Saturday, November 5, 2016 • Grand Junction, CO • Course Map
Get ready for a stunning – and all-downhill – half marathon at this fall’s U.S. Bank Rim Rock Marathon & Half Marathon, which is set to make its 4th annual running this year but just its first with the 13.1-mile race distance.
The race takes place inside Colorado National Monument, whose stunning multi-colored rock formations and canyon walls span more than 20,000 acres near Colorado’s border with Utah.
Named for the Colorado River that cuts through the region, the park is known for the gorgeous views drivers, cyclists and runners get to take in along Rim Rock Drive, the sole paved road through the park, which starts in nearby Grand Junction and winds uphill and downhill through the park’s canyons, all the way to where runners will cross the finish line for the race in Fruita.
For those running the half marathon – which organizers point out may not be exactly equal to 13.1 miles, as the course isn’t certified, though they promise it will be close – the race will start at Highland View, a pull-off point along Rim Rock Drive that’s at roughly the half-way point of the full marathon.
From there, you’ll begin what is nearly an all-downhill run through Artists Point, the Coke Ovens Overlook, Monument Canyon and Lizard Canyon, all the way through the west entrance of the park and to the finish line in Fruita, in front of Circle Park.
Along the way, you’ll drop from an elevation of roughly 6,500 feet above sea level to just over 4,400 feet at the lowest point of the race; the finish line lies at just a hair above 4,500 feet.
Thanks to the downhill route, you’ll be able to take it all in as you make your descent from Highland View into Fruita, as the second half of the race takes you into very twisty and windy sections of the park. Don’t be surprised if you see some of its plentiful wildlife, including coyotes, desert bighorn sheep, golden eagles and red-tailed hawks.
Race Weather & Climate
Located high in the mountains above Grand Junction, along Colorado’s western border, Colorado National Monument typically sees cool and very dry weather this time of year. With elevations ranging between 4,000 and 7,000 feet, the park’s climate is that of a semi-desert or upland region, the National Park Service notes.
On race day (Nov. 5), the average low is 26ºF and the average high is 58ºF.
- 8:00 AM – full marathon, relay
- 9:00 AM – half marathon
- $55 – $85 for the half marathon
- $70 – $100 for the full marathon
- $125 – $185 for the marathon relay
- Add $5 for Colorado National Monument entrance fee
To reserve your spot in the fall 2016 running of Colorado’s Rim Rock Marathon, Relay or Half Marathon race, register online at RaceRoster.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Rim Rock Marathon or Half? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.