September 9, 2023



Smokechaser 30km                   

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 satellites, 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 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.


Please check out the resource tab on this website for links to all area resorts and lodging. There are many great places to stay. Camping for this race: Lionhead CG is right at the start/finish line so you can walk to the start. (200-300 yards). Reserve using the links on the RESOURCE tab. The park can change to walk-up camping after Labor Day some years, at this years race there were numerous walk up camp sites available.

Next closest camping is Lionhead CG. Use the links on the RESOURCE tab to get to their site. There were also numerous walk up camp sites available on race day, but if you HAVE AN RV and want to ensure a spot, reserve one at Indian Creek State Park for sure! There are hook up and non-hook up sites. Don’t wait, if it is available book it, the State has a good refund policy if you cancel but seasonal demand goes up quickly through the spring.

Dickensheet CG is walk up and usually has good tent spots or small RV spots. 

Inn at Priest Lake has RV hook ups.

If you book early, Coolin Motel is a good clean place to stay, the Inn in Coolin is also. 

All finishers will take home a custom high quality large insulated trophy mug. (perfect to show off at work with your morning latte in it. YA, I DID THAT! 🙂

All finishers will also get a custom Priest Lake Smokechaser finisher shirt.

Results are published on Run Sign Up and the race is chip timed.

Awards- Top 3 overall Female and top 3 overall Male will be awarded at the finish line with overall award.


Race Day Schedule

Race day check in starts at 7:30 AM at the start line JUST PAST MAIN ENTRY TO THE PARK

30k Start Time: 8:30AM


Race Director: 
Ken Eldore

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.