Zion Half Marathon
Apple Valley, UT | February 27, 2021
- Half Marathon
Zion Half Marathon
Start: 7:00 am in Apple Valley, UT
End: 11:00 am
The race begins in Apple Valley, UT where participants will run on a dirt road and single track trail atop Wire Mesa, with intimate views of Zion Canyon.
Runners will start near the parking area and run about 1.25 miles towards Gooseberry Mesa on a wide dirt road. Runners will turn right onto another dirt road as it heads east, then south before rejoining the road they initially headed out on to wrap up the first lollipop loop (approx. 2.75 miles).
They will turn onto Smithsonian Butte Road and run downhill on this wide dirt road for another 3 miles. This is the first time runners will be treated to some spectacular views of west temple and the walls of Zion. After the 3 miles on the downhill dirt road, runners will turn up towards the Wire Mesa Trailhead. At this point, runners will hop onto the Wire Mesa Trail. The trail conditions are very runnable and not terribly technical, but it is 100% a trail run at this point. It is single track, a lot of hard packed dirt, some slick rock (sandstone), and some loose gravel.
There is not a lot of elevation gain on the Wire Mesa trail, but there is some rolling up and down. The trail has a great weave to it, the views are spectacular, and it is one of my absolute favorite trails to run in this area. The trail is about 8 miles. Runners will run the mesa counterclockwise and finish back at the trailhead. Practice good trail etiquette and be courteous.
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.
Because this is the first (and likely only) time we will be running this course, we do not have any course records. The overall winners and masters winners will set the course record for this course.
Course Preview (video)
Our race director has put together a full preview of the course for you.
Take a look for a preview of the types of terrain and gorgeous views that you'll experience during your Zion Half Marathon run!
Expect about 6 aid stations on the course at around mile 3, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 12. A medic will be stationed at the aid station at or near mile 6. We'll have oranges and bananas at mile 10. Keep in mind, the exact location of each aid station may vary from race to race. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, basic first aid supplies, and sometimes more.
All stations are cup-free so plan to bring your own hydration solution or request a free HydraPouch when you register.
Bib & Packet Pickup
When you register, we'll ask you to indicate when you plan to pick up your bib. If your plans change, don’t worry about it. We only ask to help us plan in terms of numbers.
Your choices to pick up your packet are:
Option #1: Drive-thru bib pickup (recommended)
We’ll have our bib pickup on Friday, February 26th in Apple Valley, UT in the same location as the start of the race. You may pick up your bib, beginning at 12pm until 7pm.
Due to COVID compliance, we likely will not have an expo. Instead, runners will be able to drive up and get their bib race shirt, hydrapouch and more...without getting out of their car! This will help us minimize groups from congregating and make the event safer.
There will still be a parking area where you can park and shop around with some of our vendors, and merchandise tent, so be sure to stop by and say hi!
Option #2: Race Morning
We will provide limited race morning packet pickup. The race starts very early, so having to worry about getting your bib on race morning will only add unneeded stress to your life. But we know sometimes it just can't be avoided. If it can be avoided, please do not pick your packet up the morning of the race.
Bib pickup on race morning will be right next to the starting line. Be sure to pick up your bib before 6:00am. The race starts promptly at 7:00 am.
Option #3: Shipped To You (US residents only)
There is a cost of $20 if you want to have your bib and race shirt mailed to you. We do this as a convenience for runners not able to get into town before the close of bib pickup on Friday. This option is only available BEFORE the final price jump.
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.
Bring Your Own Bag
In our ongoing effort to eliminate waste during our races, our expos are bagless events. We encourage you to #BYOBag to hold your bib, race shirt, and any goodies you pick up from the race expo!
If you're unhappy with the fit of your race shirt, or were unable to order the size you wanted, we will have a shirt exchange available at the finish line on race day. Please note that sizes and quantity will be limited.
We want to help you make the most out of your vacation. Below we will post links to some of our sponsors as well as general information.
Visit the A to Zion website before you visit to find lodging, dining, and activities near Zion and the greater St. George Area. They are a comprehensive resource to help you make your travel plans.
There are lots of different ways to get to the race, so we’ve listed some general directions for driving and flying. Bib pickup, parking, and the start line are all located in Apple Valley, Utah.
