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Behind the Rocks Ultra 50 Miler

One of the most challenging ultramarathons around Moab, paying visit to both Amasa Back and Behind the Rocks areas.

Trail Running Severe

79 km
2 km
2 km
1 day +
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.7 km
Behind the Rocks Ultra 50 Miler Map

Presented by Mad Moose Events at the start of spring, Behind the Rocks Ultra is one of the region's most renowned trail running races. Mixing rugged slickrock singletrack with challenging doubletrack, the 50 Mile course was designed to test both your physical and mental limits along rugged backcountry trails. Located in a Wilderness Study Area, the race promoter considers this area "Moab's last hidden gem," the event offering an array of "tall standing Navajo Sandstone domes and fins that can be seen from many places along the course."


A world-renowned 4x4 area, this trail network also offers incredible views of the nearby La Sal Mountains, typically capped in snow until the summer. The course differs from the 50k in that, instead of turning around at the end of Hunter Rim, racers must cross the road and into the infamous Amasa Back area. Technical slickrock singletrack fills the middle portion of the run and is easily the most difficult portion of the entire race.

While running the entire course outside of race day is possible, it's very uncommon due to a lack of water. Caching water and supplies at Kane Creek Boulevard would be needed should you attempt it. Other than special events, there is no drinking water or restrooms anywhere on this route.

If you're not looking to race and merely seek solitude on a long desert run, the 50k route is an excellent option to explore the beautiful red rock desert landscape without the full mileage commitment. The Amasa Back area is a destination that could instead be visited on another day.

The 50 Mile racers depart at 6am, a course with a stout 7,000' of climbing and one that the race director states "is among our most challenging events." While a few runners have finished in less than eight hours, the median finishing time is around 12 hours, with a course cutoff at 7pm (14 hours). The 50 miler includes several aid stations, though most racers still choose to wear a hydration pack.

The start and finish area are located along Behind the Rocks Road, a ~30 minute drive from town. When driving from Moab, the right turn from the highway can be difficult to spot - look for mile marker 113, the turn is just beyond. Give yourself plenty of time to make the 2.5 mile drive up the "technical, but passable" road to the start/finish area and adhere to all parking attendant instructions upon arrival. RV/Camper parking is also available in addition to free on-site camping all week. It also comes recommended to bring plenty of food, water, and adult beverages along since the drive to town is monotonous.

Source: https://www.madmooseevents.com/behind-the-rocks-home



High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.


3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

all year round

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area