Overall Rating
Overall Rating (4 Reviews)
4.3
(4 Ratings)(4 Reviews)
DIFFICULTY
4
SCENERY
4.8
PRODUCTION
4.5
SWAG
3.5
Experience the towering redwoods, lush ferns, and beautiful trails through Huddart Park, King’s Mountain and Bear Gulch. (Distances are accurately measured using a Rolatape® surveyor’s measuring wheel.) Fully-stocked aid stations every 5 – 9 miles. You can expect fresh fruit, salty snacks, assorted candy, water, and Clif Shot Electrolyte sports … MORE
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Recent reviews

    PeteSinCA REPEAT RUNNER '18

    Event & Course Description: This was my second year in a row doing Coastal Trail Runs' Crystal Springs Trail Run (CSTR). Looking over my Rave from last year, it's a … MORE

    Event & Course Description: This was my second year in a row doing Coastal Trail Runs’ Crystal Springs Trail Run (CSTR). Looking over my Rave from last year, it’s a pretty overview of CSTR. So I’ll just add more details, plus a few things that were different in 2018.

    One way or another, all runners do the 5-Mile loop. Just after the end of the 2 3/4 miles of uphill 5 Milers turn right, downhill toward the finish. The other distances turn right, uphill, to do their loop(s), and then return to the finish by the remaining mile or so of the 5-Mile course.

    To date, 2018 has been much less wet than 2017. So the course was wet, but with only a few, very avoidable, mud patches. The first mile or so was through scrubby deciduous trees. Right around mile 1 the trees transition to redwoods. Then the last mile is mixed redwoods and deciduous. The 2 3/4 miles of uphill is not, on average, very steep (~260 feet per mile), but some parts are steeper than others, and it’s a longish steady mile climb. There were no aid stations in the 5-Mile course, so runners should be prepared (this is REALLY important if one does the August running of CSTR!). All in all, the 5-Mile course is probably 90% shade and 100% beautiful.

    Organization & Production: Coastal Trail Runs is an excellent organizer. A runner merely needs to “worry” about getting there, running their race, and getting home. It should be noted that Coastal does not do chip timed starts – finish times are referenced to the “gun” start time. Those who are fast and competitive should self-corral to the front of the starting pack.

    Swag & Goodies:

    Bib: Coastal Trail Runs bibs are plain white, with organizer logos across the top, their, “Have Fun Out There,” slogan across the bottom, and the bib number in the middle.

    T-Shirt & Finisher’s Medal: Coastal Trail Runs gives tech type race T-shirt to runners of all distances. Coastal uses the same artwork for their T-shirts and finishers medals from year to year. The ribbon of the 2018 CSTR finisher’s medal has “2018” instead of “2017”. Similarly the race Tee is the same except for the race date. This year I placed third in my age group. Coatal’s age group medals feature Coastal’s logo: their name in orange letters, with two green hills that have trails in white. The ribbons give the ordinal number, and the medallions are bright metal finish gold, silver, and copper colored.

    Finish & Recovery Area: After runners pass through the finish arch a volunteer hands them their medal, and the recovery area is a few step to their right. The recovery area for CSTR is a covered picnic area, with plenty of seating. The fluids and snacks available in Coastal’s recovery area are pretty consistent from race to race: electrolyte drink, bottled water, 2 or 3 types of soda, and craft beers; the snacks were chips, pretzels, Chex mix, candies, and Oreo cookies. I noticed bagels and cream cheese, and as I was leaving I noticed a camp stove was being fired up to warm some soup.

    My Results & Opinion of the Race: Due to some health events and a bit of laziness on my part, CSTR was a return to hilly trail runs for me, and my main goal was to finish vertically and under my own power. I did that and wasn’t much slower than last year, so I’m happy.

    Coastal Trail Runs does trail runs, really well. I did seven Coastal races last year. This year’s CSTR was no exception, so chances are I will do several Coastal races in 2018, and will consider CSTR come 2019.

    DIFFICULTY
    5
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    PeteSinCA FIRST-TIMER '17

    Event & Course Description: The Crystal Springs Trail Run (CSTR) is run in Huddart Park, and features 5 distances, 50K, Marathon, 22 miles, half marathon, and 5 miles. I did … MORE

    Event & Course Description:
    The Crystal Springs Trail Run (CSTR) is run in Huddart Park, and features 5 distances, 50K, Marathon, 22 miles, half marathon, and 5 miles. I did the 5-mile distance. The courses could be described as four connected loops. The longer the distance, the more loops a runner does. 5-mile runners do just the first loop, that all runners do.

    The 5 mile loop starts with a 1 mile of downhill, a brief flat section, and then 2 3/4 miles of uphill. Then runners do about a mostly downhill mile to the finish. The actual distance is about 4.7 miles.

    Most of the 5 mile loop is single-track dirt (mud!) trail, with the last mile being a fire road, some gravel and some paved. Ordinarily I’d say the trail part is somewhat technical, with exposed rocks and tree roots, and some rutting. The winter 2017 Crystal Springs Trail Run was run the day after several days of significant rain. So there were many muddy patches, run-off flowing across or along the trail, and a few fallen trees across the trail. So this race can be fairly technical.

