march 25, 2017
monument valley 50 mile, 50k, HALF MARATHON, and 4 mile Trail run

***Navajo runners please contact registration@grandcircletrails.com for discount registration***

***The 4 Mile Fun Run is a free event created to promote running within the local community- official times are not published. ***

VIEW THE OFFICIAL RACE GUIDE HERE



2015 Monument Valley Ultras Recap by Van Horn Pictures

Course description:

Situated within the Navajo Nation, Monument Valley boasts amazing formations that reach over 1,000 feet into the sky and draw your gaze in wonderment. You will likely recognize these formations or “monuments” from the hundreds of movies that have been filmed in this desert backdrop over the years. Vibrant colors and dramatic shadows cast along the valley floor will give you a sense of becoming “in tune” with nature, experiencing the same inclusion with the natural world that the Native Americans have practiced for generations. Running becomes less of an activity and more of an intrinsic way in which to absorb the landscape.

Join us at Ultra Adventures to share the experience in this beautiful setting as we wander and wind our way around the majestic towers and entwine Navajo culture into our event, which will leave you with a new understanding and respect for the natural environment and appreciation for the Navajo lifestyle.

Average low temperature: 30 degrees Farenheit

Average high temperature: 60 degrees Farenheit

Course Marking- The courses will be marked with colored sprinkler flags and colored ribbons with silver ribbon (bird tape) attached.  Night markers will have highly reflective tape.  Tricky areas will be more heavily marked than defined single and double track.  Multiple flags are used at junctions.  Critical junctions will have additional signs and flour arrows.  Please note:  certain colored flagging is unique to your distance, please read the descriptions of all courses.  

50 Mile- Start to East Mitten Aid Station (2.5 miles). Section will be marked in PINK. The course follows the Wildcat trail singletrack in a clockwise direction until it meets the double track access road leading to East Mitten Aid station.

East Mitten Aid to 3 Sisters Aid (4.5 miles). Section will be marked in PINK. Course follows washes South and then West until merging with the VALLEY DRIVE road.  Go South (left) on this road.  Road is not flagged.  CONTINUE UP THE ROAD TO THE AID STATION.

Arches Loop (9.5 miles).  Marked in GREEN. From the aid station go EAST.  Course follows a dirt road with a few brief sections of single track.  After the “Cube” formation the course drops down and then follows a sandy double track taking you to views of the Totem Pole and several arches.  Please take a moment and go completely under the Big Hogan arch.  Optional, but worth it.  General direction of the loop is clockwise.  Note: this is a long, sandy section.  Please stock up at the aid station before heading out.  Carry plenty of hydration.

Mitchell Mesa out and back (10 miles).  Marked in BLUE. Section starts with dirt road to sandy single track, then climbs a technical old mining road to the top of the mesa.  After traversing to the East side of the mesa, continue for 1 mile along the edge to the turnaround point and punch your bib.  Note: this is the most technical section of the course, including a 1,500ft climb.

3 Sisters Aid to East Mitten Aid (7 miles). Section will be marked in PINK. Section begins running down Valley Drive road back towards the visitors center for ¼ mile, then takes a sharp right onto singletrack which heads over to the North Window overlook (about a mile) and from there follows what’s known as the “Marlboro Trail” around Cly Butte towards Artist Point but drops and follows a drainage back towards the Valley Drive. The route then follows a drainage that parallels the Valley Drive (staying on the southwest side of Merrick Butte) to the double track access road leading to East Mitten Aid station.

East Mitten Aid to Brigham’s Tomb Aid (7 miles). Section will be marked in PINK. Course will take a dirt road north east to a faint double track and then follows horse trails to a junction. The junction will be well marked. It is then about one mile to the aid station.

Brigham’s Tomb to Finish (9.5 miles). Section will be marked in PINK.  The course will run generally south along horse trails. The course skirts around the stagecoach formation. Follow the course markings to the finish line. Note: There is about 4-5 miles of sand in this section, including a 200 foot climb up a sand dune about half way to the finish line.

50K- Start to 3 Sisters Aid (3.5 miles).  Follow the Valley Drive road South to the aid station.  Road will be signed, but not flagged.  