Look for flights into the following airports:
St. George Regional Airport (SGU)
This is the closest airport by far, but it’s a regional airport so tickets can be more expensive. Delta services St. George and the airport is new so if possible, definitely fly in to St. George.
Cedar City Regional Airport (CDC)
Cedar City is a similar option to St. George Regional Airport. Delta also services Cedar City.
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
This is the next closest at about 2.5 hours away in Las Vegas. It’s an interesting drive through the desert and then a beautiful drive through the Virgin River Gorge. Just follow the driving directions from Southern Nevada above. Car rentals tend to be inexpensive in Las Vegas, but there are no real onsite rentals. You have to take a shuttle to the car rental center, and two shuttles if you rent from an off brand agency. Most major airlines fly into Las Vegas so finding a good deal should be simple.
Salt Lake International Airport (SLC)
Salt Lake is another option that will work for some. It's nearly 5 hours away, but depending on your post race activities, it may be a good option for you. Salt Lake City serves most major airlines and is a Delta hub. Car rentals are cheap and the airport isn’t huge so it’s very easy to navigate.
From Las Vegas
Head north on Interstate-15 through Nevada to enter Utah. Take exit 16 in Washington, UT onto Highway 9. You'll switch to Highway 59 in Hurricane, UT. You will take a right at Main Street in Hurricane and then your first left to merge onto Highway 59 (E 100 S). Take Hwy 59 all the way to Apple Valley, UT.
From Salt Lake City
Head south on Interstate-15 toward southern Utah. Take exit 27 in Toquerville, UT. Continue on UT-17 through Toquerville and take two lefts at S 100 E onto Highway 59 (E 100 S) in Hurricane, UT. Continue on Hwy 59 all the way to Apple Valley, UT.
There are many hotel options in the area, but please plan accordingly for travel time to the start line on race morning! The race start is located in Apple Valley, UT. There are numerous hotels near the south entrance of Zion National Park in Springdale, but Hurricane and La Verkin are great options for race morning.
We recommend looking for lodging in the following towns:
- Hurricane (closest)
- La Verkin
- Virgin (closest)
- Springdale (Cable Mountain Lodge and Cliffrose Lodge & Gardens are close to the finish line)
- St George (furthest)
If camping is more your style you can find dispersed camping in the area around the race on the BLM website, here.
ZION RIVER RESORT » If you’re looking for less-primitive camping or RV hookups, Zion River Resort is a great option for campers and RVers! Zion River Resort has a pool, restrooms, laundromat, and more on site.
WATCHMAN & SOUTH CAMPGROUNDS » These campgrounds are immediately inside the park on the South entrance. Reservations need to be made 6 months before your arrival date. Make a reservation for Watchman. South Campground is available on a first come first served basis and is more primitive with no hook-ups at all.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch
From vacation rentals and cabin suites–to deluxe glamping or conventional tents, Zion Ponderosa Ranch offers a variety of lodging options and more. Zion Ponderosa Ranch also has plenty of activities fun for all including a climbing wall, horseback riding, and Jeep tours. There's something for everybody. (Note: this property is on the East side of Zion)
Additional Hotel Options
We've partnered with Booking.com to search for the best hotel options in the area. Check them out below!
Where to Eat
These restaurants are always popular with our runners:
If you're staying La Verkin or Hurricane, don’t forget to stop and get the best coffee in the world at River Rock Roasting Company!
Finally, you can always trust Yelp.
Parking & Shuttles
The race begins on private property in Apple Valley, UT off Smithsonian Butte Rd. All parking will be near the Start Line. There will not be shuttles from Springdale, Hurricane, or anywhere else, to the start line. All participants will need to drive themselves or be dropped off. You can find our location via this map link.
The parking lot will open at 5:30am. Follow the staggered start schedule below.
Finish Line Shuttles
The race will finish at the Wire Mesa Trailhead, about 3 miles away from where runners will be parked. There will be a short shuttle ride back to the parking area from the finish line.
Finish line shuttles run between 9:00am and 12:00pm on a limited basis.
There will be runner drop-off at the start line in the same area as parking.