    Organization & Production:
    Just to make clear that what follows is not the least bit critical, Coastal Trail Runs is an excellent organizer of small-medium sized trail races. From checking out a race through leaving the park parking lot after finishing, everything is complete and well done. Needed information is all there, online registration is easy, and race day runs like a well-oiled machine.

    Just as trail races are different from large-scale road and street races, not all trail races are the same. How a trail race is done and how many runners can be accommodated depend on where the race is held. Some trail races can accommodate over a thousand runners, with aid stations every 2-3 miles. Not Huddart Park. While the start-finish area might be able to handle that many runners, the 3+ miles of single track in the 5 mile loop, used by all runners, would not. More to the point, aid stations have to be accessible for moving in 1 or 2 hundred pounds of water and goodies, plus volunteers.

    At Huddart Park accessible locations are not numerous. Consequently, there were no aid stations on the 5-mile loop. Coastal’s website map shows where aid stations are located, so runners doing the 5-mile distance know to bring their own water or electrolyte drink. Runners doing the longer distances did come to aid stations, but the spacing could be over 5 miles apart. Welcome to trail running!

    The 5 mile loop was marked extremely well, with color-coded flags at regular intervals. There were not many places where one could turn onto a wrong trail, but these were marked with color-coded don’t-go-there flags. The coding was explained during the pre-race instructions (Hint! Listen to the Race Director’s spiel!). There were no mile markers, as is common in races located in more remote venues. Because I had studied the map and elevation profile (Hint! Hint!), I always had a reasonable idea where I was along the course.

    Because I didn’t encounter an aid station, I didn’t see what was available. Based on having done Coastal races in the past, the aid stations would have had bananas and oranges, salty snacks like chips and pretzels, and several varieties of candy – refuel, and replace electrolytes.

    Swag & Goodies:
    Bib: Coastal’s bibs are simple – plain white background, bib number, company logos, and a sponsor’s logo. The bib for 2017 CSTR is the same as those for Coastal races I did in 2014, except for the actual bib numbers.

    T-Shirt: Coastal Trail Runs gives tech type T-shirt to runners of all distances in their races. The T-shirt for CSTR is medium-dark gray, The front has an abstract drawing of several very tall redwood trees, with the name of the race next to the trees. Below this – the race logo on Coastal’s website – is the date and the several distances. The back has Coastal’s logo, and the logos of the race sponsors. All in all, a very nice T-shirt.

    Finisher’s Medal: The finisher’s medal is wire-brushed metal, fairly heavy, with the race logo (no date) pressed and painted into it. Very nice! The ribbon is medium light blue, with the year at several places along it. Both the medallion and the ribbon are a big step up from the medals Coastal had in 2014 (I did a couple of Coastal races in 2014, though not CSTR).

    My Results & Opinion of the Race:
    It’s been a frustrating month or so for me. Courtesy of a nasty cold I DNFed a half on New Year’s Day, and during the week leading up to this race I “enjoyed” a week-long gout flair. So my hopes for this race were, a gorgeous course, starting (if it wasn’t stupid), and finishing.

    My decision to go ahead and do the race was literally made the night before. I didn’t push myself, but for a pretty challenging course and conditions, I was happy with my finish time. As for the “gorgeous” part, my expectations were exceeded. The course was manzanita and redwood forest for all but the meadow at the start/finish area. This was my first time in Huddart Park, but I intend for it not to be my last.

    Coastal Trail Runs does low cost races. There are a few aspects that reflect this: parking is not included in registration (on the other hand, the Processing Fee for registration is $3-$4 lower than most races, and after 3 Coastal races in a calendar year one can get a 5% discount for the rest of that year); medals do not have race dates (Coastal could use the same medal for their August CSTR), and has used the same logo artwork for several years. BUT when it comes to runners’ race experience, Coastal doesn’t cheap out. Coastal delivers an excellent race experience from before the start to beyond the finish. And because Coastal does smaller races, they do many races in beautiful venues not suitable for larger races.

    Would I do Crystal Springs Trail Run again? Possibly. Will I be doing Coastal Trail Runs races again? I just signed up for a Coastal race next month in Pacifica (10K, no aid station, beautiful venue).

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    5
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    4

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    mikebeckwith REPEAT RUNNER '15

    This course is really beautiful. Coastal Trail puts this race on once in the summer and once in the winter. The winter one I did one hour faster than my … MORE

    This course is really beautiful. Coastal Trail puts this race on once in the summer and once in the winter. The winter one I did one hour faster than my summer performance. And I got my 50k PR here. Coastal puts on good trail races. I would recommend this beautiful course. Some great climbs, but not too challenging.

    Stay awesome.

    DIFFICULTY
    4
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    5
    SWAG
    3

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    JSNAK106 FIRST-TIMER '16

    Out and back portion on a single track trail was a bit problematic depending on the amount of available space as we met runners. Long uphill climb. Be prepared. Fast … MORE

    Out and back portion on a single track trail was a bit problematic depending on the amount of available space as we met runners.
    Long uphill climb. Be prepared.
    Fast downhill finish on asphalt.

    DIFFICULTY
    3
    PRODUCTION
    4
    SCENERY
    4
    SWAG
    3

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  2. Crystal Springs Trail Run (Winter)