September 11, 2021

Registration for 2021 is open!

Smokechaser 30km & 5Mile

Course Description

This trail race starts on the shores of Priest Lake Idaho and runs through sections of lush forest and alpine terrain to a historic fire lookout tower at 7200′ elevation. In the early days of wilderness firefighting, the Smokechasers were brave protectors of our forests who treked into the wilderness, sometimes alone to put out fires or “smokes” started by lighting strikes. Before the modern period of spotting forest fires with aircraft and satilites, fires were reported from mountain top lookout posts, ranger stations or guard stations around Priest Lake. Brave Smokechasers came from nearby blister rust camps and CCC camps. Before roads, helicopters and smoke jumpers were used for firefighting, the Smokechasers were taken by boat to a drop-off point or trail head below the smoke. They then hiked to the fire, carrying a heavy fire pack which contained a Pulaski, shovel, water and 2-3 days rations, all wrapped in a canvas trap, which also served as a bedroll to meet the challenge. Experience the wilderness trail of Priest Lake Idaho like the Smokechasers of days past- Race the Smokechaser and meet your challenge!

Countdown to RACE DAY!


Course Profiles

The 30k Course – the first 4 miles and last 4 miles are very runable dirt forest road. Mile 4-6 and 14-16 is runnable but rocky and steeper. The middle 3 miles while making the climb up to the tower and the next 3 miles back down is mixed, rugged technical trail. If you are new to technical trail running plan to hike some of these upper sections as it is challenging technical running. There are a number of sections of rocky and gravel mix, and several water crossings including a very cool water fall. The tower access trail is the old trail used to supply the lookout tower crews when it was staffed during fire season, It is only accessible by foot or ATV so we can not get drop bags to the turn around. There will be water, sport drink, and snack food at aprox. mile 3, the turn around point at the lookout tower around mile 9 will have water and gel only, and again around mile 16 full aid. You will need to have a camel back or water bottles and nutrition self supported between aid stations. Plan to carry a minimum of 32 oz. on you.  5 mile course has elevation gain of 500′. 30k course gain is 4800′! Run scenic forest groves to alpine ridges with 360 degree views. This trail will get you to the best scenic vista in the Selkirk Mountains and worth the work to get there!! Overall awards at finish line 1-3. Check out these course photos to see pics from the trail.

5 mile Course. Mixed trail starting on the beach of Priest Lake with sections of single track hiking trail and logging road with a great view of Priest Lake toward the top.

From RD Ken

We care about our athlete’s race day experience, your personal safety, and the safety of our race crew staff. As we all work through the impacts of COVID-19, we want to ensure you that we will modify race day operations to follow CDC and our local health department guidelines.

We are hopeful that 2021 will bring some progress toward a return to normal, but we want to clearly communicate what modifications will be considered at all Priest Lake Multisport races.

Last fall as the pandemic began to spike, we were able to hold the Priest Lake Marathon, 50k, Half-Marathon, and 25k. We were also able to hold the Smokechaser 30k and 5-mile trail race.

These races provided successful race day experiences with some modifications for COVID, and we will implement similar actions as they are needed based on the conditions present during race day. They were two great days of watching people cross real finish lines, with real time, and real smiles. We look forward to seeing you in 2021 and will model plans as we did at these two races. We successfully held some races last year and fully expect to have safe and successful operation plans for this year.

Being able to race in the rural location of our beautiful area affords us lots, and lots, and lots, of space!

We look forward to experiencing your 2021 race day goals with you. See you at the starting line!

Modified race operations will include;

  • No race day registration. Registration will need to be on line. This eliminates long lines race day.
  • Rapid race check-in. We use a larger area to spread out check in tables. Waivers are included in your on-line registration so there will be nothing to sign or stand in line for other than getting your bib. At the triathlon this will be a bib packet with tags, numbers, and caps.
  • Shirts will be provided right after you cross the finish line. This significantly reduces lines and crowding of people.
  • Race registration caps. We will be limiting race entries at all races as needed. This is TBD and could change quickly. To ensure we race and race safe, we would rather have a smaller field of participants than no race at all.
  • We would prefer not to generate the waste of lots of small plastic bottles, but it is prudent to do so. ALL aid stations at all races will have “mini” sealed individual bottles of water or electrolyte drink and be self-serve. Aid station attendant will stock tables and you can grab and go! Aid attendants and monitors will ensure social distancing and use ppe as required.
  • Modified start. Modeled after our successful race days last fall, we used a modified start time. All races are chip timed, so you don’t start the clock until you cross the starting line. We will keep starting lines open for an extended time of 15 minutes. You can keep all the personal space you need, and start as you want. This reduces crowding at the start line, and also spreads runners out more on the course with a lot of safe space.





IMPORTANT- RV/TENT CAMPING-Reserve your spot soon, these will sell out.  follow the link to the state park website and reserve your site at LIONHEAD CG. Next best camping at INDIAN CREEK STATE PARK. CHECK OUT CAMPING HERE. THERE ARE WALK UP (NO RESERVATION) SPACES AT INDIAN CREEK, LIONHEAD, AND DICKENSHEET- IF YOU DID NOT RESERVE A SPACE GET THERE EARLY.- 

Closest Lodging at Inn at Priest Lake, or Coolin Motel (25 min. south) – Area rental homes and cabins also available, more info on our resource tab at top of home page or visit for more info about our area.

Race Day Schedule

Race day racer check in starts at 7 AM at the start line JUST PAST MAIN ENTRY TO THE PARK

Race Fees

Online Registration ends THURSDAY 9/9 at 12 PM

Refund & Transfer Policy

We want to make signing up easy and flexible, please read the following refund policy before signing up. We strive to honor your hard work training for this race by working equally hard for your race day experience. This policy is intended to provide options to withdraw from the race while respecting individual circumstances and the whole event. This policy offers more flexibility and options than most races, to ensure we can provide that, we must strictly follow the below listed policies.

  • Withdrawal prior to 120 days before event date – Full Refund of race fee less $18 processing fee.
  • Withdrawal prior to 70 days before event date – Refund of 50% of race fees only- No refunds after this date.
  •  Transfers- Priest Lake Multisports offers transfers for medical and bereavement. Transfers are valid for the following years race. Contact Race Director with the contact form on this site.
  • NO transfers are provided from one participant to another. 
  • TO WITHDRAW from the race and request a refund, contact Race Director using the contact form on this site.


Race Director: 
Ken Eldore

NEW FOR 2021

Smokechaser & THE GRIT

The GRIT: Priest Lake | Sandpoint | Hope

Smokechaser is a proud participant in The GRIT North Idaho Trails Series. Choose from three levels of distance & difficulty and run the best, most scenic off-pavement courses North Idaho has to offer. Get out there and Go Run Idaho Trails!
In partnership with Priest Lake Race, Race the Wolf & Run7b.