June 5

Utah Half Marathons: Rugged Trails and Stunning Views

Revel in the views while you stand at the starting line of a beautiful Utah half marathon, with options for all levels of runners.

Vacation Races offers an array of half marathons in Utah that showcase its dramatic landscapes and diverse terrains. 

Whether you're running through the breathtaking scenery near Zion National Park, the serene beauty of Bryce Canyon, or the vibrant colors of Moab, each race provides a unique opportunity to challenge yourself amid some of the most stunning environments in America. From rugged trails to picturesque vistas, Utah's half marathons promise an unforgettable experience for every runner. 


Half Marathons in Utah

Whether you’re a seasoned runner looking for a new venue or you want to add a half marathon to your calendar during a trip to Utah, Vacation Races has you covered. 

With unforgettable races near national parks, you’ll be running in some of the most impressive landscapes Utah has to offer. 

Vacation Races offers a variety of race experiences, from a half marathon road race,  a challenging trail race in Zion, or a half marathon in Lake Powell, we have events for people at every stage of their running journey.

Zion Half Marathon

The Zion region is world-renowned for its massive sandstone and unique array of plants and animals. Vacation Races’ Zion Half Marathon is a road race that will put you in the middle of this natural wonder. 

Beginning in the town of Virgin, you’ll follow a winding path along the Virgin River, passing through Grafton and Rockville, with fantastic views of the southwest side of Zion. You’re not far from the finish line in front of the Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale, just outside the south entrance of Zion National Park.

The course consists of a paved highway section followed by a paved trail, so you won’t have to navigate through vegetation. You can expect a sunny race with temperatures around 60℉, and a slight uphill grade as you make your way along the path.

Event Overview
  • Course Details:
      - Paved uphill P2P course
      - Steady incline
      - Paved terrain
      - Elevation gain of 721 ft.
      - Max elevation at 3,947 ft. 
Price
  • Early Registration: $150
  • Regular Registration: $175
    (price increases starting 8/2/2024, 12:00 am MDT)
  • Late Registration: $200
    (price increase starting 12/6/2024, 12:00 am MST ) 
finish line at the zion half marathon

Lake Powell Half Marathon

Straddling the border between Utah and Arizona, the Lake Powell Half Marathon offers an amateur-friendly trail even first-time half marathon participants will enjoy! You’ll experience gorgeous views of Lake Powell, the Vermillion Cliffs, and red rocks throughout the race. 

The Lake Powell half marathon is scheduled for fall of 2024, but unfortunately will not return in 2025. Now’s your chance to sign up for this limited-time race and experience the beauty of Lake Powell. 

While the majority of the course is paved, there is a 1.5 mile trail section with loose sand and slick rock for added challenge. Once you make it off the trail, you’ll continue downhill to a bridge crossing the Glen Canyon Dam. The course will then take you north to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area where you’ll meet the finish line near the shores of Lake Powell.

Event Overview
  • Course Details:
     - Paved P2P course with trail  section
     - One of the fastest courses in our race series
     - Elevation gain of 611 ft.
     - Max elevation at 4,381 ft. 
Price
  • Regular Registration: $129 
  • Late Registration: $200
    (price increases starting 7/8/2024, 12:00 am MDT) 
Lake Powell LP D4R6386 scaled

Grand Circle Trailfest

Grand Circle Trailfest is a running event like no other. Trailfest is a three-day celebration of the beauty of the region, and a great opportunity to meet other outdoor enthusiasts and explore new trails. Each day you’ll run a timed race through a different hiking trail, including the Bryce Canyon Trail, Zion, and Antelope Canyon.

Each day starts with a 10-16 mile trail race, so come prepared to sweat! Vacation Races recommends working up to back-to-back days of long distance runs in your training to ensure you’re ready for Trailfest. 

After the race, you’ll have time to explore the nearby parks, hike on local trails, and enjoy the food and activities at base camp. From yoga clinics to motivational speakers to live bands, there’s no shortage of things to do during Trailfest.

Event Overview
  • Course Details:
      - Dirt trails
      - Family-friendly
      - Post-run activities every day
     
  • Difficulty: 3.5/5
  • Race Day: October 2-6, 2024
Price
  • Regular Registration: $925 
  • Late Registration: $1,000
    (price increases starting 7/1/2024, 12:00 am MST) 
Racers run across Zion valley towards a towering desert mountainscape

Bryce Canyon Ultras

View the beauty of Bryce Canyon without the crowds at our Bryce Canyon Ultras

The Bryce Canyon Ultras consist of several races of varying distance. With races of 100 miles, 50 miles, 60k, 50k, and 30k, you can choose the race that best suits you. If you’re looking for a more challenging half marathon in Utah, the 30k portion of the Bryce Canyon Ultras might be the perfect choice. 

