You must have run and finished a 50k within 2 years of the race. 


RunBum Tours does not issue refunds, transfers, or deferments!

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