Arches Loop (9.5 miles).  Marked in GREEN.  From the aid station go EAST.  Course follows a dirt road with a few brief sections of single track.  After the “Cube” formation the course drops down and then follows a sandy double track taking you to views of the Totem Pole and several arches.  Please take a moment and go completely under the Big Hogan arch.  Optional, but worth it.  General direction of the loop is clockwise.  Note: this is a long, sandy section.  Please stock up at the aid station before heading out.  Carry plenty of hydration.

Mitchell Mesa out and back (10 miles).  Marked in BLUE. Section starts with dirt road to sandy single track, then climbs a technical old mining road to the top of the mesa.  After traversing to the East side of the mesa, continue for 1 mile along the edge to the turnaround point.  Note:  this is the most technical section of the course, including a 1,500ft climb.  

3 Sisters Aid to East Mitten Aid (7 miles). Section will be marked in PINK.  Section begins running down Valley Drive road back towards the visitors center for ¼ mile, then takes a sharp right onto singletrack which heads over to the North Window overlook (about a mile) and from there follows what’s known as the “Marlboro Trail” around Cly Butte towards Spearhead Mesa, then drops down before reaching Artist Point and follows a drainage back towards the Valley Drive. The route then follows a drainage that parallels the Valley Drive (staying on the southwest side of Merrick Butte) to the double track access road leading to East Mitten Aid station.

East Mitten Aid to Finish (2.5 miles). Marked in WHITE.  The course follows the double track access road from East Mitten Aid Station until it meets the singletrack Wildcat trail. Follow this all the way to the finish.

Half Marathon- Start to East Mitten Aid Station (3 miles). Marked in YELLOW.  Route starts along the Wildcat Trail singletrack in a counterclockwise direction until it meets the access road to East Mitten Aid station, where it follows a wash around to the aid station.

East Mitten Aid to Sentinel Aid (7 miles). Marked in YELLOW.  After visiting the aid station, return to the Wildcat trail and continue in a counterclockwise direction, following a horse trail up a 200 ft climb to the top of the mesa where the campground and cabins are located. The route then follows a singletrack trail around the large Sentinel Mesa, staying just south of the Big Chief formation to Sentinel Aid Station at mile 10.

Sentinel Aid to Finish (3 miles). Marked in YELLOW.  With all the major climbs now out of the way, the route follows a sometimes sandy horse trail 3 miles to the finish line.

4 Miler- Your course follows the Wildcat trail in a CLOCKWISE direction.

Additional Course Notes- This is an exposed course. Sections may take longer than you expect. Please carry adequate hydration and balance your electrolytes. Consider wearing a hat and light colored clothing.

High wind and blowing dust is a possibility.  Bring sunglasses and a bandana or buff for face protection.

The Valley Drive road will have a lot of traffic.  Again, a bandana or buff helps with the dust.

Although not as sandy as our Antelope Canyon race, this course will have sand.

The 3 Sisters aid station will be congested.  The exits to your loops will be well marked.  Not all of the volunteers will have knowledge of the course, the people doing runner check in or the Aid station captain will.  We will have optional colored wristbands if that would help you remember what loop you are on.  With the loop format and the multiple race distances it is your responsibility to know where you are going.

GETTING OFF COURSE:  If you make an error and find yourself off course.  Please do a 180 and find the spot you got off.  Do not attempt to cut to where you think the course might be, it will only get you more lost.

SIGHTSEEING:  There are many great spots and overlooks that are slightly off course by a couple of yards.  We encourage you to take a moment and enjoy these.  Please use caution on the edge of Mitchell Mesa.  Return to the course where you left it.  

COURSE SWEEPERS:  We make an effort to have sweepers cleaning the course after the last runner.  However, if you know you are near the back of the pack and get off course, make a lot of noise to the sweeper. If a back of the pack runner leaves the course for any reason (to relieve themselves or sightsee), leave something obvious on the trail like your pack or water bottles. You do not want the course markers pulled in front of you.  Keep in mind that if you beat the sweeper to the aid station, it does not mean that you can continue.  The aid station closes at the advertised time regardless of where the sweeper is.

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SCHEDULE:

* Please note that the starting line is on Navajo Nation land which observes Daylight Savings Time.

* All vehicles must pay the Navajo Tribal Park entrance fee of $20.

Friday:

2-7pm: Check in for the 50 miler, 50K, and Half Marathon from 2-7PM at race headquarters, inside Monument Valley Tribal Park  Click here to view map . Headquarters , Parking, and Check-In will be in the dirt area directly west of the large parking area of The View Hotel. 

