Zion Half Marathon
Virgin, UT | February 29, 2020
- Half Marathon
Zion Half Marathon
Start: 7:00 am in Virgin, UT
End: 11:00 am in Springdale, UT
The race begins in Virgin, UT where participants will run on a partially closed road that winds and climbs uphill as it follows the curves of the Virgin River.
You'll run on Hwy 9 through small but unique towns before getting on a paved path parallel to the road passing the town of Grafton and through Rockville with stunning views of the south west side of Zion.
You'll finish in Springdale in front of Cable Mountain Lodge near the gateway to the South entrance of Zion National Park!
This will be an "open course" meaning there will be cars on the road as well as runners. There are sections on main roads where traffic may be heavy. These spots on the course could get a little crowded.
The course will be well marked but it is your responsibility to stay to the right when running with traffic and be courteous and mindful of cars and other runners. DO NOT step off the course into traffic, you will be disqualified. We want you to stay safe. Be courteous.
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: Aaron Metler 1:11:51 (2016)
Female Overall: Kayla Lampe 1:26:49 (2019)
Male Masters: Ryan Shaffer 1:29:59 (2014)
Female Masters: Peggy Levin 1:38:48 (2015)
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: Race Expo (recommended)
We’ll have our race expo on February 28th in Springdale, UT at Zion Canyon Village in front of Cable Mountain Lodge (147 Zion Park Boulevard, Springdale, UT 84767). The expo will start at 1pm! Vendors will be there until 6pm, but you'll be able to pick up your bib until 7pm.
Please plan on coming and spending some time at the expo. We’ll also have our merchandise tent set up, so be sure to stop by and say hi!
Option #2: Race Morning (not recommended)
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 the expo. 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.
Limited Expo Parking
The areas outlined in blue on the map are the recommended parking spots. All street parking and the parking lots in town are paid parking spaces which will be in service. You will need to pay the parking fee for these spaces when you park. There isn't a ton of parking right at the expo so expect to walk just a little ways from your vehicle. We will have parking crew directing you.
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.
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. Take Hwy 9 all the way to Springdale, UT (you will take a right at 500 N in La Verkin, UT to stay on Hwy 9).
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 turn left onto Highway 9 (500 N) in La Verkin, UT. Continue on Hwy 9 all the way to Springdale, 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 Virgin, UT. There are numerous hotels near the south entrance of Zion National Park.
We recommend looking for lodging in the following towns:
- Virgin (closest)
- La Verkin
- 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, and its a pretty short walk to the start line! Zion River Resort has a pool, restrooms, laundromat, and more on site.
WATCHMAN & SOUTH CAMPGROUNDS » If you’re fine with about a 25 minute drive to the start line, these campgrounds are excellent options! A plus is that your campground is near the finish line. 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 in the town of Virgin, UT where Camino Del Rio & Kolob Terrace Rd. converge onto Highway 9. Please be aware there is NO PARKING AT THE START LINE. We will have shuttles for our runners to the start line leaving from Springdale and La Verkin as well as shuttles returning to these locations from the finish line. All shuttles will begin boarding at 4:30am. The last shuttle will leave at 6am. DO NOT BE LATE.
Springdale Start Line Shuttles
Shuttles will pick up at four locations in Springdale:
1) Cable Mountain Lodge
2) La Quinta Inn & Suites
3) Holiday Inn Express
4) Majestic View Lodge
If you are staying in town near these stops, the race shuttle will be a convenient option. You can also drive and park in Springdale to catch a shuttle. Parking spaces in town are all clearly identified and are paid parking spots. You are responsible to pay the meter if you choose to park there. The start line shuttles are for runners only.
La Verkin Start Line Shuttles
Shuttles will pick up near the designated parking areas in La Verkin. The two pickup spots are on either side of SR-9 so you won’t have to cross the street. The two pickup locations are:
1) In between Best Western and River Rock Roasting Co.
2) In front of the La Verkin city office building
There will be runner drop-off at the start line but no parking. Runners getting dropped off should do so at the corner of Kolob Terrace Rd. and Highway 9 (right across from the start line).