Finish Line Staging
2-Way Foot Traffic
After finishing the race, runners will need to cross back over the course path from the Wire Mesa Trailhead to the entrance road where the shuttle pickup area is located (~1min walk). Please yield to your fellow runners as they head out on the Wire Mesa loop. Stay to the left in this area!
Friday - Bib Pickup
Bib pickup will be held at "Ruby Rider Ranch" - private property in Apple Valley. This is the same location as the race start in the morning.
Saturday - Race Day
5:30 am – Start line parking lot opens
5:45 am – Last-minute bib pickup opens (at start line)
6:40 am – Start line parking lot closes
6:50 am – Runners line up & last call for gear check
6:55 am – National Anthem
7:00 am – RACE STARTS!
When you finish the race, you may grab a food box, a banana, and a chocolate milk. Feel free to hang out at the finish line, make friends, and cheer on other finishers for a while. Then we encourage you to go explore Zion National Park!
Staggered Start Schedule
Please check your wave color before arriving to ensure you understand when to arrive and begin your race!
Travel times do not account for traffic. You should expect lots of traffic on race morning, so please leave early!
We are discouraging spectators from congregating at the finish line for everyone's safety.
However, if you do choose to hed to the finish line we ask that you do the following:
- Always wear you mask at all times!
- Please use our RaceJoy app to track your runner's progress. Only go to the finish line when they are close by.
- We won't start shuttles from the finish line until 9am! If you will be there earlier, be prepared to walk to and from the finish line (~3 miles).
Zion Explorer Club (new!)
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 oissible. We have created a scavenger hunt made up of all kinds of adventures and experiences you can have here at Zion.
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 Zion 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 in Zion, you should be able to plan an amazing itinerary with these suggestions!
Here's how to become a Zion Explorer:
- Install the free Spark Challenges app
- Sign-up using the same email address you used to register for the race
- Join the Zion Explorer Club challenge and start completing activities
- Earn at least 1,500 points within 7-days of the race and you’ll earn a special in-app achievement with a coupon code to claim your free Zion Explorer badge
Want to complete one of our legacy Club Hike or Trifecta challenges? While we are phasing out our club hikes and trifecta challenge, these activities are still a part of our new Zion Explorer Club! For a limited time you can continue to earn the club medallions or pin in addition to earning points towards your Zion Explorer Club badge. You won't need to submit a photo like in year's past.
If you complete any of the official club hikes or the trifecta as a part of the other activities of the Zion Explorer Club, simply check off the activities within the app. If you earn the minimum points to claim the Zion Explorer badge, we'll also ship any club hike medallions or the the trifecta pins along with it.
Clubs & Trifecta
Do one of these Club Hikes within 72 hours of the race to receive a club hike medallion. Completing the the Trifecta Challenge within 72 hours earns you an official Trifecta pin!
These hikes are meant to be difficult and they can sometimes be dangerous. If you choose to attempt any of these hikes, you need to take them seriously. Please check the weather forecast before leaving on your hike, and bring lots of water.
The Eagle Crags Trail, while technically outside the park, is a beautiful and rewarding hike with amazing views of Zion Canyon. It’s a 3-5 hour hike (5.7 miles round trip) up the very scenic Vermillion Cliffs and is located just south of Rockville.
To get to the trailhead, take highway 9 out of Springdale towards Rockville. Once in Rockville, take Bridge Rd. south until you get to the Trailhead (about 2 miles).
Please note: The trail to Observation Point via the East Rim Trail from Weeping rock (within Zion Canyon) is closed indefinitely due to rock-fall. However, there is an alternative way to hike to Observation Point.
Observation Point can be accessed via the East Mesa Trail. The trail works its way out to the edge of the canyon rim and offers absolutely astounding panoramic views.
To get to the trailhead- head about 1.7 miles east of Zion National Park's border along SR-9 and head north onto North Fork Road. Follow this road for roughly 5.2 miles, then turn left onto a dirt road (Pine Angle Rd/Twin Knolls Rd) that heads west as you pass through the Zion Ponderosa gate. Stay on this road for about 1.5 miles then turn right onto Beaver Rd. Stay on this road for about 1.2 miles. At this point, depending on recent precipitation- the roads could get a little tricky. If the road looks good, stay right, driving onto Rocky Rd./Fir Rd. to the trailhead. If the road seems a little hairy at this point, find a good place to pull off and and park and walk the extra quarter mile to the trailhead. Please use your best judgement.