5:30pm: Local Navajo speakers/performers and evening prayer ceremony

6:30pm- Course Overview Meeting (optional)

Saturday:

6am- Last minute check-ins

6:45am- Morning Prayer Ceremony led by Andre Haycoch

7am- 50 mile and 50K races start 

8am- Half Marathon race starts (red wave)

8:15am- Half Marathon race starts (green wave)

9am- 4 mile race starts

Sunday:

11am-2pm- Sweat lodge ceremony at the 3 Sisters (Aid Station)

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TIME CUTOFFS:

50 mile, Overall cutoff- 15 hours

55K, Overall cutoff- 11 hours 

Half Marathon cutoff- 4 hours

Click here to view cutoff times:  

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AID STATION INFO:

Please review the Aid Station Document found HERE for drop bag information.  You must also follow the guidelines listed below: 

-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.  Trying to label your bags on race morning is not a good idea.  It is often dark and busy. 

-All drop bags must be left in designated drop off location by 7PM the night before race day.

-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.

Getting your drop bag back:  Generally all bags come back about 1 hour after the aid station closes.  There will be a "Return to Start Line" area where you can place your drop bag after you no longer need it and we will try to get it back early if possible. You must place the bag in this area, Crew or volunteers cannot sort through them in order to reduce the risk of a drop bag inadvertently being returned to the start line.


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, tortillas w/ Nutella, 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.   

At night 3 Sisters aid station will have different warm food items such as broth (vegan), ramen noodles, rice/bean/cheese/salsa burritos, grilled cheese, quesadillas.

The Navajo families that own the hogans that we use for the aid stations will be preparing traditional Navajo food such as blue corn mush, mutton stew, veggie stew and fry bread for runners.

 

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PACERS & CREW:

For Crew Access Information review the Pacers & Crew Document found HERE  

Pacers are allowed after mile 33.5 for the 50 miler.

Pacers are allowed after mile 23 for the 50K.

Click here for driving directions to the starting line

Click here for driving directions to 3 Sisters Hogan Aid Station

Click here for driving directions to East Mitten Aid Station

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.)  

 

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RULES AND GUIDELINES

For course marking, we use flags that are color coordinated. Each distance has a different color.  

Please check the 2017 Monument Valley Detailed Course Descriptions and Marking Plan Found Here.

It is very important that you attend the pre race meeting for further information about course markings. Any tricky junctions will be marked well with signs and flour arrows. 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 responsible for all related search party costs, but you will not be allowed to enter any future UA events. 

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ZERO WASTE EVENT:

All UA events are zero waste, with less than 1% of the trash produced at the event going to the landfill. We have created a system that recycles/reuses everything. We also use composting toilets which conserve water, eliminate the use of harmful chemicals, and create a nutrient rich soil amenity. Our aid stations run on solar power. Please place trash in the appropriate containers. Littering on the course will result in disqualification.

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LODGING / CAMPING:

Goulding's Lodge: Welcome! We invite you to relax on your own private balcony and savor the spectacular views of Monument Valley, including Eagle Mesa, Brigham’s Tomb, King On His Throne and Stagecoach, just to name a few.

After the sun has set on another perfect day, get cozy in one of our 63 main lodge rooms, each of which includes a flat-screen with over 200 channels, mini refrigerator, Keurig coffee maker and much more. Better yet, you and your guests may enjoy one of our larger suites or houses. All of these units have at least two bedrooms, a private bath, a living room and a fully equipped kitchen. This is perfect for those with larger groups or extended stays.

However you choose to stay with us, we are happy to provide discounted lodging rates for all runners and their guests. To redeem discounted room and lodging rates, please call 435-727-3231 and be sure to mention that you’re running the Monument Valley Ultra Marathon and provide them with the promo code: MVRace. Be sure to check out our website to see photos of our lodging options. We look forward to serving you and welcome to Monument Valley, Utah!

Due to the remote location of our property, Goulding’s Lodge is not able to provide high-speed internet access at this time. Please understand that you may experience very slow internet speeds which may not support your personal or business needs.

