Zion at Night Half Marathon

THIS RACE IS IN THE VAULT

In 2023, we are not hosting the Zion at Night Half Marathon.

Instead, we're re-thinking how we can share this course with you. Plus, we may be looking into a wider variety of night races for you in the future.

  • Location: Apple Valley, UT
  • Terrain: Dirt trail
  • Difficulty: Moderate

VAULTED RACE

Scroll down for event details

Apple Valley, UT

Difficulty:

Mixed Road & Trail

Lollipop Loop

  • Quick Info

  • Travel & Lodging

  • Explore The Park

Description
Run by moonlight as you take in the solitude of the desert. A half marathon that runs through the night - run along the Gooseberry Mesa at dusk, under starry skies, or just in time for sunrise. You choose the time you want to run, bring your headlamp and we'll handle the rest. ✨ 🔦
Guidelines

Weather: 82/48°F (nighttime weather applies)

Spectators? Start/Finish line only

Stroller/wheelchair friendly? No


Required equipment: Personal headlamp or light to navigate the trail

This race is held NIGHT. Running through the desert outside Zion under the stars and the moon with the quiet of the night, the deep canyons in the distance, silhouetted buttes, and the twinkling desert all around will be an unforgettable experience. Explore Zion by day – run it at night.

Course Photos

Get a feel for the terrain and landscape that await you out on the course!


Note: The majority of the race takes place at night and becomes quite remote and difficult to access. For that reason, race photos may not be offered at this event. 

Zion at Night Logistics

Come here to prepare for your race weekend!

Course Details
Maps & Elevation
Course Description

Run on some of the most famous trails of southern Utah atop Gooseberry Mesa. Just located southwest of Zion National Park, panoramic views of Virgin, Zion, and even Kolob Fingers can be seen from the mesa. This is a trail half marathon. The terrain is a mix of dirt roads, slickrock, and single track trail as you weave in and out of trees, catching glimpses of beautiful desert landscapes, and breathtaking views. Experience the quiet of the desert in a special opportunity to run either at sunset, under complete moonlight, or as the sun rises-- you choose your start time! Experience Zion at Night unlike any other trail race. 

**Note: If you ran this course last year, there is a slight change at about mile 5. You will be turning onto a connector trail to reach the rim to get onto the Windmill Trail. This alternative trail to reach the rim is less than a half a mile.

Just west of Smithsonian Butte, runners will start out from the Ruby Rider Ranch in Apple Valley, UT. You will immediately turn left over the cattle guard and head west out toward Gooseberry Mesa on a wide dirt road. The climb may look daunting, but from the start line to the highest point on the course, it is less than 450 ft. of gain. Your first aid station will be at about mile 3.7 near the Gooseberry Mesa parking area. Please stick to the right side of the road as there may be fellow runners heading back to the finish line (depending on your start time), and we want to minimize each of you from blinding/flashing each other with your headlamps. You will continue on this road for another 1.3 miles before veering left onto a connector trail. You will continue on this connector trail for about .5 miles before reaching the rim and a junction to Windmill Trail. Please use caution when approaching the rim, especially in the dark. The trail is never right on the edge (at least an 8 ft. buffer), but it is your responsibility to be aware of the risk of running near the rim's edge.

The Windmill Trail is a single track section that skirts the northwest edge of Gooseberry mesa granting amazing views of the Virgin Desert below. You will be running on slick rock, but contrary to the name, it is not slick unless there is a thin layer of gravel on the surface or if it gets wet. It’s actually hard sandstone. Watch your footing and take your time- if you are new to trail running, you may find it challenging to find a rhythm in the sections of slick rock throughout the course between miles 5.5-8. Slow down and enjoy the experience. 

*Trail markings: Pay attention to trail markings for the race. We will use pink ribbon bundled with reflective tape to indicate the trail. There will also be arrows pointing you in the right direction at any major turns, and Wrong Way signs indicating that you should turn around to get back on course. There may be a few sections where the course runs along the same path as mountain biking trails. These mountain biking trails are often marked with white dots painted on the slick rock to help bikers navigate. Don’t get side-tracked following the white dots. Though you may see both white dots and pink ribbons simultaneously- KEEP FOLLOWING THE PINK RIBBON.  

At mile 6.1 there will be a water-only station. Be sure to top off your fluids in your bottles and packs here and continue on the Windmill trail until it runs into the North Rim Trail. There will be arrows and trail markings to turn right, where you will run on the North Rim Trail for just .3 miles. You will take a left on a short connector trail to get you onto the White Road Trail. This section consists of mostly hard packed dirt with a few rocky sections. Some of the roads can get pretty rutted depending on recent rains, so be sure to watch your step as you start to descend. 

