Skip to main content

Vallecito Lake Heavy Half

Sat May 11, 2024 Bayfield, CO 81122 US Directions


Vallecito Lake Heavy Half

9:00AM MDT - 1:00PM MDT

Race Website

Additional race information can be found at


17454 Co Rd 501
Bayfield, CO US 81122



Vallecito Lake Heavy Half 

The Vallecito Lake Heavy Half Marathon is a beautiful and scenic course around Vallecito Lake. Nestled in the heart of the San Juan Mountains in Colorado, our race course takes runners completely around the picturesque Vallecito Reservoir with a special section that runs right across Vallecito Dam. If you ever wanted to run all the way around the lake, this race is the only way to do it as a portion traverses private property that is normally not open to the public.  After the race is the best post-race meal you will ever have provided by the Rocky Mountain General Store and Meats (includes great veggie options also).  Grab a few friends and spend the weekend in the beautiful Vallecito Valley.  More than just a great race, this event is a fundraiser for local non profits.  

New in 2024:  Single Track!  In 2024 a segment of the paved county road will be replaced with the dirt trail that runs between the road and the lake.  There is no measurable change in the race distance, but a significant increase in the scenery.  To mix things us the loop will also be run in the opposite direction this year.  Word has gotten out on how great this little race is and we expect it to sell out in 2024 as there is a 200 runner cap.  When it does sell out you can sign up for the waitlist.  Lastly, all Durango Running Club members get a 10% discount!  Make sure you are logged in to your Runsignup account and that your membership is current before registering and the discount will automatically apply.

Runner Perks

As great as the race is, this might be one event where the post-race party is even better.  La La Bones (Durango-based bluegrass band) will be playing at the finish line.  All runners will receive a unique finisher’s glass, a custom printed performance long sleeve T-shirt, and the best post-race lunch (including a beer or NA beverage if preferred) you will ever have. The post race meal is sponsored by the Rocky Mountain General Store and Meats, Ska Brewing, and Durango Soda Company (aka Zuberfizz).. There will also be free post-race massages offered by Victory Wellness Massage Therapy.  A professional photographer will also be stationed on the course and all photos will be completely free to the race entrants.

Packet Pickup Options:

Thursday May 9 5:00 PM-7:00 PM at the Durango Running Company

473 E College Dr, Durango, CO 81301

Friday May 10 4:00-7:00 PM at the Weminuche Woodfire Grill

18044 CR 501 Bayfield, CO 81122

Race Morning Packet Pickup
Day of race packet pickup and registration will happen at the start line on the morning of the event from 7-8:30 AM. There will be a strict cutoff at this time. Please make sure you give yourselves enough time to register and/or pick up your packet. All local participants are strongly encouraged to pick up before race morning using the options above.

Race Morning

All vehicles (staff, volunteers, runners, spectators) must park in the Vallecito Church parking lot or the PRID open space next to the race venue. Race morning parking is also allowed at the Weminuche Grill the morning of the race; however, those vehicles must be moved by 11:00 AM when the restaurant opens (unless dining at the Grill after the race).  There should be NO parking in font of Fur Trappers or the Rocky Mountain General Store.  All racers are required to have a valid PRID Use Pass, either a day pass or an annual pass.  A day use pass is $5 per vehicle.  The race registration includes the option of purchasing this fee for participants; however, all spectators will be required to purchase their own pass (unless riding with a participant).  This pass can be purchased directly from PRID the day of the race.  

Vallecito Church Parking:

17576 CR 501 Bayfield, CO 81122

Race Start
The heavy half will start at 9:00 AM. Please make sure you use the bathrooms and provide plenty of time for parking.  The start line is located behind the Rocky Mountain General Store in the PRID open space. 

