#GCtrailfest

Grand Circle Trailfest

The Grand Circle Trailfest is a 3-day trail running festival where you'll meet other outdoor enthusiasts, run 3 epic courses - Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Horseshoe Bend - and enjoy delicious food, motivational speakers, live bands, movies, yoga clinics, gear demonstrations, and more back at base camp in Kanab, Utah!
  • Location: Apple Valley, UT
  • Date: Sept 28- Oct 1, 2022 
  • Terrain: Dirt trail
  • Difficulty: Moderate back-to-back races

Sept 28 - Oct 1, 2022

Kanab, UT

Difficulty:

Dirt Trails

Family-friendly!

  • Welcome

  • Travel & Lodging

  • Explore The Parks

  • Register Jan. 14!

What is Trailfest?

Trailfest is a 3-day festival celebrating nature, trail running, music, food, and friendship.

Run.

Each morning, you'll run a gorgeous timed race on one of the world's most uniquely beautiful trail courses. 

You'll earn a finisher award for each daily race and compete for an overall placement award.

Explore.

After the race, spend the day exploring the parks, hiking local trails, and getting to know the local sights and sounds. 

Absorb nature!

Relax.

After a day on the trails, sit back, and enjoy deserved rest, delicious food, expert presenters and motivational speakers, live bands, bonfires, a trail running film festival, yoga clinics, gear demonstrations, and more.

Start each morning racing through epic landscapes...

Day 1

Bryce Canyon (12.3 mi.)

Nowhere is the force of erosion more tangible than at Bryce Canyon.

Its wilderness of phantom-like rock spires attracts nearly 2 million visitors every year.

You'll see all the beauty but avoid the crowds as you run on remote trails through the magical hoodoos unique to the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

Day 2

Zion (10.4 mi.)

The towering sandstone walls and deep slot canyons of Zion National Park are unique to anywhere else on earth and attract 3 million visitors a year.

You'll run remote trails along the edge of a mesa, offering you commanding views of the majestic sandstone towers that make Zion famous.

Day 3

Horseshoe Bend (10.6 mi.)

This course runs through the incredible Waterholes slot canyon and then along the beautiful Horseshoe Bend where the Colorado River pours out of Lake Powell then continues on to carve the Grand Canyon! 

...complete your day with fun and fellowship!

  • Activities

  • Kids Camp

  • Daily Meals

  • Beer Garden

The fun continues after the finish line...

Activities will run between 2pm and 8pm daily. Our activities typically include:

  • Outdoor Yoga
  • Live Music
  • Speaker Talks
  • Cultural Performances
  • Film Screenings
  • ...and more!
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We'll announced featured speakers and musicians closer to the event!

Quotes from our runners

Unexpected Laughing Fits

Pack up extra Humor...you're going to fall into some great unexpected laughing fits with a few hundreds of the newest members of your trail family

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Christina Vincent Trailfest Participant

Unforgettable experience!

Thanks for an amazing experience! My kids, both the younger ones and the teens had fun at kids camp. My hubby & I had an unforgettable experience running trails. And everything was so well organized. Can't wait to do it again!

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Julie Ann Sherwood Trailfest Participant

Absolutely amazing!

Trailfest was absolutely amazing! Very well organized and so much fun! Thank you everyone who helped put this event together!

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Staci Geiselman Trailfest Participant

Super excited!

Super excited to run the trails of Nor Cal! Did the grand circle trailfest and looking forward to this new adventure!

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Jill Hansen Trailfest Participant

GET INVOLVED

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Support Our

Park Communities

Fundraise while you train 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.

Learn more about Wander Project >>

Volunteer with Us!

Our amazing volunteers help runners at the finish line, merch tent, and beyond! Join us for a 3-5hr 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

Custom Training Plan for Trailfest!

No matter what your skill level, when you're pushing your limits it's nice to have a little guidance! We're excited to offer a Trailfest focused training plan by Terry Chiplin.

training landscape

Know Your Guidelines

- Read your Trailfest 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.

Grand Circle Trailfest Details

Here's a few more details to make the most of Trailfest...

Getting to the races (Shuttles)

Festival HQ will be at Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab, UT. The races are in surrounding areas throughout the Grand Circle region.

