John Colter Run

Back September 19, 2020 Cancelled September 14, 2019 September 15, 2018
September 19, 2020 Cancelled

Corona Virus Consideration – Please Read

Just like you we are monitoring the Corona Virus situation closely. With the event several months away we have a little time on our side. Due to this, we are currently NOT making any plans to postpone, suspend, or cancel the John Colter Run in 2020, but please be aware when you sign up that the event has the potential to be cancelled or postponed with minimal notice.  Also please consider as we continue to get set up for the John Colter Run we incur expenses. 

We will continue to monitor the situation in the coming weeks and months and do our best to communicate clearly with you as things evolve. We will take guidance from our public health institutions and keep your health and safety foremost in mind moving forward.  We will make a final decision whether or not to have the race by  August 1st.  If at that time we decide not to have the race, upon request, we will refund 50% of the entry fee.  We will not have a roll over option.  

You my elect to donate to the race and all proceeds over the costs already incurred will be donated to Headwaters State Park so that we may continue to enjoy the beautiful area.

In the meantime, we hope you have the ability to get out, breathe some fresh air, and enjoy your favorite places.

Registration Opens on April 1, 2020 and is limited to 300 participants.  

IMPORTANT: OUR INSURANCE DOES NOT ALLOW YOU TO GIVE OR SELL YOUR RACE BIB TO SOMEONE ELSE IF YOU CANNOT RUN THE RACE.  While it may seem like a good intention, it has many negative implications to the organizers and participants including liability, timing, results,awards and many other factors.  Race bibs will only be given out to those registered for the event.


Race day is September 19, 2020, and will start at 9:00 am sharp when the ole 50 caliber Hawkins black powder rifle goes off.  The Race begins and ends at the Missouri Headwaters State Park – one mile south of Trident and about 6 miles northeast of Three Forks, MT. Take Exit 278 off I-90. Follow signs to Headwaters State Park and Trident. Parking is limited. Please carpool.

The Course:  The course is approximately 7 miles long, with the first mile and a half on a paved/gravel country road, and the remaining 5.5 miles on mostly rugged trails, just like it was when Lewis and Clark came through here.  The trail portion is relatively rough but suited for cross-country running.  There are two railroad crossings.  Montana Rail Link will stop ALL trains at the first crossing just after the start where we will have a crossing guard. They only do this for two events in Montana!  The second crossing goes UNDER the railroad tracks and by the time you get there the trains will be running again.  You MUST go under the railroad bridge and through the water and mud or you will be disqualified.  The first railroad crossing is 1.5 miles from the start and the second is about 7 miles into the race.  The trail is marked with rock cairns, flags, stakes, skulls, bones, and beer bottles.

The Water Crossings: The last ¼ mile of the course encompasses two water crossings.  The first water crossing goes under the railroad bridge (as stated above).  Tie your shoes tight because the mud can be knee deep!  The second water crossing is the Gallatin River.  Be prepared for water up to waist deep at each crossing.  A safety rope will be secured across the river.  Bring an extra change of clothes for the awards ceremony and refreshments.

To sweeten the deal, we have some great prizes this year! We’ll have our own “John Colter” and you will be chasing him down. The first male and first female to catch John will win a free lunch every week for a year from Clark’s Fork restaurant in Bozeman!   Any runner who beats John to the “Beaver Dam” (approximately 6.5 miles in) will win a commemorative John Colter water bottle from Nathan Sports with a coupon inside for a free meal from Clark’s Fork. Finish awards will be presented to overall top male and female; age group winners; youngest and oldest runner; and special awards to those we think need to be recognized! Raffle prizes awarded at the finish.  Afterward, all are welcome to join us for a post-race party barbeque with beer and music!

IMPORTANT -Due to time constraints and the nature of the race, walkers are not permitted. – No dogs allowed on the race course. There will be one water station approximately 4 miles into the run.  Porta Potties are at the start area only.  AND unless there is some catastrophic event beyond our control, the race will not be cancelled.  Rain and Snow do not constitute such an event.

 Bonus: Transaction fee is included in the $50 race entry fee.

 Please note, race shirts are only awarded to finishers.

 Thanks to our sponsors: Headwaters State Park, Montana Rail Link, GCC, Bozeman Running Co. Clarks Fork, Bobcat ROTC, Gallatin County Search and Rescue, Lerhkinds, Yellowstone Bank, and Muddy Dog Sports (Timing) 

Three Forks

Official website

Click to reach the official site

Information about the event is available in : English

The information about this race is based on information provided by the organizers or found on the official website of the event. Always check the official website for up-to-date information. If you have noticed any mistake, let us know at [email protected]
Last checked on 2020-09-14


John Colter Run

September 19, 2020 (Saturday) - 09:00
7.5 miles

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