Black Hawk Ridge 2020 Details


The Black Hawk Unit is located 18 miles northwest of Madison in Dane County.  Take State Highway 12 north to County Highway Y, west to State Highway 78, south 1 mile to Wachter Road on left.  Parking is at the top of Wachter Road.

Virtual Details

We'll have the course marked from Friday, 10/23, through Sunday, 10/25.  You can run it anytime in that 3-day window. You are also welcome to run it anytime before then, following the course map. Submit your time to be included in official results (and 100K Club tally), share photos if you like, and we'll post results and pics on the website.


The virtual run is self-supported, so be prepared and be safe.

  • Portapotties - YES! We'll have 2 at the cabin 10/23-10/25.

  • No potable water - bring your own

  • No aid stations

  • No soup or other post-run festivities

  • No first aid/medical on-site

COVID-19:  Follow all state and Dane County  guidelines, and let's all work together to show that events can happen safely.  Come, run, leave, so we keep the number of people onsite at one time low.  Keep your distance, wear a mask when you are around others. This time around, we express our trail runner camaraderie by keeping each other safe and healthy.

Trail Description

For the virtual run, we'll have a single distance--about 10K.  Start/finish is near the cabin.  You begin by running east past the cabin to do a scenic loop around the perimeter of the prairie to the north. Then head back past the cabin heading west for a loop around the ridge top with dips down a few side valleys, taking you through restored prairie, hardwood forest, and pine plantation with some spectacular views of the Wisconsin River valley and beyond.   

Start and finish at the map/sign post, near our usual finish line.


Course will be marked October 23 through October 25, 2020. You are welcome to run it before then, following the course map.


Proceeds benefit Groundswell Conservancy (formerly Natural Heritage Land Trust) and the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway Fund. Groundswell works to protect special places, forever, in the Dane County area.  The Riverway Fund supports the DNR wildlife habitat restoration and management activities along the Lower Wisconsin River.


Here's a 2020 10K course description, to help avoid ending up in Mazomanie.

Start at the map post where Wachter Road comes up to the cabin--photo above.  Start your watch! 

First loop is the East (north) loop running clockwise. Head out on the gravel road past the cabin, and hang a left just past the elevated picnic shelter on your left, about at the end of the big shed.  This trail is a lovely, wide, rolling section with great views to the west.  A few minutes in, the trail dips down and there is another trail to the left, DO NOT take that left. It's a steep rocky downhill we run other years, but not this year. Go Straight! 

From here on out, keep taking the left option at every intersection and you work your way around the perimeter of the ridgetop.  Just before the 2 mile mark you come to a 4-way intersection (you are finishing the loop) GO LEFT toward the shed and cabin, now headed West (south) on the gravel road back past the cabin. 

Bear left past the start/finish post, and head out for the southwest loop. Pretty quick you'll bear left again, staying on the perimeter of the property. The trail will wind through a prairie, then wind through the woods.  Keep taking lefts!  At about 4 miles you'll turn (left of course) onto the last loop. Run the loop clockwise (does it matter?) and bear left coming out of the loop. For about a 100 yds you are retracing your route. The trail splits and you bear left again. This trail you run straight on until you pop out onto a grassy section back near the cabin. Your last left turn, and sprint for the finish 100 yds ahead.

Skip the steep downhill left and take all the other lefts is really how it works. Those of you who know the course, the south loop is the same as always.

Good luck.


No awards, just that sweet feeling of having done your best.