Friday - Race Expo
12 pm–6pm (packet pickup until 7pm)
The expo will be held at Zion Canyon Village in front of Cable Mountain Lodge in Springdale, UT (147 Zion Park Boulevard, Springdale, UT 84767)
Saturday - Race Day
5:00 am – Start line parking lot opens & shuttles start loading
5:10 am – Last-minute bib pickup opens (at start line)
5:15 am – First prize raffle
6:40 am – Start line parking lot closes
6:45 am – Runners line up & last call for gear check
6:55 am – National Anthem
7:00 am – RACE STARTS!
9:45 am – Awards Ceremony
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!
Finish Line Shuttle
There will be shuttles taking runners from the finish line back to the four locations around town in Springdale and there will be shuttles taking runners to the parking areas in La Verkin. These will be running non-stop from 9:30am-12:00pm.
Travel times do not account for traffic. You should expect lots of traffic on race morning, so please leave early!
Spectators are encouraged to be at the finish line to cheer on all our runners. To avoid traffic and congestion, spectators staying in town should walk or take the shuttle to the finish line. Theses shuttles are the same race shuttles going back and forth from the finish line to:
1) Cable Mountain Lodge
2) La Quinta Inn & Suites
3) Holiday Inn Express
4) Majestic View Lodge
There will be NO PARKING AT THE FINISH LINE. There is limited paid street parking throughout the town of Springdale along Zion Canyon Blvd and up Lion Blvd. Runners and spectators should not park inside park boundaries on race morning.
We also ask that you be respectful of the Park’s request that we not use the Visitor’s Center parking lot for race spectating and finish line access. Also, to avoid overcrowding and traffic, please avoid entering the park between 10am and 2pm. Don’t forget to stick around for the awards ceremony at 9:45am!
Club Hikes & Trifecta
We want you to get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery near the race so we designate certain challenging and iconic activities in the National Park to be a part of our official club hikes and trifecta. We have 4 club hikes plus a less-intense, three-part 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!
Afterwards, send us a picture of yourself to officially join the club! The photo must be sent within 72 hours of the race and must include:
*For the Trifecta photo, please combine all 3 photos into one photo collage if you are able
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).
Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the base of the rock formations that clearly show you made it up to Eagle Crags. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!
Starting from the Weeping Rock Trailhead take Weeping Rock Trail heading south, then make a right to join East Rim Trail. From here, East Rim heads straight up a slot in Zion Canyon, directly across from Angel’s Landing, so the views are spectacular. Once at the intersection with East Mesa Trail, turn left. Starting from East Rim Trail, East Mesa climbs very steeply, switchbacking multiple times until it eventually contours south of a small mesa. After contouring along this smaller mesa, head left onto Observation Point Trail. The trail works its way out to the edge of the canyon rim and offers absolutely astounding panoramic views.
* This hike is 8 miles and can take up to 6 hours to complete
Where do I take my picture? Take your picture at the pinnacle of the hike where you can see Zion Canyon in the background. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!
*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!
Where do I take my picture? Take your picture in the alcove. The double arch formation should be easily seen in the background above you. Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!
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.
Where do I take my picture?
This hike is just over 15 miles round trip. However, you don't have to go that far for to earn the medallion. At roughly 4 miles in, there is there is a good view of West Temple. After taking your photo, you may turn around at this point, or if you’re feeling ambitious keep going! Don’t forget your bib and finisher medal!
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. 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!
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
*Emerald Pools Trail (Timber Creek overlook alternative)
Enjoy the beauty of the cascading falls. From Zion Lodge, walk across the bridge that leads over the Virgin River then turn right onto the Lower Emerald Pools Trail. Follow the trail for a quarter mile above the river. The trail then turns westward into Heaps Canyon and parallels a stream to the first of the Emerald Pools.
Depending on water-flow and trail conditions there is a middle and upper pool to venture to! Do not go beyond any trail closures.
*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, and an alternative to 1 of the trifecta activities that takes these closures into consideration.
•Observation Point was closed in January to due rock fall. Please do not attempt this hike if the trail is still closed on race weekend.
•Double Arch Alcove and Timbercreek Overlook are accessed via Kolob Canyon. If access to Kolob Canyon is still closed on race weekend, those doing the trifecta will replace Timbercreek Overlook with Emerald Pools Trail, and those doing a club hike should not do Double Arch Alcove.
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 3 – July 7
Regular: $145 July 8 – Nov. 17
Late: $165 Nov. 18 – Race Expo
Countdown to race day!
*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.
THE 2020 EVENT IS SOLD OUT!
Yosemite & Rocky Mtn. 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.