Half Marathon& 5K
Mount Rainier Half & 5K
JULY 14-15, 2023 | ASHFORD, WA
JULY 14-15, 2O23 | ashford, wa
This is a seriously scenic course with gorgeous views of Mt. Rainier as you pass over rivers and through meadows on a mix of pavement, gravel, and trails. Plus, you might catch a glimpse of a friendly Sasquatch on your way to the finish line!
Expo & Bib Pickup
Travel to Mount Rainier
Plan Ahead For This Experience
Most of our events are hosted in smaller towns serviced by regional airports in order to get you on the doorsteps of our National Parks!
This means you'll want to plan ahead to book your travel. For Mount Rainier, we recommend booking your travel and lodging atleast 6 months in advance to find the best options.
Registering later? Consider booking your lodging even before you register to ensure a successful vacation with us.
Seattle/Tacoma International Airport (SEA) (1.25hr drive)
Portland Airport (PDX) (2hr drive)
Spokane International Airport (GEG) (5.5hr drive)
Plug in the following to get to Ashford for bib pickup and race day (We will have signs up in the area):
*Plan for heavier traffic on expo day and race morning!
Lodging in Ashford is limited, but options increase as you head towards Tacoma. Eatonville and Morton (25mins away) are a good bet, as well as Tacoma itself (1hr away).
There are a few options inside the National Park (National Park Inn and Cougar Rock Campground are closer options). Be careful when selecting lodging, as some options that are great for visiting the park may be very far from the race (Paradise Inn and Ohanapecosh Campground).
Find Ashford area hotels
We've partnered with Hotel Planner to search for the best hotel options in the area.
Outdoorsy RV Rental
Rent an RV, motorhome, trailer, or campervan from Outdoorsy for your next adventure.
Vacation Races Campground
Runners also have the option to stay at the official Vacation Races Campground. This is the most convenient (and most fun) place to stay during race weekend!
This is simple camping - the site does not include showers, cots, sleeping bags, pillows, headlamps, cooking stoves, or supplies. Tents will be available for rent for an additional fee.
There are only 100 campground spots. Plan to register early for the race to reserve you spot before the campground sells out!
Mount Rainier National Park
We realize that the races in this series are out of the way for most runners, and it may be the only time that you visit these breathtaking areas. One of our biggest desires is that you walk away from this event having fully experienced what the region has to offer.
While in the area we encourage you to continue the adventure and spend time in the parks!
Good Trip Adventures
Inclusive & eco-conscious tours through US National Parks.
Good Trip Adventures goes beyond the guide books to give you an adventure travel experience you can’t get anywhere else. With our experienced guides, you’ll emerge from our trips with expert knowledge, new connections, and a smile so big it’ll hurt your face.
Whether you’re looking to meet other travelers on a small-group day hike, want to connect with your family on a private day tour, or experience a multi-day excursion, we have the trip and the guide for your needs!
If you've run any of our National Park half marathons before, you may be familiar with our "club hikes" and "trifecta" programs. The "Explorer Club" series is our new iteration of this idea! We want you to have as broad or as deep of an experience of our National Parks and their surrounding areas as possible. We have created a scavenger hunt made up of all kinds of adventures and experiences you can have here.
The challenge consists of activities that fit into 6 categories: History, Hiking, Explore, Food/Dining, Education, and Stewardship.
Each activity is worth points towards a Mount Rainier Explorer badge! They are worth a different number of points based on difficulty and you can choose which to tackle based on your interests. Whether you have an afternoon or a week at the park, you should be able to plan an amazing itinerary with these suggestions.
Start Exploring With The Neocaching App!
1. Get Started
Download the app and join the correct Explorer Club for your park.
2. Choose Your Own Adventure
Use our curated list of local hikes and activities to create an unforgettable weekend. Then - get out there and explore!
3. Log Your Activities
Log enough activities to earn 1500pts within 7 days of your VR to become an official Explorer Club member (and receive a special badge!)