The White Road will wrap up the loop portion of the course as you return to the same aid station as before. This aid station at mile 9.5 will be your final chance to refuel before heading back toward the finish. 

Continue back on the dirt road heading southeast as you follow the same path you originally ran out on. Please stay to the right in an effort to not blind/flash oncoming runners with your headlamp or flashlight. Better yet, take this opportunity to dim your headlamp; turn it to the red light; or turn it off altogether and enjoy the night sky. For most, your vision will adjust to the dark- but use your judgement and stay safe. This section overall, is fairly mild but you may pick up speed as you descend- so be cautious and slow down if you need to. This course is a little long... At about mile 13.1 you will reach a T in the road. Cross the cattle-guard, make a right turn and head south for a hundred yards or so before turning right into the finish line chute at Ruby Rider Ranch. 

Aid Stations: 2 full aid stations, 1 water-only station

Time Limit: 4 hrs.

Timing

The event will be timed. The first wave will begin at 6 pm, with a new wave continuing every 30 minutes until 7 am the next morning. Each wave will have a rolling start to help spread out runners. Due to the nature of varying start times through the night, we will not have an official awards ceremony. After the event, we will verify and mail out age group awards to the top 5 in each of the following age groups: 11 & under, 12-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 & up. All awards, including overall and masters will be based on chip time. 

Course Records

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: Zach Smalls  1:31:59 (2021)

Female Overall: Clarissa Jauregui  1:24:34 (2021)

Male Masters: Alan Squyres  1:40:06 (2021)

Female Masters: Adrienne Koplik  2:08:16 (2021)

Aid Stations

The aid stations for this race are fewer and more spread out - it is important that you plan to be more self-sufficient with nutrition and hydration than at our other half marathons.

Expect 3 aid stations on the course at mile 3.7, 6.1 (water and bathrooms only), and 9.5. The aid stations for this race are fewer and more spread out - it is important that you plan to be more self-sufficient with nutrition and hydration than at our other half marathons.

Aid stations at mile 3.7 and 9.5 include toilets, water, Gnarly Hydrate, Honey Stinger gels, and basic first aid supplies. 

All stations are cup-free so plan to bring your own hydration solution. We will NOT have reusable cups for runners at the race.

Additional Details

Rules & Safety Guidelines

Race Rules and Etiquette

Etiquette:

• A headlamp, flashlight or some sort of light is required. This race takes place at night! The course will be marked, but not lit. This is both for your safety and that of the other runners.

• When passing on course, do so with consideration and communication.

• Trail shoes aren't required, but highly recommended.

Race Logistics:

• Runners may arrive no earlier than 30 minutes prior to their assigned start time, and can start no later than 30 minutes after their assigned start time. Each time wave will have a rolling start to help disperse runners, avoid congregation, and thin the crowds. 

• This is not a spectator-friendly course. Spectators may send their runner off at the start line, and welcome them at the finish. Please do not try to meet or "follow" your runner on course. It will cause a lot of dust for everyone, and may endanger runners on both side of the dirt road with unnecessary vehicle traffic.

• This is a cup free event. This race will have only 3 aid stations. Runners will need to bring their own form of hydration to refill. Nathan reusable cups will NOT be offered.

• Due to the nature of this event and how start times are spread out through the night, we will not be offering race photography at this race.

IMG 8698 scaled

Swag

You will receive a personalized bib and a race shirt before the race, and a glow in the dark finisher's medal upon finishing your race. Runners will also receive a food box at the finish line. No reusable cup will be given- runners must bring their own means of hydration to refill at the aid stations and finish line. 

Offline Maps (Avenza)
avenza map logo home

Now you can use our maps offline with a gps-enabled device!

We plan to mark the course with such rigor that you should not need your own map to help you find your way. However, we have experienced blown down signs and vandalism in the past. We recommend downloading the free Avenza app (available for iOS, and Android devices) before the event. There you can find our uploaded maps that work without cell coverage.

Here's how:
1. Download the free app "AVENZA MAPS" to your smart-phone or tablet while your device is online. It’s compatible with iOS, and Android devices.
2. Open the app > Tap "Store" (Shopping Cart Icon) > Tap "Find Maps" > Search for the specific distance you would like to download. Type your search exactly as it appears below:
     Zion at Night Half Marathon
3. Tap on the label on the map > tap "install" and the map will begin to download.
4. The map is now ready to use “offline”. Simply open the app, click on the Map and your GPS location will appear on the map.

Download the Map
Download the Avenza App
app store logo
google play button
Bib Pickup

Zion at Night does not have a race expo before the event. Instead, runners have the following choices:

Option #1: Day of the Race
Since we have no expo at Zion at Night, you can pick up your bib near the start line just before your race start time. Please do not come significantly early. You should plan to pick up your bib packet up to 30mins before your specific starting time.

