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

***Navajo runners please contact 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. ***

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

Click here to view a Google Earth Flyover Video of each of the routes


50 Mile- This route starts off by heading into the North Valley an area where few tourists are able to see without a Navajo guide, then over to the 3 Sisters Aid Station, where it links into the 50K route.  You'll do the North Window and Arches loops before heading up onto Mitchell Mesa, then back to the finish line.

50K- The route starts on the Valley Drive road  where you will witness a sunrise that will be permanently etched in your memory.  After about 3.7 miles  you’ll arrive at the 3 Sisters aid station for the first time, located at the parking area of the Dineh Trailrides horse corrals. The next leg of the course will have you following horse trails around the towering formations of Monument Valley before looping back to the aid station again at approximately mile 8.  From here you’ll head out on a 9.5 mile journey through the desert which will take you by several remote, seldom-seen, jaw dropping formations in areas of the park that are only accessible with Navajo guides.  Our group Navajo guides will be covering the trails by horseback to help ensure that you remain on the appropriate path. After returning to the 3 Sisters Aid station for the 3rd time  you can regroup before embarking on the daunting 1,500ft climb up onto Mitchell Mesa, an area seldom seen since it was mined for uranium.  The turnaround at the top of the mesa will offer life changing views that you have earned by pushing through the crux of the course.  After returning to the aid station at the horse corrals, 50k runners will take the Valley  Drive  back to the starting line.

Half Marathon- This run starts out along the Wildcat trail single track around the backside of the West Mitten following roads to the 3 Sisters Aid Station. Runners will do a 4.5 mile loop following horse trails between the landforms of Monument Valley after a second pass through 3 Sisters Aid Station runners follow Valley Drive back to the finish line.   

4 Miler- The 4 mile route runs the Wildcat Trail Loop.




* 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.


2-8pm: Check in for the 50 miler, 50K, and Half Marathonfrom 2-8PM 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)


6am- Last minute checkins

6:45- Morning Navajo Prayer Ceremony

7am- 50 mile and 50K races start 

8am- Half Marathon race starts

9am- 4 mile race starts


10am-1pm- Sweat lodge ceremony at the 3 Sisters Aid Station 



50 mile, Overall cutoff- 15 hours

55K, Overall cutoff- 11 hours 

Half Marathon cutoff- 4 hours

Click here to view cutoff times:  



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 8PM 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.




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

Pacers are allowed after mile 36.5 for the 50 miler.

Click here for driving directions to the starting line

Click here for driving directions to 3 Sisters Hogan 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.)  




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. 



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.



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. 

Goulding's Lodge is the next best option and is just 4 miles west from the park entrance, tucked up against the cliffs.  They also will sell out, so book early. Goulding's is also offering runners and their families a 10% discount off at the delicious restaurant found on their property and also 10% of any of their tours. Check them out here.

The Monument Valley Tipi Village-A short drive to the start line. The MVTP has offered runners a 10% discount off lodging. Just mention the "Monument Valley Ultras 10% discount. 

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.



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. 



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.



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.





2015 Monument Valley Race Recap by Van Horn Pictures







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



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.


THE GRAND CIRCLE TRAIL SERIES places to see challenge



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.

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.   

- For any climbers out there that have the gear to do it, you could climb on top of the Mexican Hat formation and take a photo from up there as part of your Trifecta Challenge.  

***Race credit must be redeemed within one year from the race date and the amount credited is based on the amount that you paid for the event that you participated in- (ie. for a $100 registration fee you would earn $10 credit for each leg of the Trifecta, for a $200 registration fee, you would earn $20 credit for each Trifecta leg completed).

A look at some of the trails included in the Grand Circle Trifecta Challenge. We will extend the video as we get more footage coming in...


Monument Valley 50 Mile

2017 Monument Valley 50 Mile Course.jpg

Monument valley 50k

2017 Monument Valley 50K Course.jpg

Monument Valley Half marathon