Grand Canyon 50, 50k and trail half
May 27th 2017


course description:

This race is run in the Kaibab National Forest near the entrance to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Each route runs along the rim of the Grand Canyon (on forest service trails), offering spectacular overlooks into the canyon. 

Staging area for these races will be at Big Saddle Tank in the Kaibab National Forest, which is about 1 mile from the breathtaking Crazy Jug viewpoint.  GPS Coordinates for Big Saddle Tank are ( 36°26'47.5"N 112°23'36.7"W) CLICK HERE FOR DRIVING DIRECTIONS

The 50 mile route will take you to 4 spectacular overlooks into the Grand Canyon. The race will start at 5am (Pacific Time) on Saturday. Sunrise is at 5:15am, so no need to have a headlamp for the start with the ample twilight lighting at 5am. Runners will encounter their first view into the canyon at Crazy Jug overlook at mile 6. After another 3 miles, you'll arrive at the crowning overlook of the course with perfect morning lighting into the many layers of the canyon visible from the North Rim. You'll mark your bib at the turnaround and then head back to the Crazy Jug aid station (this time bypassing the overlook). You'll then make your way across the plateau along a double track road to the central Indian Hollow aid station. From there you'll head out 5 miles to the Thunder Mountain aid station for another peek into the canyon, and then back to the Indian Hollow aid station. From here you'll head out to the final overlook at Sowats Point, with an aid station at Sowats Spring on the way out and back.

The 50K route begins at 6am with a gradual climb up a forested double track to the Rim Trail Aid station at mile 7.5. From there, the route joins into the 50 mile route and heads out to the Crazy Jug, Monument Point, and Thunder Mountain overlooks, then loops back to Big Saddle finish line. 

Half Marathon runners will start and finish at Big Saddle Tank Corral with a 7am start time on Saturday. This route takes runners to the two most spectacular viewpoints of the course and and through a beautiful ponderosa forest. 

***A free shuttle service will run during check in and from 4am on Saturday from parking areas near the Big Saddle Tank Corral (approximately one mile shuttle) once parking at the corral has filled.



2-8pm- Check in for all distances at the start/finish line.  (Drop bags due by 8pm)


5am- 50 mile race begins- At Big Saddle Corral *

6am- 50k race begins-At Big Saddle Corral *

7am- Half Marathon race begins at Big Saddle Corral *

*Staging area for these races will be at the historic Big Saddle Tank in the Kaibab National Forest.  This open use area is about 1 mile from the breathtaking Crazy Jug viewpoint.  Click here for a map and here are the GPS Coordinates for Big Saddle ( 36°26'47.5"N 112°23'36.7"W) 

***A free shuttle service will run during check in and from 4am on Saturday from parking areas near the Big Saddle Tank Corral (approximately one mile shuttle) once parking at the corral has filled.


Time Cutoffs:

Click here to view cutoff times

50 mile, Overall cutoff- 15 hours

50K, Overall cutoff- 11 hours

Half Marathon, Overall cutoff- 4 hours


Aid Station Info:

For drop bag locations and information review the Drop Bag Document found here

Also review the following guidelines. 

-All bags must be labeled with name, bib # (in large print), aid station, and race distance.  Optional, but a good idea if your label comes off, is a card inside with the same information and contact information.  Please label your bags the day before the race on your own or at check in.  

-No drop bags will be accepted  after 8PM the night before the race. 

-No valuables or fragile items in your drop bags. We are not responsible for any lost/stolen items.

-Watch the weather forecast.  If there is any chance of rain, place your items in zip lock bags inside of your drop bag.

-Minimum size:  Gallon size freezer zip lock.  No grocery store plastic bags or garbage bags..

-Maximum size:  Shoe box for single pass and daytime aid stations.  Small duffel or small carry on for multiple pass aid stations.

The 50 miler has 7 fully stocked aid stations, the 50K has 5, and the Half Marathon has 2.

Here is a tentative list of items that may be found in aid stations: water, an electrolyte, fresh cut fruit, several salty items and several sweet items, and soda. Aid stations later in the race will also  have real food that may include boiled potatoes, grilled cheese, quesadillas, PB&J, turkey sandwiches, dill pickles, chips, a variety of candies, anti chafing agent, sunscreen, first aid supplies.  We will have a limited supply of gels, salt caps, and electrolyte caps. Remember this list is subject to change.


Pacers & Crew:

Crew access is allowed at Crazy Jug and Indian Hollow aid stations. 

