13.1 Scenic Half Marathons Across the Southwest

13.1 Scenic Half Marathons Across the Southwest U.S.

© Mikhail Dudarev | Dreamstime.com

“For every runner who tours the world running marathons, there are thousands who run to hear the leaves and listen to the rain, and look to the day when it is suddenly as easy as a bird in flight.” — George Sheehan


1) Hoover Dam Half Marathon • Boulder City, NV

The desert landscape of southern Nevada — combined with majestic views of one of the most awe-inspiring man-made structures anywhere in the world — are both on display at this late fall race, which unfolds along a combination of paved roads and portions of the River Mountains Loop Trail. You’ll also run through a series of small tunnels along the trails, which were used in the 1930s to ferry men and materials back and forth between the Hoover Dam and nearby Boulder City. The dam’s distinctive pale curved arch will be visible as you approach it from the Nevada side (you’ll be looking over into Arizona once you get there), taking a series of switchback trails up to the overlook — one of the most stunning sights anywhere in the country.

Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021 • Race info & signup »

2) Sedona Half Marathon • Sedona, AZ

Dramatic landscapes and gorgeous scenery await the more than 2,000 runners who take part each year in this challenging, hilly, high-elevation race, which takes participants through the heart of central Arizona’s red rock spires and mountain valleys.

Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 • Race info & signup »

3) Lost Dutchman Half Marathon • Apache Junction, AZ

A beautifully scenic and challenging race that has won raves from publications like Runner’s World in years past, this race offers a rugged desert course with mountains towering over you from all around, and a far smaller field of participants than bigger-city races.

Sunday, Feb. 20, 2022 • Race info & signup »

4) St. Patrick’s Day Hoover Dam Half Marathon • Boulder City, NV

Combine a run through a desert-like environment, the crystal-blue waters of Nevada’s Lake Mead nearby and the majestic Hoover Dam in the distance, along a mountainous trail road through the hills of Lake Mead National Recreational Area. That’s what you get at this race, named for the tunnels along the converted railroad track to and from the Dam (you’ll actually travel through the tunnels), which long ago served as an access route for train cars and trucks hauling supplies to Hoover Dam. Thanks to its original construction, the route offers largely smooth, gradual inclines and declines, though there are a few big climbs on the route.

Saturday, March 12, 2022 • Race info & signup »

5) Revel Mt. Charleston Half Marathon • Las Vegas, NV

Runners follow a fast, stunningly scenic and all-downhill course at this race, which starts in Kyle Canyon just outside the city and finishes at Centennial Hills Park in Las Vegas. You’ll start at an elevation of about 4,600 feet and descend to just over 2,400 feet by the time you reach the finish line.

Saturday, April 2, 2022 • Race info & signup »

6) Shiprock Half Marathon • Shiprock, NM

Spectacular scenery of the variety seen in car commercials and movies from “Thelma & Louise” to “Rain Man” is what runners experience along the point-to-point course of this race, named for the 1,800-ft. volcanic rock formation by the same name that is visible from most of the route.

May • Race info & signup »

7) Utah Valley Half Marathon • Provo, UT

The green natural beauty of the Utah Valley, which has been the home over the centuries to Native Americans, Spanish explorers, rugged mountaineers and even U.S. troops back in the mid-1800s, serves as the setting for the long, sloping downhill route at this race, which features some of the Beehive State’s most spectacular natural beauty.

Saturday, June 4, 2022 • Race info & signup »

8) Bryce Canyon Half Marathon • Bryce, UT

This fast, scenic race that takes you through Utah’s spectacular Bryce Canyon National Park, a geologic wonder that lures visitors from around the world with its incredible red rock formations, stunning views of amphitheater-like canyons like Inspiration Point, and wide-open skies.

July • Race info & signup »

9) Timpanogos Half Marathon • American Fork, UT

Seven miles of running along the highway that winds through Utah’s scenic American Fork Canyon, followed by miles along residential streets as well as along biking and jogging paths through wooded parks — that’s what you’ll see after you leave the starting line at the Tibble Fork Reservoir, which lies at just over 6,400 feet above sea level in the Wasatch Mountains.

Saturday, July 30, 2022 • Race info & signup »

10) Red River High Mountain Half Marathon • Red River, NM

When you run the long, gradual uphill climb that serves as the half marathon route, you’ll see why so many skiing and snowboarding enthusiasts make the trip here every winter and hikers, mountain bikers, golfers and fishermen trek here in the summer — it’s one of the most beautifully scenic mountain resort towns anywhere in the Southwest.

August • Race info & signup »

11) E.T. Full Moon Midnight Half Marathon •  Rachel, NV

When we say there’s no other race like this one in the country, we really mean it. Run in this tiny town about two and a half hours north of Las Vegas, this race welcomes hundreds of runners each year for a midnight run through the desert along what is rumored to be some of the most active hotbeds of “extraterrestrial” activity anywhere in the U.S.

Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022 • Race info & signup »

12) Crimson Canyons Half Marathon • Richfield, UT

Get ready for a run through the canyon country of southern Utah, a region known as “Panoramaland” for its stunning scenery of red rock formations, canyons and mountains, at this race whose half marathon is actually 13.4 miles and which also features a 50-mile and 50K race.

September • Race info & signup »

13) Lake Powell Half Marathon • Page, AZ

If you love the desert, this race offers panoramic, breathtaking views within the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, along a point-to-point route between Page and the Utah-Arizona border, overlooking the lake. You’ll descend about 600 feet between the start and the finish line at the marina on the lake.

October • Race info & signup »

13.1) Twilight Red Rock Half Marathon • Las Vegas, NV

Lying just outside the city but still a world removed from the pulsating neon lights, glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas Strip, the Calico Hills of Nevada’s Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area beckon the hundreds of runners who make their way out here each year to run this nighttime race.

October • Race info & signup »

1 comment… add one
  • Sandra Rinderer May 7, 2021, 4:06 am

    love half marathons

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