FKT: Matthew Matta - Upper Paddock/Talkington Loop (ND) - 2021-04-07

Route variation
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
3h 15m 47s
GPS track(s)

On April 7th, 2021 I ran the Upper Paddock/Talkington Loop (known locally as the East Loop). I started from one of the parking areas on Scenic Loop Drive and ran clockwise. I started at 9:35am and headed north along the Spur Trail. I soon had to stop to take off a layer. It was another beautiful day with temperatures in the 60s. The Upper Talkington Trail was easier to follow than the trails in the West Loop. This part of the loop also goes through some incredible rock formations as it climbs toward the rim.

When I hit the rim I ran into a heard of wild horses. I didn’t get too close but they were curious and ran alongside me for a while! The trail started to get difficult when I went back down below the rim. There seems to be a spring in this area and despite the dry weather it was very muddy in places. I had some trouble here following the gps track. Best to look for the wooden trail markers in this area, especially above the rim.

The rest of the loop follows Paddock Creek before meeting up again with the trail next to Scenic Loop Drive. I saw a few bison that I gave a wide berth, and dozens of prairie dogs. I got back to my car at 12:51pm. It’s not a super fast time, but I couldn’t find anything faster on Strava.  I had consumed just over a liter of water and 200 calories. I didn’t see anyone on the trail. I ran by myself, unsupported.