Guidebook

Competition in the Desert: Trail Running Races in Moab

Run through red rock canyons, across sandstone fins, and explore some of the most scenic trail racing west of the Mississippi.

Description

Moab’s vibrant red rock landscape draws in countless visitors each year, especially mountain bikers, 4x4s, and of course – trail runners. With endless miles of trail spread across private and public land, it’s easy to see how Moab has become a mecca for trail running races and ultramarathons. If you’re looking for a desert race with plenty of views, great support, and vast history, this guidebook should help pair you with the right one.

Regionally based, Mad Moose Events offers a diverse race profile in both Colorado and Utah. Except for the Ute 100 and Moab Trail Half/Full, Mad Moose owns every event on this list. Those looking for a short distance trail race should consider the Arches Ultra and Amasa Trail Race, both offering distances as low as ~10k. There is no shortage of views on either and all distances use trails that are open year-round to the public.

If you’re looking for an “ultra” distance trail race, nearly every event offers both 50k and 50-mile options. With its point-to-point course and finish line brews, the Moab Red Hot Trail Race is a local favorite. Offering free week-long camping, the Behind the Rocks Trail Race is another popular event that explores Moab’s expansive network of 4x4 trails and sandstone arches through remote backcountry.

Unique to Mad Moose Events, racers are encouraged to participate in the Triple Crown of Moab. Awarded with a custom finisher medal and hat, individuals must complete the Dead Horse Ultra, Arches Ultra, and Behind the Rocks Ultra. Held between November and March, this series is the perfect opportunity to escape the snow and ice in exchange for the red rock desert. Though temperatures may dip below freezing overnight, snow accumulation is rare for these lower elevation races.

“A Trail Runner Magazine “Bucket List” Race,” the Moab Trail Half and Full Marathon explore both Pritchett Canyon and the iconic Amasa Back area. What makes this event different is the special permission they have to pass through remote stretches of private property during the event. Parts of the course include scrambling across sandstone fins and through remote canyons on unblazed trails. Of all the events less than 50k, this may be the most adventurous course in all of Moab.

Doubling down on distance, the Ute 100 is debatably the most epic and scenic ultramarathon in all of Utah. Every race on this list awards runners views of the snow-capped La Sal Mountains, but this race gets up close and personal with them. Circling around Utah’s second highest mountain range, runners begin at 3am and welcome the desert sunrise just three hours into the race. With an average finish time near 35 hours - they get to do it all over again the next day. Following old mining paths, rugged singletrack, and exploring remote backcountry, this race is not for the faint of heart.

Sources:
http://www.moabtrailmarathon.com/info.html
Madmooseevents.com

UTE 100
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

UTE 100

148.5 km
5,745 m
5,745 m
Utah's highest ultramarathon, a 100 mile trail race through the the La Sal Mountains.
Severe
Private
Dead Horse Ultra 30k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Dead Horse Ultra 30k

Moab
27.7 km
503 m
503 m
One of Moab's highly-renowned trail races offering 30k, 50k, and 50 mile options.
Moderate
Private
Dead Horse Ultra 50k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Dead Horse Ultra 50k

Moab
46.0 km
800 m
800 m
The 50k route of the Dead Horse Ultra, one of Moab's most coveted races with additional 30k and 50 mile options.
Moderate
Private
Dead Horse Ultra 50 Mile
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Dead Horse Ultra 50 Mile

Moab
77.0 km
1,334 m
1,334 m
The 50 Mile course for the Dead Horse Ultra, one of Moab's most coveted trail races.
Difficult
Private
Behind the Rocks Ultra 30k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Behind the Rocks Ultra 30k

28.9 km
502 m
502 m
A great introductory trail race through the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area..
Moderate
Private
Behind the Rocks Ultra 50k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Behind the Rocks Ultra 50k

50.3 km
1,178 m
1,178 m
A scenic ultramarathon through Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area, one of Moab's most prized gems.
Moderate
Private
Behind the Rocks Ultra 50 Miler
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Behind the Rocks Ultra 50 Miler

79.3 km
2,012 m
2,013 m
One of the most challenging ultramarathons around Moab, paying visit to both Amasa Back and Behind the Rocks areas.
Severe
Private
Arches Ultra 9k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Arches Ultra 9k

Moab
8.8 km
90 m
90 m
The shortest distance in the Arches Ultra, and an excellent year-round loop.
Easy
Private
Arches Ultra Half Marathon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Arches Ultra Half Marathon

Moab
20.9 km
262 m
261 m
The half marathon option of Arches Ultra, touring Moab's Bar M Trail System.
Moderate
Private
Arches Ultra 50k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Arches Ultra 50k

Moab
48.2 km
811 m
810 m
A winter 50k trail race with endless views and mellow desert running.
Moderate
Private
Arches Ultra 50 Mile
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Arches Ultra 50 Mile

Moab
78.2 km
1,160 m
1,160 m
The 50 Mile course for Arches Ultra, an easier desert race near Moab with endless views.
Moderate
Private
Moab's Red Hot 33k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Moab's Red Hot 33k

Moab
32.0 km
767 m
935 m
Moab's trail race season opener, offering endless views of the red rock landscape and snow-capped La Sals.
Difficult
Private
Moab's Red Hot 55k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Moab's Red Hot 55k

Moab
55.1 km
1,359 m
1,529 m
Moab's trail race season opener, offering endless views of the red rock landscape and snow-capped La Sals.
Difficult
Private
Moab Trail Half Marathon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Moab Trail Half Marathon

Moab
20.8 km
561 m
561 m
A half marathon trail race through vibrant red rock canyons just beyond the Moab Rim.
Moderate
Private
Moab Trail Marathon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Moab Trail Marathon

Moab
38.4 km
1,195 m
1,195 m
A unique destination race with vibrant red rock canyons and pristine slickrock singletrack.
Difficult
Private
Amasa Trail Race 10k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Amasa Trail Race 10k

Moab
10.0 km
331 m
331 m
A spring ~10k trail race through vibrant red rock canyons.
Moderate
Private
Amasa Trail Race 15k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Amasa Trail Race 15k

Moab
15.0 km
485 m
485 m
A spring trail race through vibrant red rock canyons.
Moderate
Private
Amasa Trail Race 25k
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Amasa Trail Race 25k

Moab
23.4 km
699 m
699 m
A ~15 mile spring trail race through vibrant red rock canyons, or a perfect year-round tour of Amasa Back.
Difficult
Private