The Monument Valley Tipi Village: Located one mile west of the Monument Valley Welcome Center, and 4 miles west of the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Monument Valley Tipi Village is the perfect place to stay while in town. Our secluded quarters include a contemporary Hogan – or our five teepees that are masterfully constructed, durably carpeted and include camp beds with linens and blankets, a table and a lamp. We welcome runners to Monument Valley and would love to extend a 10% discount for booking with us. Mention “Monument Valley Ultra 10% discount” to redeem this special rate. Call 435-727-5804 or visit www.monumentvalley-tipivillage.com.

Kayenta Monument Valley Inn: Welcome to the eighth wonder of the world Monument Valley. You have seen the awe-inspiring views in many famous movies such as “Stagecoach”, “Forest Gump”, & “Back to the Future III” and more. Located on the largest Indian Reservation in the United States, The Kayenta Monument Valley Inn offers wireless high-speed internet access, cable television with Pay Per View, an onsite health and fitness facility, seasonal heated outdoor pool, and a full-service restaurant featuring both authentic Native American cuisine and traditional American Dining! Reserve your room today by calling 866.306.5458 and mention the Monument Valley Ultra Marathon! 

OTHER LODGING OPTIONS

The nearest option for lodging is The View hotel. Not only are the views here unparalleled, but the staging area for the event is within walking distance.  Rooms and cabins book fast, so make your reservations early. Campsites (including showers) are available here as well. If you book anything at the View you will experience a sunrise unlike any other on earth.

If traveling from the north, Mexican Hat offers lodging options and is just 20 minutes away. Here are the 3 hotels in Mexican Hat:
San Juan Inn
Hat Rock Inn
Canyonlands Motel (Mexican Hat)- (435) 683-2230

If traveling from the south, Kayenta is also 20 minutes from the starting line and also has 3 hotels:
Hampton Inn Kayenta
Wetherill Inn
Canyon Inn Motel: (928) 697-8248

Goulding's Campground offers hot showers, wifi, and a pool for $23/night.  

Dineh Trailrides is offering unimproved camping next to the Hogan Aid Station for $15/night.

TOURS

Goulding's Monument Valley Tours: Goulding’s Tours offers a variety of tours of Monument Valley Tribal Park. You will enjoy fascinating geological and historical information pertaining to this amazing area also known as the “Land of Long Shadows”.

All of our guides are local Navajos that grew up in and around the Monument Valley area. During the tours, they will share interesting facts about the valley and its areas of interest. They are proud of their heritage, and love sharing stories about their culture and history.

During your tour, you will have the opportunity to stop and gaze at the panorama where John Ford, John Wayne, and countless other historical figures of the Southwest have left their footprints. Goulding’s Tours is happy to offer runners 10% tour bookings with the mention of the Monument Valley Ultra Marathon. We hope to see you!

Roy Black's Guided ToursOwned by a Navajo American Indian who resides on the Navajo Reservation in Northeastern Arizona, Roy Black’s Guided Tours is well-known worldwide for his jeep and horseback tours of Monument Valley. We would be honored to have you join one of our tours. Happy travels, happy running and may your journey include a stop at Monument Valley Tribal Park!

RESTAURANTS

Goulding's Stagecoach Restaurant: Goulding’s Stagecoach Restaurant in Monument Valley offers a spectacular, panoramic view of one of Mother Nature’s unique creations. Located at the site of many of the classic western movies, enjoy a meal overlooking the historic Goulding’s Trading Post and the same vista that John Wayne, John Ford and Henry Fonda made famous.

Our dining room is staffed by local Navajos. Experience the grace and culture of this Southwestern Native American people while enjoying a traditional Navajo Taco, or Beef Stew with Navajo Frybread. We offer Navajo and American Southwestern cuisine in a historical, awe-inspiring setting. We are happy to offer runners 10% off their meal when you mention you’re in town for the race. We hope you enjoy your stay in Monument Valley, Utah!

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GETTING HERE:

Are you ready to see some beautiful country? It is about 6 hours from Phoenix to Monument Valley, but a quick side trip to the Grand Canyon half way along the route might make traveling this route worth your time.

The approach from Salt Lake City is about 6 hrs 45 min but the route passes through Moab, Arches, and Canyonlands about half way through the trip.  A 7 hour drive from Las Vegas takes runners near Zion and Bryce Canyon national parks as well as the Grand Staircase National Monument and Lake Powell.

Albuquerque, NM is just over 5 hours away.

An 8 hour drive from Denver would take you over the Rocky Mountains and through Moab, Arches, Canyonlands, and Mexican Hat. Looping back through Mesa Verde National Park and through the San Juan mountains would make for one of the most scenic road trips ever.