Pacers are allowed at or after the runner's second pass through Indian Hollow aid station (50 milers only- no pacers allowed on 50K.) No pacer shuttle is provided, 

Click here for driving directions to Crazy Jug Aid Station

Click here for driving directions to Indian Hollow Aid Station


Click here for driving directions to the Big Saddle staging/finish area in the Kaibab National Forest.  This open use area is about 1 mile from the breathtaking Crazy Jug viewpoint.  The GPS Coordinates for  Big Saddle are ( 36°26'47.5"N 112°23'36.7"W) 


You are responsible for the actions of your crew and pacers. If their behavior is deemed inappropriate by race staff, you will be disqualified. Please let them know this and only choose crew members that will treat our volunteers and staff with respect while you are out on the course.


Due to the remote location of this race, we will not be able to provide live updates for your friends/family to follow you from home. We do have satellite phones and/or radios at the aid stations so that we can account for runners on the course and keep communication lines open among our staff members, but we do not have the ability to communicate runner whereabouts to your loved ones during the event. If you would like to let friends and family know your status on the course, you have a couple of options. 1) You can text them from the areas of the course with cell service (there are many points on the course where reception is  good enough to get a text out, but it can be difficult to get a phone call out. If you're worried about your cell phone battery, you can turn it off after sending a text, leave it in airplane mode, or carry a small battery backup device. 2) Use a tracking app such as Endomondo which will automatically update your whereabouts when you come into a reception area. (These apps tend to drain your cell phone battery and the use of a battery backup device will be necessary if you plan on leaving it on for the duration of the event.) 



For course marking, we use a highly visible pink flag with reflective tape. Any tricky junctions will be marked well with directional arrows and "Wrong Way" signs. A piece of highly reflective tape is attached to each trail marker that may be encountered at night. 

It is the responsibility of the runner to check in at each aid station (coming in only, no need to check out of the aid station.) Seek out the aid station worker wearing the fluorescent orange vest and give them your bib number. Failure to check in at an aid station can result in disqualification. If you drop out of the race YOU MUST TURN IN YOUR BIB TO THE NEAREST AID STATION CAPTAIN. If you fail to do this, not only will you be responisble for all related search party costs, but you will not be allowed to enter any future UA events. 


Zero Waste event:

All UA events are zero waste, with less than 1% of the trash produced at the event going to the landfill (and no porta potty chemical sludge being sent to the wastewater treatment facilities.) Please do your part to assist us in this process by placing your trash in the appropriate container. Our aid stations run on solar power, as are the majority of our staging area energy needs.


Lodging / Camping:

The Grand Canyon Ultras and Half are in remote. Lodging is very limited The Kaibab Lodge and the Jacob Lake Inn are the nearest hotels but they are both about an hour drive from the start/finish line.  Once these fill up, the nearest accommodations are in Fredonia, AZ and Kanab, UT, which are approximately 90 minutes from the start/finish line.  The North Rim Lodge is also nearby but is still approximately 1 hr 15 minutes from the start/finish line.

Camping is allowed and encouraged near the start/finish line area. You can reserve a site when you register or later by clicking here. If you are interested in a tent we will also provide one for a small fee. We will have our eco-commodes available to use at the start/finish line. Be advised there are no hookups, running water or electricity camping here. You can also find numerous spots on the forest service land surrounding much of the course with some amazing free camping at each of the overlooks found on the route.

Kaibab Camper Village (which has coin showers and laundry) is near Jacob Lake Campground . The Demotte Campground is located next to the Kaibab Lodge, but does not have hookups. 




Getting here:

It is about 4 hours from Las Vegas to the Big Saddle Water Tank area where the race is staged . This open use area is about 1 mile from the breathtaking Crazy Jug viewpoint.  GPS Coordinates for  Big Saddle are ( 36°26'47.5"N 112°23'36.7"W) .  Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks are within an hour’s drive along this route if you’d like to take some extra time to explore. The approach from Salt Lake City is about 6 hrs and passes very near Bryce Canyon and the east entrance to Zion National Park.  It is about 4 hours from Flagstaff, Arizona and 5.5 hours from Phoenix.


Awards & SHWAG:

Each of our finisher's awards is handmade locally or by Navajo or Tarahumara artisans and each is unique- you can choose the one that speaks to you. 




We hope that you will join us at the finish line for as long as you’d like to welcome home the other finishers.  One of our goals this year is to create a welcoming environment for you to hang out with old and new friends.  