Regardless of which race you choose, you’ll be running on rugged trails at high elevation (7,000-9,000 ft.) with breathtaking views of the hoodoo rock formations that Bryce Canyon is famous for. It’s strongly recommended that runners interested in the 30k train on technical trails prior to race day.

Event Overview
  • Course Details:
      - Technical dirt trail
      - High-elevation (7,000-9,000 ft.)
      - Elevation gain of 3,020 ft.
      - Max elevation at around 9,000 ft.
     
  • Difficulty: 5/5
  • Race Day: Fall 2025 - more information coming soon!
Runners at Bryce Canyon Ultras race amidst the orange sands and soaring hoodoos

Experience Everything Utah Has to Offer

There’s a reason Utah is such a popular destination for tourism. Between its rich frontier history, stunning natural beauty, and long list of outdoor activities, your trip to Utah won’t be limited to your half marathon.

History

Admitted to the Union in 1896, there’s no shortage of fascinating history to uncover in the 45th state. From the boomtown streets of Park City to the Golden Spike Historic Site where the nation’s first transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869, you’ll find a plethora of historical tales among the sunny sandstone of Utah.

Scenery

Not limited to the soaring sandstone of Zion, Utah is full of breathtaking landscapes. Experience the strange vertical rock formations of Bryce Canyon, about an hour and 45 minutes from Zion. Take a dip in Lake Powell, the massive desert oasis where water and sand meet. You can even explore the ancient fossils of the creatures that once ruled the earth at Dinosaur National Monument.

Activities at Zion

If you’re going to race just outside one of America’s premier national parks, visiting the park itself is an easy decision. Some come for Zion’s renowned hiking trails, like Angel’s Landing or the Narrows. Others might prefer a guided tour of the canyons riding in a UTV. One thing is for sure: You’re going to need more than just one day to explore everything Zion has to offer.

Training for a Half Marathon in Utah

We’ve already established how much the environment can vary in Utah. While this means beautiful landscapes, it also means that runners have to take into account changing terrain and temperatures when preparing for a race. You wouldn’t train the same way for a 5k in the park as you would for a half marathon in the desert! 

A good place to start would be Vacation Races’ training programs. Available at both beginner and intermediate levels, these 12-16 week programs will guide your workouts right up to race day.They’ll ensure you’re prepared for the uphill grade and high elevation that you may experience during a half marathon in Utah.

Image of a pdf document with daily training recommendations

Looking to Experience a Half Marathon in Utah Like No Other? 

If you’ve been searching for the perfect running experience in Utah, look no further than our carefully curated half marathons. These races provide an amazing experience with a welcoming community of runners and all the breathtaking views of Utah as the backdrop. 

Check out our events calendar to see the other races we offer. Each event is truly unforgettable, from a half marathon in Yellowstone to an all-inclusive running adventure through Patagonia

Frequently Asked Questions 

Where is the Zion Half Marathon?
The Race Expo will be held at the Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale, while the race itself begins in the town of Virgin and runs all the way back to Springdale, right to the entrance of Zion National Park.
What type of training should I do for a half marathon in Utah?
Training for a half marathon in Utah requires preparation for both the terrain and elevation. We recommend training on ground similar to what you’ll experience in the race with extended uphill sections to simulate elevation gain. If you haven’t run a half marathon before, it's essential to start your training well in advance — typically 12 to 16 weeks. Incorporating altitude training can help your body adjust to the higher elevation and improve your performance on race day.
Is a Utah half marathon good for beginners?
Our half marathons in Utah are great for beginners. The Zion half marathon and Lake Powell half marathon have four-hour time limits, which works out to an 18-minute mile — you could walk the marathon and still make it in time!
What events are part of Grand Circle Trailfest?
Grand Circle Trailfest is a three-day festival that includes races at three iconic locations — Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Antelope Canyon. Each day features a different trail race, allowing participants to experience the unique beauty of each park. The event also includes post-race activities such as yoga sessions, running clinics, live music, and guest speakers, providing a comprehensive and enriching experience for all participants.

Karen Bodkin

Author

Karen Bodkin is the owner of Karen Bodkin Copywriting Solutions, offering brand journalism, SEO & AI consulting, and content creation. When not consulting with clients, she loves weightlifting, playing baseball, and exploring the great outdoors.


Tags

Half Marathons, Things to Do, Utah, Zion


You may also like

Subscribe to our newsletter now!

>
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!