The National High School Trail Championship (NHSTC) is a trail race for high school athletes. The next running of the NHSTC will be held on Saturday, July 29, 2023 in Salida, Colorado. The race will feature switchbacks, climbs, descents and rocks to give athletes the opportunity to showcase their strength, finesse and trail running prowess.

WHAT: Featuring switchbacks, climbs and descents, it doesn’t get any more trail than this - and they don’t call it the Rocky Mountains for nothing. Race distance is 5.4 miles.

WHEN: The race is Saturday, July 29, 2023, on the Salida Mountain Trails system. The Beas Knees Citizens race starts at 7:20 a.m. The Boys’ Championship starts at 8:20 a.m. and the Girls’ Championship starts at 8:45 a.m.

WHO: The NHSTC is open to all current high school athletes and is extended to include incoming freshman and 2023 high school graduates. There is no qualifying race for the NHSTC. However, due to course limitations, we will cap the race sizes when we hit our maximum numbers. The NHSTC will crown a team champion and individual champion for the girls and boys.

There is an individual competition and also a category for a three person team competition. To be considered for the team championship, all team members must attend the same high school. All racers on teams will also be eligible for individual awards. Teams of three to five individuals may register under a club name. We will score the top three competitors from each team.

WHERE: Salida, Colorado, specifically, on the Salida Mountain Trails system. To check out Salida Mountain Trails, go to


The NHSTC will begin and end near the Arkansas River by downtown Salida, Colorado on Saturday, July 29, 2023.

Elevation of the start and finish comes in at 7,057 feet and the high point of the course will top out at 7,558. The planned route will cover 5.4 miles. There will be ample opportunity for passing during the first 1.85 miles of the route. Racers will begin their NHSTC experience by following a dirt road for approximately .7 mile. This will allow room for the race to spread out before hitting trail.

Current Course Records:

  • Beas Knees Mens': Taylor Stack 32:11, 2019
  • Beas Knees Womens': Aubrey Surage 37:47, 2022
  • Girls' Championship: Aubrey Surage 37:28, 2021
  • Boys' Championship: Sullivan Middaugh 31:52, 2020
Salida Trails Salida Trails Salida Trails


Not an incoming high school freshman, an outgoing high school senior or somewhere in between? Not to worry. The Beas Knees, a citizens race, has you covered and will allow you to test your trail running on the very course that will serve as the National High School Trail Championships later that morning. The Beas Knees will set off in the cool morning, mountain air at 7:20 a.m. on Saturday, July 29, 2023.

Do we not know how to spell? The Beas Knees Citizens Race is named in recognition and honor of the late Brett Beasley. Brett, a U.S. Forest Service Ranger, was instrumental in connecting countless people to the outdoors and locally, his very fingerprints are literally all over Salida Mountain Trails. Brett, known as “The Beas” by his friends, has left a lasting legacy with his family and in our community.

By definition, “the bee’s knees” means “the height of excellence.” We think that this definition appropriately fits Brett and it is our intention that the race will too.


What makes Salida a good fit for a national level trail race?

Because Salida loves trails! However you choose to enjoy them, the Salida area has more than 460 miles of legal singletrack and that doesn’t include the 500 miles of nearby Colorado Trail.

No matter how you slice it, that’s a lot of trails to run on and a lot of fun to be had!

And now it’s time for a national trail race for high school runners. There are races that cater to athletes that gravitate toward the flat and fast, but there is not a national level high school race that gives trail racers the venue to do what they do best. An athlete might have great speed, but that doesn’t always translate to the trail. On the flip side, an athlete might not have elite speed, but they might have what it takes to be great on the trail.

Coach at Salida High School Kenny Wilcox says, “I’ve noticed just how remarkable many of our runners have become at negotiating the technicality and unrelenting nature that a trail can offer. Not all of our athletes would claim to be great trail runners, but many of them have honed their skill to the point that they are competitive with some high profile trail racers.”

“As an example, take a look at the results from the 2016 Run Through Time Half and Full Marathon held on Salida’s trails. You’ll notice that Salida athletes Taylor Stack and Seth Minor mixed right in with athletes that have been at the Olympics, Olympic Trials, and Leadville 100. I have no doubt that high school athletes from other towns across the country would do the same if given the chance. It’s time for these athletes to have a place where they can come together and “tickle” the trail like a great pianist dancing her fingertips across a grand piano!”