Race headquarters, parking, check-in and the start finish line are all in the large dirt area directly west of the parking lot of the View Hotel in Monument Valley. 

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AWARDS & SHWAG:

The finishers’ award for the 50 miler is a hand crafted medallion using organic materials gathered on the course and preserved in resin. The 50K award is a hand made coffee mug and for the Half Marathon is a piece of Navajo jewelry, created specifically for this event by a local family.  Each of our awards is unique- you can choose the one that speaks to you.  Special awards will be given to the top 3 overall male and female finishers for each distance as well.

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FINISH LINE:

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.  To make this possible, we will have the following amenities present at the finish line to keep you comfortable- shade, seating, Navajo tacos, heated tents, drinks, and recovery tent. 

Join us on Sunday for a special sweat lodge ceremony at the Hogan aid station at 10am. Do not miss this opportunity, it is a chance of a lifetime and an experience that you will never forget. A $10 donation is requested for the Navajo elder conducting the ceremony.

**Please be aware that alcohol is not permitted on the Navajo reservation. Bring non-acoholic beverages only for this event please.

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photos

VIDEOS:

2015

2015 Monument Valley Race Recap by Van Horn Pictures

RACE REPORTS:

2016:

http://ninasilitch.com/2016/04/01/monument-valley-50km-grand-circle-trails-in-beauty-may-i-run-a-navajo-prayer/

http://adrainrunning.blogspot.com/2016/04/monument-valley-50-2016.html

https://keenarunnergirl.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/monument-valley/

http://runkat.com/wordpress/?p=511

https://rebeltart.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/monument-valley-50-mile-race-report/

http://www.professorontherun.com/?p=1518

 

2015:

http://adrainrunning.blogspot.com/2015/03/monument-valley-100.htm

http://ievenranthisfar.tumblr.com/post/113990988946/race-report-the-magnificent-monument-valley-50

http://www.fastcory.com/2015/03/monument-valley-50-race-report-2015.html

http://happyplacetrails.blogspot.com/2015/03/majestic-monument-valley-50-k-and-more.html?spref=fb

http://www.slippingslowlyintopain.com/2015/03/monument-valley-100.html

http://nbthemountains.blogspot.com/2015/03/monument-valley-ultra.html

http://captainchas.com/2015/03/13/navajo-nation-welcomes-ultra-adventures-runners/

http://www.fastcory.com/2015/03/monument-valley-trifecta-kane-gulch.htm

http://wallaceterrycjr.com/2015/03/15/tse-bii%CA%BC-ndzisgaii-a-trail-run-in-the-valley-of-the-rocks-with-a-nod-to-john-wayne/

https://trailbrat.wordpress.com/2015/03/21/monument-valley-100/

http://endorphins-for-breakfast.blogspot.com/2015/03/monument-valley-50-miler.html

http://durangorunningco.blogspot.com/2015/03/mv-50k-race-report.html


https://activeharmony.wordpress.com/2015/03/28/race-recap-the-monument-valley-50/

http://blog.redrocksandbeyond.com/2015/03/monument-valley-ultra-50-miles-of.html

http://www.runfrommonkeys.com/monument-valley-100-race-in-the-acme-film-set/

http://endurancetourist.com/2015/04/15/race-review-2015-ua-monument-valley-100/

 

2014

Click here to read the event write up in Trail Runner magazine

Click here to read John Medinger’s review of the race in Ultrarunning Magazine

http://0381eeb.netsolhost.com/WordPress/2014/03/15/monument-valley-50k/

http://coffeemoneyrunning.blogspot.com/2014/03/monument-valley-50-race-report.html

https://www.runningahead.com/groups/MastRun/forum/27c3004ef8eb43e19bdfc43d6cd7b039

http://rachaelstclaire.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/monument-valley-50-mile/

http://stepoutdoorscolorado.com/hiking/tribe-post-reflective-notes-monument-valley-50/

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deferment POLICY:

If you are unable to attend the race after registering, you may defer your race registration toward any future Ultra Adventures event. The amount paid during registration will defer to a future race:
-A 100% credit will occur for a deferment done up to 60 days before the original race.
-A 75% credit will occur for a deferment done up to 30 days before the original race.
-A 50% credit will occur for a deferment done up to 7 days before the original race.
-Within 6 days of the event you will no longer be able to defer your registration.