* This hike is 6.5 miles and can take up to 3.5 hours to complete
*Double Arch Club
The hike along the Taylor Creek Trail to Double Arch Alcove is gorgeous and historic. Located about two miles past the Kolob Canyon entrance of Zion National Park, the trail head will take you into a narrow box canyon to the extremely photogenic alcove. As you criss cross along Taylor Creek, you will also pass Larson Cabin and Fife Cabin, two homesteads from the 1930’s.
This hike will be most convenient for those who have to head North after the race, or who just want to spend time in Kolob Canyon after the race (which you should!). The trailhead is about two miles in from the Kolob Canyon park entrance!
The Chinle Trail was once called the Petrified Forest Trail as hikers will encounter petrified wood along portions of the trail. Although maybe a little less scenic than the main canyon of Zion, this is a great option for those looking for a little more solitude. Enjoy views of West Temple, Mount Kinesava, and Eagle Crags along the way. To get to the trailhead, drive southwest on highway 9 for a couple of miles out of Springdale. Turn right (north) onto Anasazi Way, then take the first right to get to the parking area. Please do not disturb or take items like petrified wood from the park.
Zion Half Marathon Trifecta
For those looking for something challenging but less strenuous, we have the Zion Trifecta! The Trifecta is comprised of 3 different activities. You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta.
These are iconic activities inside the park that should be experienced, but are doable with children. The 3 activities that makeup the Trifecta are:
- Riverside Walk
- Canyon Overlook
- Kolob Canyon (Timber Creek Overlook)
You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta within 72 hours after finishing the race. Those who complete the Trifecta will receive a commemorative pin!
Riverside Walk (a.k.a., "The Narrows")
The trail was historically called “Gateway to the Narrows” but is now commonly referred to as Riverside Walk. A nice, paved, 3 mile round trip hike. At the end of the trail you can walk as far down into the Narrows as you dare, taking in the beauty of the area.
*This hike takes about 1.5 hours to complete
Canyon Overlook is only a mile round trip hike! This is perfect for families and offers a wonderful view of the Zion canyon with a look at the famous peaks like Bridge Mountain, West Temple, and The Sentinel. As an added bonus, when you drive up to the parking lot to make the short hike to the lookout, you get to pass through the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel!
* This hike is one mile and takes about an hour to complete
*Kolob Canyon (Timber Creek overlook)
Kolob Canyon is Zion’s best kept secret. About an hour north on I-15 from the main park entrance, this part of the park is less often visited by travelers, but it’s amazingly beautiful. The Timber Creek Trail is another short hike (1.2 miles round trip) that offers amazing views of Kolob Canyon. After about a 5 mile drive up the canyon you can park in a parking lot at the trail head.
*This hike is 0.5 miles and takes about an hour to complete
*Potential Closures In The Park
Zion National Park had several closures that may impact your visit. Conditions may change by race weekend. We have included a variety of club hike options should any of these trail be closed.
•Observation Point was closed last January to due rock fall. Please do not attempt this hike via East Rim from Weeping Rock Trail
•Double Arch Alcove and Timbercreek Overlook are accessed via Kolob Canyon. Access should be open race weekend, but be prepared for snow, ice, or slush.
Other Things to Do
Whether you're hiking the Narrows, tubing the Virgin River, or biking the Pa’rus, Zion Outfitter can make your journey an experience of a lifetime. They have the latest information on trail conditions and have all the gear you would need to have a simple and enjoyable adventure inside Zion National Park.
Pricing & Registration Periods
Early: $120 May 29 – August 16
Regular: $145 August 17 – December 6
Late: $165 December 7 – February 26
*There is a limited number of entries to each race, and this event may sell out. If the event is sold out, registration will close regardless of registration period.
Registration is Open. Sign up today and join us on the trails of zion!
Rocky Mountain, Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree Runner
Past Race Results & Photos
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Race photos are available 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. This year we are offering race photos FREE to all our runners!
Award Ceremony Photos
Award ceremony photos are posted within a week of the race. You can find a link to the award ceremony photos below:
Share your experiences with us!
Be sure to use #ZionHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!
Exclusive Zion Half Marathon merchandise is available in our online store.