FATMAP by Strava
McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado

Desert RATS Kokopelli 150: An Epic Western Adventure Race

Experience the immense beauty of the 143-mile Kokopelli Trail during this 5-day stage race across the wild Desert Southwest.

Trail Running Moderate, Difficult, Severe

Also in Colorado, United States of America

McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado
McInnis Canyon National Conservation Area in Colorado Photo: Photo by Bob Wick, BLM


Presented by Gemini Adventures, the Desert RATS Kokopelli 150 is one of the most epic adventure races in the west. As the longest-running stage race in North America, this week-long adventure is designed to test both the mental and physical limits of even the most seasoned athletes. According to the race directors, "at Desert RATS, the adventure is the goal. It’s about reaching deep within yourself, adapting to adversity, and overcoming the challenges in front of you."

Held in June for the last 16 years, the race begins near Grand Junction, Colorado and makes its way across the desert, through wild canyonlands, along the high peaks of the La Sals before ending in Moab, Utah. “It’s not an expedition to survive or a race to win, it’s an experience to live,” proclaims Gemini Adventures. Immense desert heat and rugged terrain await runners each day, though the cooling waters of the mighty Colorado River are nearby at many points. Gemini’s goal with the Desert RATS Kokopelli 150 is for racers to walk away with a lifetime of memories, new friendships, and a feeling that they have been able to discover what they are truly capable of.

Other than the first stage, runners are provided breakfast, snacks, or even brunch to start their day. Dinner is also provided each night, and fully-stocked aid stations keep racers fueled on course. Gemini provides 6-8-person community tents to sleep in overnight and even transports personal supplies between each base camp. Alternatively, for those who prefer the privacy of their own tent, Gemini will transport it along with your gear, though you are responsible for your own setup and teardown each day.

With a point-to-point course, racers have multiple options to leave their vehicle safely in Moab for the week. Monday morning, racers are then shuttled to the starting point. With pre- and post-race activities both in Moab, it’s suggested to book a room both the Sunday night before the race and the Saturday night following its conclusion so that you have a place to unwind, sort gear, and get a good night’s rest.

When it comes to the week’s schedule and the intensity of each stage, it’s easy to see how this race is not for the faint of heart. With Sunday set aside for check-in and preparation, here’s what each day holds in store:

Monday, Stage 1: 19.8 Miles / 2040’ Gain Tuesday, Stage 2: 38.7 Miles / 2,520’ Gain Wednesday, Stage 3: 9.3 Miles / 761’ Gain Thursday, Stage 4: 41.4 Miles / 7,810’ Gain Friday, Rest Day Saturday, Stage 5: 26.0 Miles / 3,150’ Gain

Gemini takes the racers' safety quite seriously, as they must for an adventure of this undertaking. Live tracking was incorporated in 2018, with hopes the service will continually improve over time. Racers are also given a list of mandatory gear that is checked before each stage and at each aid station on course. Gemini also requires each racer to have a medical form signed by a physician within 30 days prior to the event.

Not unlike many top-tier trail races across the country, racers must meet a set of qualifying standards to be allowed into the event. Those with trail and stage racing background are automatically qualified, while others may be required to submit a proposal of why they consider themselves up to such a formidable undertaking. While the requirements are not abnormally strict, Gemini feels “they’re necessary for racers to understand the potential risks of the event.”

Sources: https://geminiadventures.com/desert-rats/

Routes included

Related guidebooks