Sunrise over the Sevier Valley from the top of Dairy Canyon
Running the streambed in the Unnamed Canyon
Morning in Flat Canyon
Table Mountain at dusk and during the day
The Pillars in Dairy Canyon
The wild red rock canyons and rainbow hills around Richfield offer endless exploration and adventure. This run links together several canyons and remote ATV trails into a grand adventure run. Run up a red rock slot canyon, trek atop a packed natural clay fin under colorful hills, power up and scream down remote ATV trails along a ridgeline. There will be a half-marathon distance, a marathon distance, and a 50 mile ultramarathon distance.
You run in dry streambeds in several canyons that are connected by defined yet remote sections of the Paiute ATV trail. In Dairy Canyon, which all runners will travel through, there are a couple rocks to climb over, one sandstone overhangs with a rope tied to help you up, and one ladder.
For 2018 there will be some course modifications. The last two miles that all distances cover will be slightly changed for a better routing (more picturesque and eliminates a couple steep rocky sections). The 1/2 marathon, new for 2018, will stay atop the fin in Flat Canyon in the out-n-back, and catch the beginning of the Unnamed Canyon. The biggest change will be to the marathon route, where from Flat Canyon an ATV trail will be taken up the mountain. The initial ultramarathon loop up Willow Creek remains the same. Note, none of the courses run down the wet rocky streambed of Cottonwood Canyon. But there will be an informal group hike (chance to stretch your legs) for 3 miles up Cottonwood the afternoon the day before the race begins.
The race has been moved up a couple weeks in 2018 to September 29th. Fall timing of the race is specifically so there is low water flow in the streams and lesser chance of precipitation in the narrow canyons. This will make running down the Willow Creek streambed for the 50 mile ultramarathon easier, in that lower down there will be no water, and as you get higher you can hop back-and-forth over the tiny amount of remaining flowing water as you make your way up this colorful canyon. Also a change in the date of the Utah Deer Hunt for this mountain range is being moved to the same weekend as our previous race. We want to avoid any inadvertantly targeted runners.
The ATV trails in this run have some very nice packed clay sections, some red rock sections, and some sections with loose rocks.
Registration: Click here to register.
Race Guide: 2018 Race Guide coming soon. Here is the 2017 Race Guide for reference until then.
Time & Date: Meet at the Richfield, Utah Lion’s Park Saturday, September 29, 2018. The 50 mile ultramarathon starts at 6:00 AM, the marathon at 7:10 AM (timed so do not need headlamps), and the 1/2 marathon will have a staggered start with 25 runners each starting at 7:30, 7:40, 7:50, and 8:00 AM. Packet pickup is the night before between 6:00 and 8:00 PM.
Getting There: Richfield, Utah is located a 1hr 45 min drive South of Provo, and 2hrs 30 minutes South of Salt Lake City. Getting to Richfield should be easy with modern electronic maps. Coming from the North, take Interstate-15 to Scipio, then turn off onto Highway 50. You will turn off Highway 50 and pass through Aurora (watch for speed traps) before jumping onto Interstate-70 the last few miles to Richfield.
There are 2 freeway exits off I-70 into Richfield. From the North exit, drive South into town until you hit the first stoplight (300 North), next to the City Park. Here turn West towards the mountains and drive 6 blocks to the Lion’s Park (600 West). We will meet up in the middle of the park at the main pavilion next to 400 North.
From the South, Richfield is about 1hr 50 minutes North of Cedar City, or 4hrs 15 minutes North of Las Vegas.
Running with a dash of adventure: To enjoy this run you should be experienced running on technical trails (or at least power hiking) with limited support, competent managing your own hydration and nutrition, and able to clamber over small rock obstacles. There are several short but quite steep ATV trail sections where even experienced trail runners will walk. There are aid stations throughout the course, but all runners must have personal hydration for 1 to 2 hours between aid stations.
Weather: Hopefully the weather will be dry and relatively warm. The clay sections become slick when wet, and more water in the canyons will add difficulty. High water flow in Dairy Canyon can be very dangerous, but there is an ATV road that parallels the canyon if weather requires. There is minimal chance for snow in September, but it is Utah, so come prepared just about anything. Average temperatures the end of September is 40 degrees F on the low end and 75 degrees on the high end.
