Donuts, Dirt, and Epic Trail Running: The Launch of the Mammoth Trail Fest

The inaugural Mammoth Trail Fest will take place in September, 2022.

By on May 3, 2022 | Leave a reply

“Donuts, Dirt, and Epic Trail Running …” promises the tagline of the Mammoth Trail Fest, three elements we all know will make trail runners come running.

Registration opened on Tuesday, May 3, for the new event, which will take place for the first time in Mammoth Lakes, California, in late September 2022. The event is the brainchild of runner Tim Tollefson, who is fulfilling a long-time personal ambition with its creation.

He told iRunFar: “After spending nearly a decade traveling the globe to run some of the biggest and most competitive ultramarathons, I wanted to create something locally here in California to share all of my love of trail running and the Eastern Sierra, to help cultivate the community around these mountain events, and to have it stateside. A lot of people will never have the opportunity to travel abroad to experience some of these big races, and here in Mammoth Lakes we have the perfect opportunity to create something of that scale.”

Mammoth Trail Fest - alpine lake

Mammoth Trail Fest race director Tim Tollefson runs a section of trail overlooking one of Mammoth, California’s pristine alpine lakes. All photos courtesy of Mammoth Trail Fest/Tim Tollefson.

The feature race is the Mammoth 50k, kicking off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, packing 8,000 feet of height gain in a single loop. The beautiful course meanders through forests and lakes, with a mix of tricky technical trails and pleasant singletrack. Although the $8,000 prize pot will prove tempting to speedy folks, the race also promises generous cut-offs, making it an all-inclusive event for all abilities.

Also on offer are the McCoy 26k, another single-loop course covering 16.5 miles with 4,000 feet of elevation, and the Dragon’s Back Ascent, a vertical-kilometer-style race to the top of Mammoth Mountain.

Tollefson took inspiration for his festival of running and mountain appreciation from events like The Rut Mountain Runs at Big Sky Resort, Montana, and the Broken Arrow Skyrace at Palisades Tahoe, California.

He said, “What we have here in the Eastern Sierra is incredible high alpine trail running, with Europe-style peaks overlooking the course, and so it’s cool that you can be in California and have that experience.”

The timing of the event in late September should make for a lively end-of-season celebration, with talks, films, and social events planned alongside the racing. Mammoth Lakes already has a budding trail running community, with a group that meets for weekly runs. And Tollefson hopes that the Mammoth Trail Fest will help launch that community further, making Mammoth Lakes one of the new hubs of North American trail running.

Mammoth Trail Fest - sunset running

Mammoth Lakes, California, will be an excellent aesthetic backdrop for the Mammoth Trail Fest.

Sarah Brady

is a trail runner from Tipperary, Ireland, and Editor with iRunFar. She can usually be found running around the Wicklow mountains, or at her home in Dublin with her head in a book. Find her on Instagram or at Mediocre Ultrarunner.