We encourage you to drive to the start of each race so you can spend the rest of the day exploring the park and surrounding area on your schedule! However, we will have pre-paid shuttles each day taking runners to that day's course.

Driving Times & Google Maps

Bryce Canyon Race: 1hr 25m Driving directions
Zion Race: 1 hr Driving directions
Horseshoe Bend Race: 1 hr 20m Driving directions

2016 Trail Fest 076

Driving to Bryce Canyon Race

From the Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab, head south on N 100 East. Turn right onto E 300 North for 0.5 miles. Turn right onto N 300 West (US-89) and continue to follow US-89 for 59.5 miles. Turn right onto E Highway 12 for 13.6 miles. Turn right onto N Main St. (UT-63) for 1.2 miles. Turn left onto N 100 E. The parking areas are on the East side of highway across from Ruby’s Inn. 

Travel time: 1hr 25m. Driving directions

GCTF Bryce Driving

Driving to Zion Race

From the Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab, head south on N 100 East. Turn left to stay on 100 East/US-89A toward Fredonia for 6.8 miles. Turn right onto Pratt Street (AZ-389 W) toward Apple Valley for 32.6 miles. Continue on UT-59 N for 8.1 miles. Take a slight right onto Main Street and drive for approx. 2 miles to find the dirt parking lot on your left.

Travel time: 1 hr. Driving directions

All runners who drive themselves to the race will ride on a provided shuttle (approx. 15 min.) from the dirt parking lot in Apple Valley to the start line location. We will have staff on site directing traffic and parking. Following the race, runners will be shuttled back to the parking lot. 

GCTF Zion Driving

Driving to Horseshoe Bend Race

Most runners will need to park at Page High School and then take a short 15-min shuttle to the start line. Based on your assigned group, please follow the schedule below to know when to be parked, when to load shuttles, and when you can expect to start the race.

Shuttles after the race will return runners to the parking lot.

Because of the staggered start, runners should use the restroom, get coffee, stretch, etc. here at the parking lot so they get off the shuttle at the start line ready to start.

Driving yourself:

From the Jacob Hamblin Park in Kanab, head south on N 100 East. Turn left to stay on 100 East/US-89A and head south for 0.3 miles. Turn left onto 300 South/US-89 toward Lake Powell/Page. Continue on US-89S for 72.4 miles. Turn left onto N Lake Powell Blvd for 1.9 miles. Turn right onto S Navajo Dr and head into the parking lot of the high school (635 S Navajo Dr).

Travel time: 1hr 20m. Driving directions

Wave A runners ONLY - you will take a shuttle from Trailfest Headquarters and head right to the start line. Shuttles load at 5:20 AM and leave at 5:30 AM. You will be able to take a shuttle back to HQ after the race.

Horseshoe Staggered Chart

Your Wave will be indicated on your race bib - please park and start the race according to this chart!

Horseshoe Bend 2021 Parking

Race Shuttles

Register for shuttle pass during event registration
Direct Shuttle (from Trailfest HQ)

Who can ride? Runners only

Ticket needed? Yes, purchase in advance

Departure time? Around 5:30am


The direct pre-paid shuttles to and from Trailfest HQ in Kanab have limited space and are intended for runners only. You can purchase shuttle tickets when you register for the event.

The return shuttles will be running to Trailfest Headquarters after the race. They will depart as soon they are filled with finished runners.

Parking Lot Shuttles

Who can ride? Runners and spectators

Ticket needed? No

Departure time? Ongoing, starts at 6:30am


To reach the start and finish lines, runners and non-runners who drove themselves will take a short shuttle ride from the parking area. 

PLEASE NOTE: Runners will be given first priority when loading these shuttles. There will be enough shuttles for all, but please understand that our focus is to get runners to and from their race.

Note: We recommend driving rather than taking the shuttles. This gives you greater flexibility to enjoy your time after crossing the finish line.

Forgot to purchase shuttle tickets?

You can log in here and edit your registration to add-on a shuttle reservation leading up to the event.

Aid Stations

Each race will have one aid station located about halfway through the course. They will have volunteers on hand to help you!

Trailfest aid stations will have the following:

  • Water
  • Gnarly electrolyte drink
  • Honey Stinger gels
  • Fresh fruit
  • Variety of both salty and sweet items

At every event, our aid station workers are there to assist you. If you ever need help, our aid workers will do whatever they can to help.