Course Markings: The course will be marked at most places with ribbons corresponding to the race colors on the maps. Follow the ribbons.
Packet Pick-up and Pre-race Pasta Feast: Packet pick-up and pasta will be between 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM on Friday, September 28th. Location to be announced. A brief 5-minute welcome and instructions will be given about 7:00 PM. We are looking at options for a pre-race pasta feast. optional pasta feast will cost $9/plate and should be available as part of the Ultrasignup process, but please contact us if you have need any help or additional reservations.
Section 1: Frontage Road
The Marathon (7:10 AM) and Half-marathon (7:30 - 8:00 AM) begin at the Richfield Lion's Park. Runners pass under the I-70 overpass, and run 1 mile to the South on a dirt road paralleling the freeway. At a second overpass, turn West towards the mountains, running towards the white “R” built out of rocks on the hill. Pass over the lower dug-out notch in this hill to the right of the “R” and approach Dairy Canyon, the middle of 3 canyons feeding into this constructed spillway.
Section 2: Dairy Canyon
In the 1970’s there was a church-run dairy where I-70 now sits, thus the name of this canyon. It is the most beautiful, diverse, and narrow of the 6 dry canyons running into the Richfield area. Over the first 500 meters in Dairy Canyon you will have two boulders to pull yourself up over, and then The Ladder (conditions permitting). After The Ladder, keep working your way up this narrow canyon, paying attention to trail marking ribbons at a couple junctions. Towards the top of the canyon it becomes smooth carved sandstone that has a small overhang to get up. A rope will be tied to help with the overhand if needed. There is an ATV trail that parallels the ridgeline just above the stream bed, and eventually you merge with this trail. There are a couple of steep climbs on the ATV trail, and at the top you merge with Flat Canyon..
Section 3: Flat Canyon
Catch an easily runnable and slightly downhill section as you start down Flat Canyon, eventually climbing and running atop a natural raised fin of packed clay. To the left are rainbow colored hills, while to the right crumbled red hills. All runners will run to the end of the raised fin, and turn North and continue down a quarter-mile to Aid Station #1. Half-marathon runners will turn around at this point, while longer runners will continue up the "Unnamed Canyon" past some spectacular weathered red rock formations.
1/2 Marathon ONLY: Traverse to Little Valley Ridge (Trail #84)
1/2 marathon runners return up Flat Canyon the way they came, and connect with ATV trail #84. This trail rolls up and down (mostly up!) through unique red rock views. Stay on the ATV trail until it peaks out with a view into Little Valley on your left, and a nice view of the Sevier Valley stretching off to the distance to your right. Continue high along the ridgeline to the North until you merge with the CC mountain road. Aid Station #5 will be here (though it is only the second aid station for 1/2 marathoners). From the Little Valley Ridge Aid Station, all runners head off to the Scorpion Ridge trail. 1/2 Marathon course description--> skip to Section 8 below.
Section 4: The Unnamed Canyon
Streambed running in a remote wild canyon! Marathon & ultra runners will complete an out-n-back up the Unnamed Canyon, running up the dry streambed 1.1 miles and then returning the same way back to Aid Station #1. There are two points in this streambed where runners will probably use their hands to climb a) over a chock stone and b) up a short rock wall. After checking back in at Aid Station #1, runners will continue down the large main streambed channel 0.4 miles to Trail #487.
Section 5: Trail #487 (4 miles)
Marathon and Ultra Marathon runners will follow ATV trail #487 up 1460 feet over 4 miles. There are several short but quite steep sections on this remote ATV trail. There will be an aid station where trail #487 meets up with a larger dirt road/trail #105.
Section 6: Mountain Roads & Trails (7.8 miles)
Marathon and Ultra Marathon runners will travel across the top of this mountain range, initially heading West before turning North. The first part of this section will be on dirt mountain roads that are truck (and sturdy car) accessible, and the last part will be on a trail above the main mountain road. You start on road/trail #105, quickly take the side #706 road, then connect to road/trail #111. An aid station will be at the junction of road #954 and where road/trail #111 turns North and is classified as Paiute ATV Trail #01. This aid station will be at 15 miles into the marathon course. Continue on the dirt road 1.6 miles, then take a side trail an additional 2 miles where you will connect with the dirt CC Road #96.