This popular 5.5mi. trail is challenging but well worth the effort. The loop boasts incredible mountain vistas and a waterfall. You can cut down on the challenge and still enjoy the park by hiking to Myrtle Falls and returning.
Nisqually Vista Trail
Not looking for a big trek? This trail on paved ground is a great way to see views from the base of the mountain during a short 1mi. hike that's great for families and stroller-friendly.
Note: You are responsible for your safety if you attempt to participate in any of these activities. Always check the weather before starting a hike, and speak with a park or forest ranger for updated information regarding trail conditions, closures, and permits.
Run with us at Mt Rainier!
Don't want to miss a price jump? Sign up for email updates and get notified about upcoming price jumps and more.
Mount Rainier Half Marathon Bibs | $149
The late registration period has begun!
Mount Rainier 5K Bibs | $55
The late registration period has begun!
Ready to Get Involved?
Sign up for a volunteer shift to support runners and earn a $50/$100 race credit!
Get to Know Your Half Marathon Course
Maps & Elevation
Run through the peaceful community of Ashford, Washington at the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. This course will take you through beautiful pacific northwest landscapes. You’ll run through peaceful forests, among wildflowers, ferns and lush undergrowth, over streams and rivers all the while catching glimpses of Mount Rainier as the trees part to reveal her in all her majesty towering over the course.
The first mile has runners heading west with Rainier at their back on Hwy 706 (National Park Hwy). This section is on road. Shortly after Mile 1, runners turn onto a dirt trail through some private property to tie into some dirt roads through the trees. Runners will be on dirt roads until just past Mile 8. Around Mile 3 runners will cross Nisqually River for the first time and hit the first aid station.
Runners will continue south on the dirt roads, hitting the first of two good climbs near Mile 4. The second aid station will be near Mile 5. At about Mile 6 runners will hit the second (and more significant of the two) hills, climbing around 300ft in a mile (it gets steeper at about 6.5). It can be harder going up a mountain than down, but the views are better at the top. From about mile 7 to 8 is a pretty good downhill, then the course is pretty level from there to the finish. The third aid station will be waiting for you at the top of the hill near Mile 7.
The course will change from dirt road back to pavement just past Mile 8. Runners will hit the fourth aid station just before crossing the Nisqually River for the second time near Mile 9. The course hops back onto Hwy 706 briefly before taking some side roads up to Ashford County Park where the finish line is.
Mixed Terrain - Dirt, Pavement, and Gravel
This course starts and finished on a paved road. The remaining 7 miles are on dirt trails with some gravel.
We recommend wearing trail shoes for this event. They will provide better support and protection as you climb the dirt trail.
Aid Stations (Bring your own cup!)
All aid stations are cup-free so remember to bring your own hydration solution or request a FREE Nathan reusable cup when you register.
Expect about 6 aid stations on the course near mile 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 12 (Exact locations vary). A medic will be stationed typically at the aid station at or near mile 9. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more. Cups are not provided on course to help reduce waste.
All runners will have 4 hours to finish the race (chip time). That is an 18 minute mile - plenty of time for walkers!
If at anytime we deem it unsafe and need to pull a runner off the course, we would hope for understanding and immediate cooperation. Failure to comply will result in being banned from future events.
Interested in running a Double by combining the half marathon and 5K? Click here!
Fundraise for your chosen race and your registration fee could be waived. All funds go to Wander Project to support efforts in and around the communities that host our events.
New this year, YOU choose whether the funds you raise support a WP community partner or an organization that matters to you!
Volunteer with Us!
Our amazing volunteers help runners at the race expo, finish line, merch tent, and beyond! Join us for a 3-4hr shift and earn a $50 or $100 credit towards a future race.
Submit your interest early and we'll let you know the specific times and roles that are available before the race.
Pro-tip: Volunteer at the expo and run the next day OR ask a friend to volunteer and "gift" you the credit (or use it themselves!)
HOW TO PREPARE
Train with Vacation Races
FREE PDF download for each event!
No matter what your skill level, when you're pushing your limits it's nice to have a little guidance! We're excited to offer FREE training programs for all levels.
