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Arches Ultra 50 Mile


The 50 Mile course for Arches Ultra, an easier desert race near Moab with endless views.

Trail Running Moderate

78 km
1.2 km
1.2 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.3 km
High Point
1.6 km
Arches Ultra 50 Mile Map

First held in 2018, Arches Ultra is one of Moab's newest races presented by Mad Moose Events, offering racers 9k, half marathon, 50k, and 50 mile options. With Arches National Park due east, racers are welcomed with incredible views of Moab's beautiful red rock terrain, sandstone domes, towering cliffs, and the snow-capped La Sals to the southeast. "Arches Ultra is also the second event in The Triple Crown of Moab," a multi-race challenge that includes the Dead Horse and Behind the Rocks Ultras.


In addition to the Bar M and Klonzo trail systems visited on the 50k loop, 50 mile runners continue north into the Klondike trail system. With no punishing climbs ahead, the course instead meanders over several ridges and hills and awards racers with even more views of Arches National Park. Along the northernmost parts of the course, racers will be surprisingly close to the infamous Devil's Garden loop in the National Park, a classic Moab trail run with massive arches and unique sandstone fins.

While running this entire course is possible on a day other than the race, it's unlikely anyone has. With its "stacked loop" configuration, all three trail systems could instead be visited independently. In particular, the Klondike trail system is rarely visited by trail runners, though adventurer Greg Heil writes that one "could spend an entire week exploring the various loops, spurs, connections, and options in this network."

Since Arches Ultra occurs each winter, snow is possible though accumulation is unlikely at these elevations. Average high temperatures during January often linger in the mid-40's, while freezing temperatures are expected overnight. Thanks to the cooler temperatures and a total of eight aid stations, some 50 mile racers opt for a handheld water bottle over a large hydration vest. The longest stretches without aid are between miles 26.4 to 35.5 (9.1) miles, and 4.5 to 12.4 (7.9) miles. The rest of the aid stations are less than six miles apart. Racers are also able to utilize drop bags, which can be left at the start line on race morning or during packet pickup the day before.

All distances begin and end at the Gemini Bridges Trailhead, just 20 minutes north of Moab on US-191. With limited parking available, the race director suggest carpooling from town. Other than special events, neither water nor restrooms are available, so bring plenty with you. If you're planning to run the Bar M portion of the trails other than race day, you might prefer parking at its namesake trailhead (sometimes referenced as the Moab Brand Trails) on the opposing side of the highway. The two trailheads are simply connected by uneventful doubletrack.

50 Mile racers begin at 6:30am on race day and face a cumulative 4,000' of climbing on course. While a handful of racers will finish around the 7-hour mark, mortals will likely finish closer to 10 or 11, with a course cutoff of 12 hours.

Source: https://www.madmooseevents.com/arches-ultra



Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.


2 out of 4

Away from help but easily accessed.

Best time to visit

all year round

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area