Section 7: CC Road #96 (3 miles)
Now for some smooth(er) fast downhill with spectacular views! Cruise down the dirt road to the bottom of Little Valley, then back up to the Little Valley Ridge Aid Station. Here all race distances recombine for the last few miles down to the finish line.
Section 8: Scorpion Ridgeline (2 miles)
From the Little Valley Ridge Aid Station, all runners take the Scorpion Ridge trail, following along the upper rim of Cottonwood Canyon. You will probably want to stop to snap a photo or two of the canyon below. The Scorpion Ridge trail connects with Trail #102 for a rocky, steep descent of about 1/3 a mile. The final aid station will be at the junction of trail #102 and #103.
Section 9: Trail #103 back to CC Road #96 to Finish (2.8 miles)
Trail #103 starts in a wash, and soon has a small climb. Atop this hill you can see Richfield and the valley down below. This deep red colored trail section coming down is rarely used by ATVs, and nature is reclaiming it- so be mindful of rocks as you descend. After a final short climb, and crossing a couple unnamed trails (though they will be marked), you return to the CC Road. Here cruise on down the final 1.8 miles back to the Lion's Park where you started the day.
Ultramarathon runners will complete a 24 mile loop around along a canal and up Table Mountain before beginning the marathon course. Below is a description of this loop around Table Mountain.
Ultra Part A: Start, Canal Road, to Rifle Range (6 miles)
From the Lion's Park, you will begin in the dark on a smooth(er) canal road. The first 1.3 miles are on a paved trail next to the canal. Carefully cross Richfield Mainstreet (police will be there to assist) and continue on the canal road another 3.4 miles to Rifle Range Road. Here turn under the freeway and run towards the mountains to the West. An aid & drop station will be at the end of the Rifle Range road.
Ultra Part B: Willow Creek Canyon (6 miles)
You will be surrounded on all sides by rugged majestic layered red rock cliffs as you gradually ascend Willow Creek. Most of the lower sections of of this canyon will be on cow trails paralleling the streambed.
Ultra Part C: XC to Trail #105, to Overlook (0.8 miles)
At 12.5 miles into your run, you will climb an old jeep road a couple hundred yards to trail #105. Following trail markings up to a lower ridgeline to the South, then the high ridgeline to the East. On this high section of trail #105, you go South to the end of the road for a spectacular overlook and refueling stop and aid station. From this overlook, you can look across the expanse, to areas you will be running later in the afternoon.
Ultra Part D: Trail #105 (3.6 miles)
This remote ATV trail passes through a dry, sparse, yet beautiful Juniper forest. After a mile or so of very gradual incline, you begin a rapid descent.
Ultra Part E: Ken's Canyon to the Lime Kilns (1.8 miles)
Here you leave the defined ATV trail and enter a beautiful (hopefully) dry red rock canyon. Watch for markings and beware of cliffs! Follow the streambed, but pay attention to four cliffs that require leaving the streambed and follow horse trails up and around. Continue downhill until you exit into the Sevier Valley just North of Richfield next to the old Lime Kilns. Aid Station C: Lime Kilns will be set up near the freeway off-ramp just before the pavement begins.
Ultra Part F: I-70 Overpass to Horizon Trail #70 to Finish (2.4 miles)
From Aid Station C, take the dirt frontage road to the South, crossing over Cottonwood Creek. Continue South on the frontage road as it climbs up a couple hundred feet. Here you will meet up with the return course for the marathon and 1/2 marathon routes, and you will cover the last 1.2 miles back to the Lion's Park the same route you will later in the day as you finish.
2018 registration now open!
Willow Creek Canyon: (image above) about two miles up the canyon. By about 5 miles up the canyon, the ecosystem changes (image below)
Views from Trail #102
Looking down into Dairy Canyon (images above & below)
From Trail #102 looking into Cottonwood Canyon
Trail #105 Overlook
The Chockstone of the Unnamed Canyon.