Know Your Guidelines
- Read your race details! Following event rules helps us to put on safe, sustainable events.
- We are a zero-waste event. Please stick to reusable water bottles and avoid bringing disposable items to the race.
- Be courteous towards fellow runners on and off the course.
Join the Community
Vacation Races is honored to have a community of runners who actively support one another! We highly recommend joining one our Facebook groups to get input from other runners, share stories, and learn about the latest updates.
Mount Rainer Race Logistics
Everything you need to know to plan your race weekend!
Bib Pickup Options
You have a couple of options for picking up your bib and race packet including at the Race Expo, the start line, or we can mail it to you.
Option #1: Race Expo
Always the Friday before our race, the expo is the best option for bib pickup. We’ll have our merchandise table set up, so be sure to stop by and say hi!
Option #2: Race Morning (not recommended)
We will have limited race morning bib and packet pickup on race morning at the start line. Get there early!
Option #3: Shipped Before the Race ($30)
You can add a shipped bib to your registration until one month before the race by logging into RunSignup, clicking Manage Registration, and Add Ons.
Refunds: Once your package is shipped, you are officially checked in to the race and no longer qualify for our refund, deferment, or transfer options.
All of our events are cup-free and bag-free to help us reduce waste! Please plan to bring a reusable hydration source or request a free reusable cup at registration.
Date: Friday, July 14th, 2023
Start Time: 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: Ashford County Park (Ashford, WA)
We encourage you to attend the race expo! This is your chance to see the area, pick up your bib packet, and check out merchandise. We'll have a variety of swag from shirts and tanks to our favorite Hydro Flasks and everything in-between.
Expo & Race Schedule
All times listed are in Pacific Time.
Please note: Expo & parking lot hours are approximate and subject to shift once we are closer to the race. A final schedule is typically established 1-2 months before the event date.
FRIDAY, JULY 14
11:00 AM - Race expo & bib pickup begins
6:00 PM - Race expo & bib pickup ends
6:45 PM - 5K Runners line up
7:00 PM - 5K RACE START
7:45 PM - 5K Awards Ceremony
SATURDAY, JULY 15
4:00 AM - Parking lots open
4:15 AM - Start line bib pick-up opens
5:45 AM - Last call for gear check & runners line up
5:50 AM - National Anthem
6:00 AM - OFFICIAL START
9:00 AM - Awards ceremony
10:00 AM* - Race cut-off time
Arrive early & get ready with us
We encourage runners to arrive early on race morning. Find a parking spot, grab some Summit Coffee or hot chocolate, and listen for updates from our race announcer (they're the one with the megaphone and early-bird energy)!
*All half marathon runners are given 4 hours to reach the finish line. To help avoid congestion at that start, we sometimes have a rolling start. This means the cut-off time begins when the last runners start their race.
Opens at 4:00 am
Start line lot on Natl Park Hwy
(29805 WA-706 Ashford, WA)
*The start line & parking are walking distance to the finish line
Runner Drop-off & Spectator Parking
Drop-off and spectator parking are both located across the street inside the entrance to Ashford County Park. Please enter, loop through the park, and follow signs for our designated drop-off and parking areas.
We plan to expand our parking options for this event. Check back one month before the 2023 Mount Rainier race weekend for a final parking map.
The most convenient (and fun) place to stay during race weekend is our Vacation Races Campground! It is located right by our race and expo site in Ashford, WA so you can sleep in and walk to the start line on race morning.
You can sleep in your car, bring a tent, hammock, RV, or rent a tent from us for an additional fee. Whichever you choose, you still have to reserve a spot.
There is plenty of space for campers but keep in mind, this is primitive camping and will be treated like a large group site. You will have neighbors and make new friends.
*Your tent must be packed up and returned by
9:00 am on Sunday! This is a strict check-out time.
*Damage due to neglect and failure to return your tent at check-out may result in an invoice to cover repairs or replacement.
