Rocky Mountain Half & 5K
July 28-29, 2023 | Estes Park, CO
This is a challenging but scenic run just outside Rocky Mountain National Park. It starts and ends by the lake at the fairgrounds in historic Estes Park, Colorado, which means it has some killer mountain views!
With the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon, 5K, and Elk Double (Half Marathon + 5K) you can choose your own adventure!
Expo & Bib Pickup
Travel to Estes Park, CO
2hr drive to Estes Park, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park has a new timed entry system starting in 2021! Please plan accordingly as tickets are limited.
From the NORTH: If you're coming from Wyoming, the best way to get to the park would be to drive south on I-25 to Loveland then west on US-34 through the dramatic Big Thompson canyon to Estes Park.
From the SOUTH: If you're coming from the Denver area you have two options:
1) From the airport, the fastest route is to take I-470 to I-25. Go north on I-25 to Colorado 66, west on 66 to Lyons, continue west on US-36 to Estes Park.
2) Another route from Denver would be to take US-36 through Boulder to Estes rather than the I25 route above.
From the EAST: If you're coming from Nebraska, from the I-80 you may take I-76 to US-34 to Estes. If you're coming from Kansas on I-70 can use the I-25 - CO-66 - US-36 route.
From the WEST: You're in luck. Access from the west in the summertime is via US-34 through the National Park. That's the scenic Trail Ridge Road over the Continental Divide. It's not open in the winter, but in July it will be a beautiful drive. You could also come on I-70 from the west and take CO-6 east of Idaho Springs to the Peak to Peak National Scenic ByWay (119 to 72 to 7) that enters Estes from the south.
Estes Park, Colorado (Recommended!)
You can find some great lodging options in Estes Park. Find more lodging options including hotels, motels, resorts, cabin rentals, bed & breakfasts, and camping!
Outdoorsy RV Rental
Rent an RV, motorhome, trailer, or campervan from Outdoorsy for your next adventure.
Rocky Mountain 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!
Our team's curated scavenger hunt!
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 at Rocky Mountain National Park.
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 Rocky Mountain 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!)
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.
Continental Divide & Hallett Peak
Tackling this hike is only for the hardcore among us. The hike up to Hallett Peak is one the most classic hikes in the entire park, but it's super challenging. Your efforts will reward you with an epic summit, which just so happens to sit right on the Continental Divide.
Keep in mind, it may take you 5-6 hours to reach the summit and 2-3 hours to get back down. Bring lots of water! Hikers should leave early in the morning to avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms.
Chasm Lake is a beautiful crater lake along the Longs Peak trail. The hike is 8.4 miles roundtrip with a total elevation gain of 2,450 feet.
Bear Lake is beautiful, and incredibly easy to get to. You drive to the Bear Lake parking lot and it is a 1/4 mile to a beautiful view of the lake and Hallett Peak. The hike around the lake is beautiful and easily can be done with children. Those attempting the Hallett Peak hike will start at Bear Lake.
The hike to Alberta Falls begins from the Glacier Gorge Trail head on Bear Lake Road, located almost 8 miles from the turn-off at Highway 36. Due to the extreme popularity of the Bear Lake Road area, you may want to consider using the free park shuttle to reach the trail head during the peak tourist season. It is 1.7 miles round-trip.
Trail Ridge Road
Trail Ridge Rd. is an incredible byway that goes from Estes Park to Grand Lake, crosses the continental divide, climbs above the tree line, and offers incredible views. Our challenge to you is to drive to the top of Trail Ridge Rd and to make the short hike to the tallest peak.
Run with us in the Rockies!
Don't want to miss the next race? Sign up for email updates and get notified about upcoming price jumps, etc.
Rocky Mountain Half Marathon | $149 $129
Late registration begins after March 19, 2023 at 11:59 MST. Register now for the best price.
Rocky Mountain 5K | $55 $50
Late registration begins after March 19, 2023 at 11:59 MST. Register now for the best price.
Elk Double | $230 $200
Late registration begins after March 19, 2023 at 11:59 MST. Register now for the best price.
Want to Get Involved?
Sign up for a volunteer shift to support runners and earn a $50/$100 race credit!
We'll reach out to you before the race to choose your specific shift.
Make It a Charity Bib!
Charity bib athletes fundraise for local charity partners - or a charity of your choice.
Once you hit the fundraising goal your registration fee is waived.
Get Updates In Your Inbox
Never miss a price jump or race announcement again!
Get to Know Your Half Marathon Course
Maps & Elevation
We'll begin the race on the corner of Community Drive and N St. Vrain Ave. (Highway 36). We'll run counter-clockwise around the lake along the paved trail. When we come to Mall Rd. we'll take a left until almost 1 mile where we'll turn left back onto the lake trail. At about mile 1.5 we'll cross Big Thompson Ave through the new tunnel there, and take an immediate left.
We'll turn right onto Dry Gulch and continue for approximately 3 miles. This will be a steady uphill grade. At the end of Dry Gulch we'll make a left onto Devil's Gulch. Devil's Gulch will have some rolling hills for the next few miles, but it will mostly be downhill.
Just after mile 8 we'll take a left onto MacGregor Ave. This will be a nice flat section of the course. We'll then take a left Wonderview Ave. We will run against traffic to SW Steamer Pkwy where we will take a left and then and immediate right onto Steamer Pkwy.
We'll run with traffic on Steamer Pkwy to Steamer Dr, where will will take another right. We will then run down Steamer Dr to Big Thompson Ave. We will run along Big Thompson until we get back to the tunnel, where we will cross Big Thompson again. We'll then jump back on the Lake Estes Trail and finish running counter clockwise around the lake to the finish line which will be at the same place that we started.
