The Great Volcanic Challenge is an iconic mountain trail run of medium length over three peaks and through beautiful forest. These notes are intended to give potential participants an idea of the race route and its challenges. The accompanying map can be used by those who might like to try the route or part of it before the race. On race day, the route is well marked with tapes and barriers. The race profile indicates the rises and falls, but is not drawn to scale, so is not as steep as it looks.
The race route starts about 300m along a track heading in a SW direction from the Pinnacle Picnic Ground. The first section of the route is fairly level, then climbs steadily to about the 1.5km point through pine forest where it reaches a saddle and a major track junction. Take the SW track which climbs fairly steeply until the 2.5 km stage. From here it undulates past the first drink station when it starts climbing again. Rounding a bend towards the 5km stage, there is a fine view of Mount Towac, the first volcanic peak of the race. At about 5.5 km there is another significant track intersection. The NW track enters the Mount Canobolas Conservation Area. After a downhill section on Towac Way, a fire trail heads west through a large iron gate. A drink station will be located here. After 300m, a small footpath to the south winds up to the summit of Mount Towac. The path is quite narrow and can get quite congested with runners ascending and descending this peak. The general convention is to keep to the left side of the track. On the top of Mt Towac, there are fine views of the surrounding countryside including Mount Macquarie to the SE, the Cadia Valley and gold mine to the south and Mount Canobolas to the north.
The route then descends along the same path to Towac Way and the drink station. Turning left, the route then follows the road north for just over 1 km to a right turn into the Walls Picnic Ground, an aboriginal sacred site which is protected from traffic by large posts. The last drink station will be at this junction. After about 100m, turn north onto a nature trail that leads through some beautiful native forest. After about 900m, at a junction on a saddle, take the path to right, east, follow this to Young Man Canobolas, the second volcanic summit. The latter part of this trail, leading to the summit, is steep and rocky. From the summit, the track returns to the saddle. Continuing in a westerly direction on a well-marked trail follow signs to the summit of Mount Canobolas. This last section is steep and challenging, when you are tired, but there is only about 600m to the Finish. The trail leads to the summit of Mount Canobolas with the finish at the highest point of the third volcanic peak.
It is a challenging run/walk, hence the name but very satisfying. We hope you take up the challenge and join us on race day.