The Bear Race proceeds will go to various charities in the area and the ASU Track Program.

The Race

The Bear race begins in Linville, NC at the corner of Hwy 105 and 221. The race turns right off Highway 221 and winds up steep climbs to McRae Meadows, where the Games are held. It cuts across Highway 221 and up the backside of the Highland Games Track to the Grandfather Road where you run the final 2 miles up 1000 feet of elevation gain.

Your views are breathtaking, especially as you round the famous “Forrest Gump” hairpin turn. You will finish at the top of Grandfather Mountain (over 5000 foot elevation) where you will be greeted by hundreds of fans who are waiting anxiously for their runner and the last runner.

This unique 5-mile race will provide challenges that are overcome by the rewards. It is not a race for individuals planning to walk the entire course. We must have everyone off the finish line area by 9:00 pm so we encourage and expect running and maybe some walking!

All runners not predicted to finish the course by 8:30 pm will be picked up and brought to the finish line.


Entry for the The Bear to be held on Thursday, July 8th, 2021 has closed. We hope you’ll get in next year! 

Entries are accepted only by online registration with a credit card. There will be NO on-site registration!

If the race registration reaches capacity, you will be allowed to continue filling out the registration form to be placed on a waiting list. You will not be charged until a slot becomes available. 

Confirmation of entry will be immediate when registering online. Print this confirmation to bring to packet pick-up with your legal ID.

If there is an error with your registration, please restart the process.  You may need to clear your web browser cache.

If you have problems registering, you may contact John Weaver at weaverjt@retired.appstate.edu. Do not contact John without trying to register per instructions listed above first and not before 7:30 am.


The 2021 Bear Race Updated Information

This is an update on the Bear Race. At this point, the Highland Games is making plans to stage the Games this year. It means that we can run the Bear with some changes to address Covid protocol. We have all been through this reality, so we will follow protocol or we can not have the race.