All runners will have 4 hours to finish the race. That is an 18.5 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.
To be clear, this race doesn't take place inside the National Park. It's difficult to get permission to conduct private business activities on national land, and rightly so.) Having said that, this is about as close to the park as it gets.
This course is on a wide paved road, leaving you plenty of space to run and enjoy the views.
Interested in running the Elk Double by combining the half marathon & 5K? Click here!
Incline course, high elevation
We recommend training on trails with an uphill portion and rolling terrain. If possible, try to run at high elevation a few times before this event. Check out training tips for high altitude running.
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.
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.
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
Know Your Guidelines
- Read your race details! Following event rules helps us to put on safe, sustainable events.
- We are a cup-free 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.
Rocky Mountain Race Logistics
Come here to prepare for your race weekend.
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
Our expo is always held the Friday before a race. We’ll have our merchandise table set up, so be sure to stop by and say hi! Details below.
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 HydraPouch at registration.
Date: July 28, 2023
Bib Pickup Hours: 11am - 5pm
Location: Stanley Park Ball Field in Estes Park, CO
We encourage you to attend the race expo on Friday. 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. See you there!
All weekend events are located at the Stanley Park ball field in Estes Park, CO. All times listed are in Mountain Time.
This weekend schedule is approximate based on our 2022 Rocky Mountain event. Check back one month before the 2023 event for a final schedule.
FRIDAY, July 28th
11:00 AM - Race expo & bib pickup begins
5:00 PM - Race expo & bib pickup ends
5:45 PM - Runners line up
6:00 PM - 5K & Fun Run Start!
7:00 PM - 5K Awards
SATURDAY, July 29th
4:00 AM - Parking lots open & morning bib pickup begins
5:15 AM - All runners should be parked
5:45 AM - Runners line up & last call for gear check
5:55 AM - National Anthem
6:00 AM - Half Marathon starts (rolling waves for all runners)
8:45 AM - Awards Ceremony
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 RUNNERS WILL HAVE 4 HOURS FROM THEIR START TIME TO COMPLETE THE RACE
We will have plenty of parking to accommodate all of our runners. There are three designated parking areas near the fairgrounds and park that are a short walk to both the start line and the finish line. To park - you will come down Highway 7 and turn East onto Manford Avenue towards the fairgrounds and will be directed to a specific parking area from there. These lots will be filled
in the following order:
1. Ball Fields
2. High School and Observatory
3. Fairgrounds (please only park in designated areas marked on the
If you are dropping a runner off, please go to the lime green area on the map. Enter the drop off area off of Manford Ave and quickly circle out of the parking lot to exit. This will help avoid any traffic jams near the parking lots.
We welcome spectators to Rocky Mountain this year!
Spectators are welcome at the finish line and may park according to the main parking locations and schedule. The finish line is walking distance from town, which has many shops and restaurants to pass the time until your runner finishes! We encourage spectators to download and use the RaceJoy app so they can track their runner and head to the finish line only when they are close.
- Please only park in designated areas. There should be plenty of parking for everyone. Following this guideline allows us to continue putting on successful events compliant with local authorities.
- Once your runner has finished their race, please stay outside of the runner recovery area to avoid crowding.
- Finish line drinks, supplies, and the medical tent are there for runners only. Please respect this.
Rocky Mountain 5K
Date: July 28th, 2023
Start Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Stanley Park (380 Community Drive, near the ball fields)
Bib Pickup: At the race location from 11am-5pm on race day
This course loops around Lakes Estes and is primarily flat with light stretches of downhill and then uphill terrain. You'll get beautiful waterfront views as well as glimpses of the Stanley Hotel and the Rocky Mountains in the distance!
There will be one aid station on the course near the halfway point (mile 1.5). The aid station will have water, Gnarly Hydrate, and bathrooms. Like the half marathon, this race will be cup-free!
Because of the significant amount of road control, spectators are not allowed to stop along the highway at any point along the race. There are no vehicles allowed on course except emergency vehicles.
Spectators are welcome around the finish line to cheer on all participants. Please note that the runner area is for runners only! Please do not enter the runner recovery area or partake of runner’s food and recovery supplies.
Up for an extra challenge? Try the Elk 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 28-29, 2023
Where: Estes Park, CO
With an Elk Double registration, you'll earn:
Elk Double Registration
You MUST register for the Elk Double event, not separate races.
If you register for the races separately, you will need to transfer into the Elk Double in order to receive special swag and medals.
Need to upgrade to a Double or Quad?
This is considered an event transfer. You can transfer into the correct event 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. Our goal is to send less than one bag of actual “trash” to the landfill after each event. We have managed to meet this goal at events with over 3,000 participants!
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.
Visit RunSignup for race results. Runner times are available ~20 minutes after you finish the race. Keep in mind, the results are not official until all runners have crossed the finish line, and have been reviewed by the event director. Because our age group winners are based on chip time, it is
possible to cross the finish line before someone else in your age group while still finishing with a slower time than them.
Top Finished but missed the awards ceremony? You can request to have your place medal shipped to you!
Got questions about your placement? please email email@example.com.
Half Marathon Race Photos
Half marathon race photos are offered to our runners for FREE! These photos are available the Friday following the week of the race via RunSignup. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album. Currently, we do not offer photos for the 5K event.
Exclusive Rocky Mountain Half & 5K merchandise is always available at our race expo and at the finish line! After a race, available merch will be listed in our online store (please allow time for merch to be added to the store).
Not PR ready? Join the email list.
We'll send you updates about registration opening, price jumps, and more to keep you on track!