Campsite Only (bring your own tent)
Campsite + 4-person Tent Rental
Campsite + 6-person Tent Rental
Reserve Your Campsite
You can reserve your spot during registration:
Already registered? you can add on a campsite by modifying your registration via RunSignup.com
Spectators are welcome at the Mount Rainier Half Marathon! Please stick to the parking area designated for you on race morning. You will be located walking distance to both the start and finish line.
Some Spectator Etiquette:
- Only park in designated areas
- Please do not eat the runners' food or beverage
- Please remain outside of the runner recovery area (finish line) while waiting for your runner
- Give our runners your best cheers as they cross the finish line! They deserve it!
Mount Rainier 5K
Date: Friday, July 14th, 2023
Start Time: 7:00 PM
Location: Ashford County Park (Ashford, WA)
Stroller friendly? Yes
Disability friendly? Yes
The course will start and finish at the Ashford County Park. Runners will begin by turning left onto hwy 706 (National Park Hwy). Runners will be running in the shoulder against traffic for the first 1.5 miles. The course will then take a left at the Paradise Villiage Hotel & Restaurant. Runners will cross through the property before making another left onto Mt Tahoma Canyon Rd. The course will then run along Mt Tahoma Canyon Rd for the next mile.
Around mile 2.5 runners will take a right back onto hwy 706 (National Park Hwy). The course will continue in the shoulder of the hwy (running with traffic) and take a right at Ashford County Park and continue to the finish line.
There will be one aid station on the course near the half way point (mile 1.5). The aid station will have water, Gnarly Hydrate, and bathrooms. Like the half marathon, this race will be cupless!
5K runners can pick up their bibs at the race expo before the race. Please plan to come early to avoid a last minute rush.
What is the Sasquatch Double?
Up for an extra challenge? Try the Sasquatch Double! Run the 5K on Friday evening and the half marathon on Saturday morning and earn extra swag! You'll use the same bib for both events.
When: July 14-15, 2023
Where: Ashford, WA
Mount Rainier 5K
Mount Rainier Half Marathon
Two races, one weekend! You'll run both Mt. Rainier races within the span of 24 hours. Pretty hard, core right?
With a Sasquatch Double registration, you'll earn:
Check in before the 5K and use this bib for both races.
Registration & Upgrades
You MUST register for your specific Double not separate races.
If you register for the races separately, you will need to upgrade into the correct Double in order to receive special swag and medals.
Need to upgrade to a Double?
This is considered an event transfer. You can transfer into a Double via your account on Run Signup.
*if you deferred or transferred into this race your race credit will appear as $0. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll complete the upgrade for you!
As nature lovers, we are committed to keeping our events sustainable and managing negative impacts on the environment. Here's how you can help us:
Single-use plastic is a huge source of waste at any public event. We have reduced that impact by making our events "cup-free".
What does that mean for you?
Coolers of Water and Gnarly Hydrate (electrolyte drink) are available at all aid stations, but cups will not be provided on course or at the finish line. In order to stay hydrated, we ask you to bring one of the following:
1. Reusable water bottle
2. Nathan reusable cup - These light-weight cups fold into a pocket or waistband. Request one when you sign up to run!
3. Hydration pack - These are refillable backpacks meant for running that allow you to access fluid via a built-in straw.
ZERO WASTE CONTAINERS
You can help us reduce trash by sorting disposable items into the appropriate container.
You’ll notice three containers at our events:
Please avoid putting organic waste and compostable items in the wrong bin. It gets gross to sort through.
You'll be able to view your time ~20 minute after you finish by going to RunSignup.com or heading to the Race Results tent and scanning a QR code.
If you see that you placed, but didn't stick around for the awards ceremony, no worries! You can request to have your place medal shipped to you!
If you have questions about your placement or results, please email email@example.com.
Half Marathon Race Photos
Race photos are typically available for the Half Marathon on RunSignup.com the Friday following the week of the race. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album as well as place the link below. Currently, we do not offer race photos for the 5K.
Share your experiences with us!
Be sure to use #RainierHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!
Exclusive Mount Rainier Half Marathon merchandise will be available both at the race expo and near the finish line! When possible, we'll have race merch for sale in our online store after the race is over. Please allow time for us to add items online.