Click here for directions on how to defer a registration

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THE GRAND CIRCLE TRAIL SERIES places to see challenge

 

THE MONUMENT VALLEY Bucketlist:

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 m.anderson@grandcircletrails.com or use #ultraadventuresbucketlist for a chance to be featured.

Here is our list of favorite trails in the surrounding area:

1Grand Gulch Primitive Area- Don’t miss this one.  You can use either Kane Gulch or Bullet Canyon  to access Grand Gulch. Kane Gulch is 10 miles round trip if you go a mile past the Grand Gulch junction to Stimper Arch and Turkey Pen Ruin. Bullet Canyon is 10 miles round trip if you turn around at Jailhouse and Perfect Kiva ruins. It's a bit more technical than Kane Gulch but the ruins are incredible. Pay BLM day use fee ($2) at trailhead or BLM office.

2) Natural Bridges National Monument (loop trail-8.7 miles)-  Run the loop trail which goes by all 3 natural bridges, or do three separate out-and-back runs to the bridges if you prefer to do it that way.  Click here for trail descriptionDon't miss Horsecollar ruins and the Handprint Pictographs found along the trail in between Sipapu and Kachina Natural Bridges. Also, Take Hwy 261 (Just north of Mexican Hat) to Hwy 95 despite what your navigating device tells you- much more scenic and a more direct route.

3) Honaker Trail: (5 miles- a little-known trail in Goosenecks state park)- Take a photo when you reach the San Juan river, if you're lucky enough to find the route to get down there. The trailhead is a bit tricky to find for this one. Click here for a map that will get you to the trailhead. Take the 163 N past Mexican Hat, then turn left on the 261 for just under a mile. Turn left on the 316 towards Goosenecks State park, but instead of going out to the overlooks, take a right onto a dirt road (#244) about a half mile from the 261/316 junction. After about 2.5 miles on the dirt road, you'll see an old water tank on your left. This is where you'll park unless you have a higher clearance vehicle. (The sign mentioned in the trail description has been taken down.) Follow the faint, sandy doubletrack road for a mile and a half then stay left as it T's with another double track near the rim of the canyon.  After a quarter mile, take a right at the cairne and follow this double track a few hundred yards to the canyon edge. The huge cairne pile indicates where the Honaker trail begins.  Click here for trail description. While the trailhead is a real pain to get to, the trail down to the river more than makes up for it and is totally worth the effort.

***Other amazing options (which can replace any of the above trifecta legs if you prefer to try one of these instead)-

Mexican Hat/Goosenecks State Park Overlook/Muley Point Overlook/Valley of the Gods Scenic Drive- If you're not in the mood to run/hike, you can take one of the most scenic drives on the planet and take a photo at each of these landmarks instead. *** Muley Point is one of my favorite camping spots (no facilities) and is guaranteed to provide you with one of the most beautiful sunrises/sunsets you'll ever see. 

Moon House Ruin Amazing ruins near the Grand Gulch BLM office.  Special permit required, only 20 people per day are allowed to visit. Take photo at the ruins.  The trail is 3 miles round trip.

- Canyon de Chelly: Only 2 hours from Monument Valley, it would be a shame to miss this national monument.  There is only one hiking trail into the canyon that tourists are allowed on without a Navajo guide, the White House Ruin trail.  Take a photo from the ruins at the bottom of the canyon.  The trail is 2.5 miles round trip.

4 Corners Monument- The only place in the U.S. that you can be in 4 states at once.  1.5 hours from Monument Valley. Take a quad-state picture and send it in.

- Mesa Verde National Park- At 2 hours 15 minutes from Monument Valley, why not go visit this amazing national park?  Take a picture in front of the Spruce Tree House ruins

- Rafting or kayaking the San Juan river.  Fast moving water allows you to float this 26 mile stretch in just one day, while stopping to see two remote ruin sites and icing the legs along the way :)  Cost is $175 for the one day trip between Bluff and Mexican Hat (and well worth it IMO) or you can float it w your own equipment. Take picture anywhere along the river.

Hovenweep National Monument- About an hour and a half drive from Monument Valley to these amazing ruins.  Take a photo at in front of the Square Tower ruins.  

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Monument Valley 50 Mile

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Monument valley 50k

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Monument Valley Half marathon


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