Moab's trail race season opener, offering endless views of the red rock landscape and snow-capped La Sals.



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Presented by [Mad Moose Events](, Moab's Red Hot Trail Race is self-acclaimed as "kicking off the ultra running calendar for most trail runners".

Held annually in February, the event offers an epic point-to-point course, continuously rewarding racers with tremendous views of Moab's red rock landscape and the snow-capped La Sals. Those racing the 55k depart at 8am and face nearly 4,700' of climbing, a difficult course by most standards.

The median finish time is between six and seven hours, and average high temperatures for this winter race linger in the low 50's.

Below-freezing temperatures are possible in the early morning, so layer carefully and expect the possibility for rain as well. The race begins 10 miles north of Moab on US-191, otherwise known as the Gemini Bridges Trailhead.

On race day, parking is limited and the race director recommends carpooling from town.

Other than for special events, there is no water or restrooms at the trailhead.

The finish line for all distances is the Poison Spider Trailhead along Highway 279, where runners are then shuttled back to the start.

Spectators must park at the Gold Bar Campground and catch a shuttle to the finish line due to limited parking.

Self-shuttling outside of race day is possible with a easy 20 minute drive between trailheads. Both distances begins with a long, steady climb up Gemini Bridges Road, a high-clearance 4x4 road leading into a canyon.

While the 33k route heads onto the Gold Bar Rim Trail, the 55k takes a right at the first aid station and completes a "lollipop" loop through a remote stretch of desert.

After returning to the first aid station, the course heads onto the Gold Bar Rim Trail, a picturesque area renowned for its slickrock singletrack. Ahead, runners are faced with the most difficult stretch of trail to navigate as you follow the Golden Spike Trail along the rim.

According to the official race guide, "Even with the extensive effort put into flagging this 5 mile technical slickrock section, runners may still find themselves off-course at some point." After a few more miles loaded with incredible views, the course turns right onto the Poison Spider Trail, meandering its way south across the mesa.

Before a final descent to the finish line, your efforts will first be rewarded with a vista to the south, including the Colorado River snaking through the canyon below.

At the finish line, you'll be greeted with a pint glass and cold drink before taking the shuttle back to your vehicle. 55k racers have five aid stations along the course, all equally spaced apart.

To run this route on a day other than the race, a hydration pack is required since there is no drinkable water on the route. Source: