Grand Canyon Trail Half Marathon & 5k

Sat November 4, 2023 Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023 US Directions

Race Map and Suggestions for How to Run the Courses

Click here for the the mapmyrun map of the course.  See below for a detailed description of how to run the route.

  • NOTE: The Kaibab Forest will be open to others on race day. We will have signage explaining that a special event is occurring, but please note that others may be using the trails and roads.
  • Half-Marathon Water Stations: at approximately Mile 4 with water, Mile 8 and 11.5 -- all with water, Gatorade, and gu brand caffeinated energy gels
  • 5k Water Stations: at the turn-around, 1.55 miles from the starting line
  • Water and Aid Stations: We want you to be self-sufficient on the race course, so please be sure to pack what you think you will need. Having said that, we will have volunteers on the course to support you.
  • We'll have plenty of sugary and salty chips, cookies, and crackers at the finish line.
  • Permits and insurance do not allow for dogs and other animals on the course.
  • While we appreciate the value of running with head-phones, we request that you do not run with headphones on.
  • While we support adaptive athletics, the half marathon course is not suited for chair athletes.  The 5k course has a paved section that is chair-capable, but the dirt road portion will be difficult to navigate for chair athletes.
  • If you need medical help, please ask a volunteer to call for medical help.


Half-Marathon Course Overview: The Half-Marathon course is a clockwise loop, designed to put the demanding sections of the race early, when you're more chipper. The race will will start at the IMAX parking lot, and head south on the sidewalk on the west side of Highway 64 before crossing onto the bike path of Long Jim Loop for another couple of hundred yards, before you head south onto the dirt roads of the Kaibab National Forest.  Racing Advice: there is plenty of room on the dirt portions of the course, so no need to go like crazy in the first half mile. In 2019, the course was dry and dusty -- if there is any rain, it may get muddy in places.

The next 3-4 miles are on Forest Service Road #2607, which will be pretty rugged, with a bunch of "rolling uphill" and some challenging footing (see the photo from near Mile 3), so it'll be a bit slow.  Racing Advice: Be mindful of your footing, recognize that a bunch of this stretch goes uphill, and be patient.

From approximately Mile 4-8 the trail smooths out and drops in a "rolling downhill" manner -- the footing is easier and you can probably get in a nice little rhythm, especially once you get onto Forest Service Road 2604. Near Mile 7.5 you'll go under the historic railroad tracks, then go under them again near Mile 8-- it's a fun little figure-S of a section. Mile 9-11 winds through what is called the Coconino Wash, with pretty smooth footing and some especially nice forested views.  Racing Advice: take advantage of the smoother footing and the gentle downhill portions on this stretch.  

Mile 11-12 is mostly on the well-travelled dirt road #328.  The road is open to the public, so please stay to the side.  Racing Advice: there may be some "washboard" sections on this portion of the course, so be mindful of footing.  But there is some significant downhill -- you should be able to make good time at this portion of the course. 

From approximately Mile 12 to the finish you will be on a paved multi-use path, part of which is the famed Arizona Trail. You can run on the pavement, but there is also dirt alongside if you favor the softer surface. Racing Advice: This largely downhill section should give you a pretty quick finish to the finish line with nice shade and the chance to push pace a bit.

The Half-Marathon course is almost exactly 13.1 miles (but may be long by as much as .1 or .2 -- hard to tell with the different measuring devices). The maps we've included come from MayMyRun, which says this: This is a 13.19 mi route. The route has a total ascent of 555.58 ft and has a maximum elevation of 6,729.3 ft. 

The 5k Route: The 5k will be an out and back, starting at the Finish Line and heading north on the multi-use path. At approximately 8/10 of a mile the 5k course will turn left (west) and head onto the dirt road. At 1.55 miles you will see the turnaround marker and the Water Station. The “out” portion rolls gently uphill, the “back” portion is a swift and smooth drop to the finish line.  Racing Advice: Enjoy the rolling uphill and gentle turns for the first mile, manage your footing on the dirt-road out-and-back, and let 'er rip on the downhill last mile to the finish!



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