Option #2: Shipped Before the Race
There is a cost of $30 if you want to have your bib and shirt mailed to you. We do this as a convenience for runners not wanting to drive to the area early. 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.

Race Schedule 

This event takes places from the evening of Friday into the morning of Saturday and is typically held at the end of May. All portions of the event will take place at Ruby Rider Ranch in Apple Valley, UT. All times will be listed in Mountain Time.

Start line & parking

Parking at the Start/Finish Line

All parking will be near the start/finish area of the race, located at Ruby Rider Ranch in Apple Valley, UT 

Please do not arrive and park earlier than 30 minutes before your assigned start time.

Vehicles will enter and exit at the south entrance. When parking, please follow the directions of any staff or volunteers on-site to park in an orderly manner. Vehicles will be coming and going throughout the night, and many will be returning to their vehicles after the race, in the dark. Your cooperation in maintaining an organized parking lot will be essential.

Runner Drop-off

Runners being dropped off can come directly to the staging & parking area. Vehicles should then immediately exit and head toward Hwy 59.

Zion Night Staging

Start and Finish line layout

Spectators

We expect to welcome spectators back to Zion at Night this year! 

However, due to the remote nature of the event (and the fact that it will be nighttime...) we ask spectators to ONLY attend the start and finish line area to greet their runner. You'll be able to park at Ruby Rider Ranch in Apple Valley, UT.

We recommend downloading the RaceJoy app to track your runner's progress and send them cheers along the way! Once your runner has crossed the finish line, please exit the runner recovery area to avoid crowding. The beverages, supplies, and medical tent at the finish line are for runner use only - thank you!

Zero Waste

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:

CUP-FREE RACING

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 down so you can have them on-the-go. We will not have any at the race, so plan to bring your own!

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:

  • Compostables: Organic goods like banana peels and most food items (without the wrapper please!)
  • Recyclables: Paper, aluminum, cardboard, steel, and glass. Please dump out any liquids into the compost bin BEFORE recycling the container.
  • Everything Else: Non-recyclable food wrappers like from used gel packets and styrofoam. Please dump out any food matter BEFORE throwing away the container.

Please avoid putting organic waste and compostable items in the wrong bin. It gets gross to sort through.

Race Results and Awards
Race Results

Visit RunSignup for current and past race results.

Because of the nature of our timing system for this event, results won't be instantly available. Please allow about 48 hours for us to get the results posted online.

Since start times will stretch through the night, we will not have an official awards ceremony. After the event, we will verify and mail out age group awards to the top 5 in each of the following age groups: 11 & under, 12-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 & up. Awards will be based on chip time.

Got questions about your placement? please email timing@runsum.com.

Photos

We do not offer free race photos for this event - the majority of the race takes place at night and becomes quite remote and difficult to access. For that reason, we do not have a photographer on course taking participant photos.

Share your experiences with us! 
Be sure to use #ZionatNightHalf in any photos you post from the race or your adventures exploring the park so we can share in the fun with you!

Race Merchandise

Exclusive Zion at Night 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.

Zion at Night FAQ

Will this event come back from the vault?

Anything is possible! We hope to run under the stars at Zion in the future and listen to runner input on what destinations you want to experience. 

Why is this event at night?

While we initially launched this night-time race to offer you a race that would avoid crowds, we've kept it for a few reasons:

  • The temperatures in Southern Utah this time of year can be hot. Nighttime will be cooler, comfortable running weather.
  • Running at night will be unique and beautiful! This is a chance to experience the sheer awe of the night sky.

What kind of swag will be at Zion at Night?

Each runner will receive a race shirt and an individualized bib. All finishers will receive a glow in the dark finisher medal as well.

There will be age group awards, but no awards ceremony at the event. These will be mailed out after the race.

When should I show up?

Runners can show up as early as 30 minutes BEFORE their scheduled start time (and should not arrive any earlier). They may also start their race with our rolling start up to 30 minutes AFTER their scheduled start time (but should start no later).

How long do I have to complete the race?

Just like our other half marathon events, runners will have 4 hours to finish the race. 

What will be at the aid stations?

Though this course will have fewer aid stations than our typical half marathon events, we will have an aid station set up near mile 3.8, and 9.7, with a water-only station in the middle at mile 6.3. The aid stations will have water, Gnarly Hydrate, and Honey Stinger Gels. Aid stations will also have composting toilets.

Reminder - runners will need to carry their own form of hydration to refill at aid stations. Reusable cups will not be provided.

Can I use a deferment code from another VR event for this race?

Yes! You may use a deferment code/deferment credit from another race to run the Zion at Night (Half Marathon). If you have previously transferred from another race already, you will need to contact customer service to get a new deferment code to transfer to this race.

Other events you're going to love!

Meet our partners!

>
Success message!
Warning message!
Error message!