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Training for Trailfest
logo for Active at Altitude

The Grand Circle Trailfest is a unique event in that in addition to all the fun you'll be having at the festival, you'll be running anywhere from 11 to 13 miles a day - 3 days in a row. This can be daunting especially if you are new to trail running, or if you are not used to running at altitude.

We've partnered with Terry Chiplin with Active at Altitude. Terry is a Lydiard running coach and has created a guide to help you with training tips to both physically and mentally prepare for this awesome adventure ahead!  

Spectators & Non-runners

Spectators

These courses are not very spectator friendly. However, spectators are welcome to greet you at the finish line. Spectators are responsible for their own transportation.

Friends and family should drive to the designated parking area for each race location and take the short shuttle ride to the finish line to cheer on their runners. See more shuttle information.

people sitting outdoors

Non-Runner Participants

Coming with non-runners? They don't need to purchase an All Festival Pass!

Trailfest will offer plenty to do for the non-runner. All the activities begin after 2:00 pm. Everything from yoga classes, nature walks, massage therapists, and local vendors and shops offer plenty to do for those who don’t want to venture out onto the trails. In addition, the speakers, film-screenings, entertainment, or other parts of the festival aspect are free to join in on.

The town of Kanab also offers a couple of unique museums, a movie theater, bar, and several historic sites to keep you busy. While your runner is out on the trail, go for a drive through one of the 3 adjacent National Parks, 2 National Monuments, one of the Navajo Tribal Parks, or Lake Powell! 

Non-runners may share a tent with a runner, or additional camping spots may be added during or after registration. 

NON-RUNNER MEALS:  For registered runners, a nightly buffet dinner as well as a morning grab-n-go breakfast before each race is included. For those not running, additional meal tickets can be purchased at the registration tent or at the buffet table for $10, cash or credit accepted. Purchased meal tickets will be given to the volunteer at the buffet entrance.

woman doing yoga outdoors
Zero Waste

As nature lovers, we are committed to keeping our events sustainable and managing negative impacts on the environment. Here's how you can help us:

CUP-FREE RACING

All Vacation Races events are "cup-free". 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 - you can fill these up at any aid station and at the start/finish

2. Hydrapouch - These handheld cups clip onto your clothes and are our recommended choice! We offer these free when you register, but they will also be available at the expo for $10.

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.

Toilets

When possible, we also use Great Outdoors Composting Portable Toilets which conserve water, eliminates the use of harmful chemicals, and create a nutrient rich soil amenity. It is the best pooping experience you will ever have. To learn more or to have them at your event visit GreatOutdoorsToilets.com or ask the race officials for more information.

Race Results and Photos
Race Results

Visit RunSignup for current and past 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 Finisher but missed the awards ceremony? You can request to have your place medal shipped to you!

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

Photos

Race photos are typically available for FREE via RunSignup the Friday following the week of the race. We will send out an email when they're posted to the album. Past races are available via the link

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

Trailfest Merchandise

Exclusive Grand Circle Trailfest merchandise will be available throughout the event at our merchandise tent. Stop by and say hi!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Registration & Logistics

Does Trailfest sell out?

Yes! Trailfest has consistently sold out during the first registration period. We HIGHLY recommend marking your calendar and purchasing your All Festival Pass as soon as they're available.

How does camping work?

Every registration includes a tent site and a 4- or 6-person tent. (You can also bring your own tent if you prefer.)

Coming with other runners and want to share a tent? Make sure one person in your group claims a tent for every 4 or 6 people in the group. Everyone else should indicate "no campsite needed" during registration. 

Example: If you are coming with a group of 8 people, two of your members should reserve a campsite while registering. The others are covered by those two reserved tents.

Once you arrive: Picking a tent site is on a first come first serve basis. You may check in for friends. They will all be set up in the baseball fields just above the festival. Each registration comes with its own tent site, though we encourage you to share with friends. You will not be put in a tent with a stranger.

What is the weather like?

Early fall in southern Utah is beautiful. Expect clear skies and sunny days. The days will be a little warm (highs in the low 70s) but the mornings and evenings will be chilly.


