The 2015 Monument Valley Trifecta will be:
1) Grand 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 description. Don'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 one photo from a Goosenecks overlook and one when you reach the San Juan river. 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 overlook, 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 but are not required due to price and/or distance):
- 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.
Trifecta Rules: To get credit for completing a leg of the Trifecta, you must submit a picture from each of the required locations of that particular leg of the Trifecta. There is a two week window in which these pictures can be submitted- between one week prior to the event date until one week after the event has taken place. Any pictures submitted before or after this time window will not be accepted. You can take the picture on a pre-race scouting trip if you'd like, but it must be submitted within the appropriate time window. Pictures must include:
1) A clear view of your face (Now you've got a perfect excuse to take selfies and don't have to feel any shame about it :)
2) A clear view of your bib # or a paper with your name written on it.
Pictures can be submitted in either of these two formats:
1) Instagram- Use the appropriate hashtag for the Trifecta that you're participating in (#AntelopeCanyonTrifecta, #MonumentValleyTrifecta, #ZionTrifecta, #GrandCanyonTrifecta, #BryceTrifecta, #CapitolReefTrifecta, #TusharTrifecta)
2) Email the picture to firstname.lastname@example.org
For each of the 3 “legs” of the Trifecta that you complete, you will receive 10% discount credited towards the next Ultra Adventures event that you participate in! Complete all three legs of the Trifecta and you have earned yourself 30% off of the next event! These discounts can also be accumulated, so after 3 events, you can earn 90% off of the 4th event just for getting out and doing what you love!!
***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).