The Route
Runners will follow the marked course travelling north.  Runners must stay on the right shoulder of the road, outside of all traffic cones for the entire race.  The race route will initially follow County Road 501 for 2.5 miles until it turns to gravel.  In another 2.5 miles CR 501 crosses the Pine River and enters private property.  Runners must stay on the designated road right-of-way through this approximately 0.5 mile segment.  Upon leaving private property, runners will enter Forest Service property and run along Forest Road 603 for approximately 3.5 miles.  Next runners will run over the Vallecito Dam and back to CR 501, turning right (north).  After 1.5 miles, runners will reach the marina, turn right and then follow the single track along the lake for 2.5 miles to the finish.  The full race loop is approximately 13.9 miles with 1,000 feet of vertical gain (and 1,000 feet of decsent since its a loop).

Aid Stations
You will find five aid stations approximately every 2 to 3 miles starting at mile 3.5.  Aid stations will provide water and Tailwind.  They will also have first-aid bags and cell phones for emergencies.  The last three aid stations will have snacks.  These are the only aid stations that will have food so if you plan accordingly.

Time Limits
We welcome runners of all abilities, and we offer a generous time limit of 4 hours.  This is roughly a 17 minute/mile pace.  If you anticipate being slower, you must carry your own water and a cell phone for emergencies as the aid stations will close before you arrive.

Course Safety

The race course uses roads that have minimal vehicle traffic, especially on a Saturday morning in May.  The course will also be marked with cones for safety.  However, runners must remain alert throughout the race, stay on the right shoulder of the road, and obey instructions from course marshals and local law enforcement. Runners should not wear headphones in both ears and no dogs allowed in the race. Strollers are not permitted due to the current shape of the forest service road and the single track. 

County Sheriffs will be located at the intersection of CR501 and FR603 at the south end of Vallecito Reservoir.  This is where oncoming traffic will first intersect the course.  Mile markers will be at each mile of the course and signage will be prominent at each turn for runners.  We will also have “Race in Progress” signs in various locations along the course to alert vehicles to the race in progress.

Each aid station will have first aid bags available for minor treatments.  We will partner with Upper Pine River Fire Protection District for Ambulance and EMS services.

Spectator Locations
There are several great spots along the course to watch the runners go by.  We recommend at the Vallecito Marina where there is ample off street parking (parking anywhere on the course requires a PRID pass).  Spectators may not follow you along the course in their vehicle.  In any instance this is observed, the runner will be disqualified.

The Vallecito Lake Heavy Half Marathon will be professionally timed by Rocky Mountain Timing. Your RFID chip will be on the back of your race bib. Please make sure you do not bend your chip. Runners should wear their race bib on the front of their body. 

Results will be posted on at the conclusion of the event. 

Travel Information and Lodging
The Vallecito area offers many campgrounds and VRBO options.  Alternatively to the local race area, Durango is a 40 minute drive away with ample hotels available.  The Blue Spruce RV Park and Campground is a sponsor of the race, located nearby and offers cabin rentals as well as campsites.  The Bear Paw Lodge is also a sponsor of the race and is offering 10% off to all runners.

Average temperature at 9am in mid May is 45 degrees.  Expect temperatures to start out cool and steadily increase as the morning progresses, potentially reaching into the 60’s.  Use the aid stations and stay hydrated.  The event will happen rain or shine.  If precipitation is in the forecast, runners should dress accordingly.  

This is race is a 100% volunteer-led effort.  100% of all revenue generated will go to local nonprofits.

Refunds & Transfers
As with most races, we are unable to offer refunds, transfers, or deferrals in most cases.  If you sign up and are unable to run, please contact the race director to discuss your options.

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.



We know many of you encourage your friends to join you in your races!  We appreciate that and would like to reward you for spreading the word.  For every 5 people you refer to our race, you will earn $20 refund on your registration.  We have it set up this year so that you can either share a link via social media or directly email your friends a special registration link that will automatically track your referral registrations.  



There are three main locations you can find your referral code

    1. Within your Confirmation Email

    2. Within your RunSignup Profile

    3. Within the confirmation page following Registration

Feel free to reach out with any questions!


Race Participant Survey

Please complete the following survey to help us better understand your race experience.

Did you participate in the race?

Would you recommend this race to a friend?

If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies. We use cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. Read how we use cookies and how you can control them by visiting our Privacy Policy.

If you continue to use this site, you consent to use all cookies.