Rocky Mountain Half Marathon & 5K
Traveling to Rocky Mountain
We want to help you make the most out of your vacation. Here are some helpful links and general information. We’ll be updating the links and information below over the next several months.
Denver International Airport (DEN) – Your best (and pretty much only) option to fly is Denver International Airport. Expect about a two hour drive to Estes Park. A major airport hub, you should easily be able to find a flight to this airport, as well as a rental car. Learn more on their website.
From the NORTH: If you're coming from Wyoming for example, 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.
Where to Stay
You can find some great lodging options in Estes Park here. Find more lodging options including hotels, motels, resorts, cabin rentals, bed & breakfasts, and camping!
We've also partnered with Booking.com to help you find lodging accommodations in Estes Park:
Race HQ will be at the fairgrounds in Estes Park, CO. There will be plenty of parking near the start and finish for all runners and spectators. There will not be shuttles from around town, so please plan on driving to the start.
4:00 am – Open start line parking
4:30 am – First prize raffle (every 5 minutes)
5:15 am – All cars should be parked
5:30 am – Last prize raffle & start line parking lot closes/ Pacers line up
5:45 am – Runners line up/ Last call for gear check.
5:55 am – National Anthem
6:00 am – Half marathon starts for all divisions!
8:45 am – Awards Ceremony.
After the race you'll grab a snack box, take some pictures, hang out and make friends for a while, and then we encourage you to go explore Rocky Mountain National Park!
Race Expo & Bib Pickup
When: Friday, July 31, 2020, from 1–6pm (bib pickup until 7pm*)
Where: Stanley Park Ball Fields, Estes Park, CO (map)
At the expo you can pick up your bib, race shirt, and other gear. Plan to stay awhile, cook a s'more, and shop our other vendors and sponsors!
We recommend picking up your bib at the Race Expo. You can also choose to have it shipped to you before race day for $20. (Limited last minute pickup will be available until 30 minutes before the race begins but we discourage it.)
*5K bib pickup ends at 6pm as the 5K race starts at 6:30pm on Friday
When: July 31, 2020, 6:30pm
Where: The south side of Lake Estes (near the ball fields)
During race weekend, we also offer the Rocky Mountain 5K. The pricing below reflects the timed race, however you can save $5 by registering for the fun run! You’ll get the same shirt and finisher medal, but you won't be timed for the awards.
There will be one aid station on the course near the halfway point (mile 1.5). The aid station will have water, Gnarly, and bathrooms. Like the half marathon, this race will be cup-free!
When: August 1, 2020,
Where: Community Dr. & St. Vrain Ave. (near the ball fields)
There will be plenty of parking near the start and finish for all runners and spectators. There will not be shuttles around town, so please plan on driving to the start or having someone drop you off at the start. The race will start and finish by Lake Estes at the fairgrounds in Estes Park, CO.
There will be plenty of parking near the start and finish to accommodate all runners and spectators. There are four designated parking spots near the fair grounds that are a short walk to both the start line and the finish line. Volunteers will direct traffic and show you where to park. We'll fill up the parking lots in order.
To park, come down Highway 7 and turn onto Manford toward the fairgrounds and be directed from there:
- 1Finish line (near the lake)*
- 2Ball fields
- 3High School & Aquatic Center
Note: The Finish line parking area will close at 5:00 am on race morning to prepare for the road closure and the race to begin.
If you are dropping a runner off, please go to the orange area on the map. Enter the drop-off area and circle out of the parking lot to exit. This will help avoid any traffic jams.
We'll begin the race on the Lake Estes Trail around Community Drive and N St. Vrain Ave. 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.
We'll take a left 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 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.
Our course record holders receive a FREE RACE ENTRY every year that their time remains the course record!
The current course record holders are:
Male Overall: Brandon Yonke 1:17:37 (2015)
Female Overall: Kelsey Persyn 1:29:03 (2016)
Male Masters: Gerald Romera 1:26:59 (2015)
Female Masters: Pam Connolly 1:44:23 (2016)
Start elevation: 7,516 ft.
Max elevation: 7,934 ft.
Gain: 809 ft.
The elevation is a little tough, but it will be worth it! Besides, downhill courses are for wimps. :)
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!
When: July 31 & August 1, 2020
Where: Estes Park, CO
What you get:
Elk Double medal and swag cannot be bought, it must be earned!
Just running each individual race does not qualify you for the Elk Double medal. You need to register for the Elk Double specifically.
Expect about 6 aid stations on the course beginning around mile 3. Aid stations include toilets, water, Gnarly electrolyte drink, 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.
Explore Rocky Mountain National Park
Clubs & Trifecta
We like to encourage our runners to get out and enjoy the area where we hold our races, so we designate certain challenging and iconic activities in the park to be a part of our official club hikes and trifecta!
We have two hikes designated for the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon: Chasm Lake and Hallett Peak.
What do I get? Any runners that take the challenge and complete one of the designated hikes within 72 hours of running the race will officially join the club, and receive a commemorative medallion! All you have to do is take a picture of yourself at the designated location which includes:
- A clear view of your face
- Your bib with bib numbers clearly visible
- Your finisher medal in plain view
- Clear background showing where you are
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 bring lots of water (more than you think you need), and bear spray.
Continental Divide Club
The Continental Divide Club is a salute the hardcore among us. To join the club, hike Hallett Peak, which just so happens to sit right on the Continental Divide. This is one the most classic hikes in the entire park, but it's super challenging.
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 Club
This year we're introducing a second club hike: The Chasm Lake Club. 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. Hikers should leave early in the morning to avoid crowds and afternoon thunderstorms.
Our race trifectas are comprised of 3 different activities. The Trifecta is meant to be challenging, but less strenuous than our club hikes. These are iconic activities inside the park that should be experienced, but are doable with children.
The 3 activities that makeup the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon Trifecta are:
- Bear Lake
- Alberta Falls
- Trail Ridge Road
You must complete all 3 in order to complete the Trifecta. Same rules apply: take your picture at each of the 3 with your bib and finisher medal and send them to us 72 hours after finishing the race. Those who complete the Trifecta will receive a commemorative pin!
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.