Salida High School will serve as the host for this event.


Salida Trails

Trail action begins with the Poblano Trail which then connects with the Burn Pile Trail. At this point the course intensifies and racers should be prepared for a steady climb that includes a series of switchbacks on the newly improved and widened Burn Pile Trail. The added width of Burn Pile will make it possible to pass. Burn Pile continues and empties out onto CR 176. From this point, racers will descend approximately .4 mile on CR 176 to the Rusty Lung Trail. If you are looking for a place to comfortably pass this is your opportunity. Once races hit the Rusty Long Trail the trail will narrow and put your climbing muscles to the test once again. The Rusty Lung will continue to climb for the majority of its .9 mile length, but not as severe as the Burn Pile Trail.

As racers leave Rusty Lung, they will then connect to Lil’ Rattler. The beginning of Lil’ Rattler marks the high point of the course at 7,558 in elevation. This also signals that racers have surpassed the midpoint of the course and now get to enjoy the descent on the Lil’ Rattler and Frontside Trails. The speed of the race will no doubt pick up with the beginning of the descent, but racers will need to continue to be deft on their feet. As the Frontside Trail runs out, racers will have one last golden moment to make a pass as the course widens during the final quarter mile of the race.

2020 Route Map

  1. Packet Pickup: From 5-7 p.m. on Friday, July 28, at 7000 Feet Running Company (140 W. 1st St., Unit A, Salida, CO). If you are with a group, please just send one or two representatives to pick up your race bibs and socks. Bibs and socks can also be picked up on race day beginning at 6: 30 a.m. at the Riverside Park (corner of F St. and Sackett, Salida) band shell.

  2. Parking: There is a bunch of parking just across the bridge on North F St. If you're in Salida, use "S Mountain" to find your way toward Riverside Park and parking. The city of Salida recently added a large parking lot that can be found just after crossing the F St. bridge and will be to the east. Parking is also available around Riverside Park. Take note that 2 blocks of F Street are blocked off for businesses near Riverside Park. Drive north on E or G Streets to Sackett Street to avoid closure.

  3. Bathrooms: Riverside Park has porta pottys and bathrooms. One block west of Riverside Park there are also bathrooms by the boat ramp. Please bring some hand sanitizer with you!

  4. Spectators: There's lots of space to watch the race unfold. Familiarize yourself with the map or ask one of our volunteers to steer you to a prime viewing location.

  5. Food/Water: Light post-race refreshments will be available.

  6. Late Registration: You may register on the day of the event, however, arrive in plenty of time to get signed up. Late registrants may not receive our custom socks.

  7. Awards: Awards will be presented at the Riverside Park Band Shell at the conclusion of all events.

  8. Results: Results will not be posted. You will be able to find results online through our timing company at

  9. Food: If you're looking for food downtown, check out Moonlight Pizza, Amicas, Tacos El Tapatio, The Fritz, and The Boathouse. Little Red Hen Bakery is a great option! Need some coffee? There's Cafe Dawn and Brown Dog downtown. Natural Grocers and Safeway are also within a few blocks of the race. This is not an exhaustive list, but gets you started in the right direction. We do have fast food options like Subway and Domino's on Highway 50.

  10. Entertainment: While you cool off from your race, you might want to check out Totally Tubular. They rent all kinds of river gear and it is within a block of the finish line. You can rent a boogie board or an inflatable raft for three hours for $15 and this includes a helmet and pfd.

  11. Trails: Want some more trails? Check out of our local trails in the summer as best done in the morning. There is also several great options along the Continental Divide (Crest Trail) and Rainbow Trail (accessed via the Columbine Trail). For an easier bike ride close to town, check out the Spartan East, Spartan West and Little Rainbow Trails.




Friday, July 28, 2023, from 5-7pm at 7000 Feet Running Company (140 W 1st St Unit A, Salida, CO 81201)


Race Day, Saturday, July 29, 2023, at the Riverside Park Bandshell (the corner of F Street and Sackett in Salida, CO 81201)


Find past race results on MileSplit here.