Active at Altitude is the official training partner of the Ultra Adventures Series. Program creator, Terry Chiplin offers free race-specific training programs for the trail half marathon races that are designed for an intermediate level runner who may also be new to trail running. (An intermediate level runner is someone who can already run at least a 10K distance on road or trails, and runs on a regular basis). He also organizes Training Camps, Running Vacations, Endurance Coaching & Positive Race Workshops. He has years of experience and just happens to be one of the nicest guys around.

Terry’s camps consistently receive high marks from participants, with reviews like these:

“Among the top ten adult running camps in the USA”  - CNN, March 2015

“A once-in- a-lifetime fitness retreat for women!” - Shape Magazine, March 2015

Active at Altitude hosts running camps all year long including Women’s Running Camps (June, July, and August), Trail Running Camps (May and September), and Running Vacations in Estes Park, CO!

As an Ultra Adventures/Vacation Races runner you can save $100 on any 2017 women’s camp, use code 2017VR100, and save $50 on one of their trail camps in 2017, use code 2017VR50! (Discounts applicable for any accommodation option available at time of registration.)

We couldn’t be happier to have Active at Altitude as a part of our race series.




Rollover Policy:

If you are unable to attend the race after registering, we are happy to rollover your race credit towards any future Ultra Adventures' event within 2 years of the original race date.  The amount credited will be determined by how much advanced notice you give us, since many costs involved with the race are incurred early.  If you notify us prior to 60 days before the race, you are eligible for a 100% rollover towards any Ultra Adventures event.  If you notify us prior to 30 days before the race- a 75% rollover or will be issued.  If you let us know up to 7 days prior to the event- a 50% rollover can be applied.  Within 7 days of the event- no rollovers will be issued. Any changes to runner registrations will incur a $10 processing fee.




We realize that the races in this series are out of the way for most runners, and it may be the only time that you visit these breathtaking areas. One of our biggest desires at Ultra Adventures is that you walk away from this event having fully experienced what the region has to offer. Even a 100 mile course can only capture a portion of these unique areas. We want you to get into and explore the heart of the national park, walk through that remote slot canyon, see that incredible overlook that is not part of the course. Most often, these spectacular areas are protected as part of a national park, monument, or wilderness area where races are not permitted as part of the management plan. These are often the areas most frequented by tourists, but  are nevertheless places that we feel you must see while you’re visiting. It is our hope that through a more in depth exploration of the area, you will become more connected to the local landscape, thus creating more stakeholders in its preservation. We would love to see your pics and even share them on our social media platforms! If you are ok with this email them to or use #ultraadventuresbucketlist for a chance to be featured.

Grand Canyon region bucketlist:

1) Bill Hall trail- (9 miles)This trailhead is very near the starting line, we run by Monument Point early on in the race.  Take a photo at the Esplanade section and turn around.  Attempting a rim to river trip is not recommended. Bring plenty of water, this trail is exposed. Click here for trail description 

2) North Kaibab trail- (9 miles) Run down to Roaring Springs, take a photo, and back up.  Click here for trail description.

3) Widforss trail- (10 miles) Take picture at the turnaround overlook at mile 5. Click here for trail description

4) Snake Gulch- Perhaps the most dense place for pictographs on earth! For sure the most dense in the Grand Circle. 

***Other amazing options (which can replace any of the above trifecta legs if you'd rather)-

South Canyon- You can take the UPS route (7.5 miles) or the traditional route (13 miles).  Take the photo at the Colorado River.

Rider Canyon- One of my favorite side canyons into the Colorado River, but the approach is long and requires high clearance. 

Rim to Rim(Or R2R2R) This can take the place of all 3 Trifecta challenges if done within a week before or a week after the race.

Kanab Creek Wilderness Area- Lots to explore here, but high mileage to get to the good stuff.  

Toroweap- This is my favorite overlook of the Grand Canyon. It's an amazing section of the park, although difficult to access. But you're as close as you'll ever be to it, so if you have any desire to see it, now's your chance!  Lots of running/hiking options, including a short, steep trip down to the Colorado River via the Lava Falls trail (if it's not too hot.)

-Cape RoyalAlthough this is a short walk, it is so stunning, plan to stay a while. From this 270 degree vista you can see the Colorado River, Vishnu Temple, Wotan Throne, Angel Window Arch, the San Francisco Mountains and many other landforms. 




*** Virtual Maps are being updated. You can still see major parts of the course from the virtual maps below though. 

GC 50 Mile
GC 50K course
GC Half course