Plan to dress warmly before the race and then gear check any layers you don’t want to run with. The occasional thunderstorm rolls through this time of year so there is the possibility of rain

What should I pack?

Highly Recommended

-Camp pillow
-Camp/Shower towel
-Jacket or vest
-Sleeping bag & pad (40° for most nights check weather conditions before)
-Blanket to lounge on
-Snacks/Food
-Soap/Shampoo
-Extra clothing
-Socks for each race
-Running shoes
-Flashlight or headlamp
-Camp shoes
-Camera/Phone/Chargers
-Any personal medication
-Running hydration system/pack
-Warm clothes for nights & mornings

*Many of these items can be purchased in Kanab or in one of the communities along the way. The nearest Walmart is in Hurricane Utah 60 minutes from Kanab. 

Recommended
-Sunglasses
-Sunscreen
-Sun hat
-Toiletries
-Extra blanket
-Long underwear

A few more things

-Personal first aid kit
-Gloves
-Insect repellent
-Rain gear
-Ear plugs
-Reading and writing materials
-Personal Bathroom Kit (personal wipes, hand cleaner, etc.)

*Check the weather beforehand for Kanab. If there is a cold front that moves in a 40° bag wont be enough and you would be better off bringing a 20° or layered clothing or an extra blanket. If you sleep cold you might consider bringing a warmer bag anyway.

Can I bring my dog?

Unfortunately no. Jacob Hamblin Park has a strict no dog policy. All of our Trailfest facilities, excluding the camping area, are within the park, so we cannot allow dogs for this event. 

Do I have to stay at Trailfest?

Nope, you can stay anywhere you like! We'll provide a campsite and tent for everyone who registers but you don't have to use it. If you want to stay somewhere else and drive to the festival and races, that is allowed. 

Kanab has lots of hotel and VRBO options. However, you will not receive a discount by not camping with us. All registration fees include a campsite whether you use it or not.

What are the meals like?

We'll provide catered meals each night of Trailfest (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday).

We'll also offer a continental style breakfast each race morning (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday). Runners may help themselves to breakfast each morning. You'll receive a wristband when you pick up your bib. Show this wristband when entering the buffet area to eat dinner. 

Additional meal tickets can be purchased at the registration tent or at the buffet table for $10, cash or credit accepted. 

Trailfest Races

How far away are the races?

Bryce Canyon Race: 1hr 25m Driving directions
Zion Race: 1 hr Driving directions
Horseshoe Bend Race: 1 hr 20m Driving directions

Are there shuttles from headquarters to the race start?

There will be shuttles available. We don't recommend you use them.

Why? They'll return to Festival HQ very soon after the race. We suggest driving yourself and then taking time to explore the National Park before heading back to Festival HQ. 

The headquarters shuttle will take runners from Festival HQ in Kanab to the start line of the race and then back again to Kanab after the finish. The shuttle is OPTIONAL and a pass must be purchased for each day you want to use it. This can be done as part of the Trailfest registration process.

Note: Start line parking will be in designated areas nearby the race area. All runners who drive themselves to the race location will park in this lot and then take a short shuttle ride to the start line. Shuttles will then take them back to their car after the finish.

Are there aid stations on course?

Yes, each course will have at least one aid station about halfway through. 

Each aid station will have water, Gnarly electrolyte drink, Honey Stinger energy gels, basic foods (fruit, pretzels, etc), and toilets. Check each course description for exact location of the aid station.

Are dogs or strollers allowed on course?

Dogs are not allowed on the course.

Strollers are not permitted on course as these trails do not provide safe conditions.

What time do the races start?

Each morning’s race will start at 7:30am, just after sunrise.

We'll have a “rolling start” meaning the start line will be open for about 45 minutes and runners will start as they arrive rather than having one large start with everyone at the same time. It's a little unceremonious but it makes for less congestion on the course.

How long will I have to finish the race?

Each race is slightly different, depending on the distance:


Bryce Canyon has a 4.5hr cut-off time.

Zion has a 3.5hr cut-off time.

Horseshoe Bend has a 4hr cut-off time.


For more course details, please check the pages for each day's run.

Can I run with a team?

While we don't have an official team option for Trailfest, don't let that stop you from running with your friends in sweet matching t-shirts, tutus, etc! We love the energy that teams bring to the race!

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Meet our partners!

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