Looking for the best half marathons in the US to run in 2023?
Once both of those are figured out, our list will do the rest of the work for you.
Las Vegas, Nev. | Saturday, January 21, 2023
Set in the sands of Nevada’s Mojave Desert and surrounded by mountains, the course for this race unfolds through the 179,000-acre Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, where you’ll take in just about every hue of red, orange and burnt earth colors surround you as you run along the Scenic Canyon Road. The park, which is home to majestic red sandstone formations, sheer 1,800-ft. cliffs and several mountains, features a paved route for the entire race — it starts at 3,880 feet above sea level and reaches a peak of 4,771 feet around the half-way point, before descending again in the second half. Red Rock Canyon is often sited as one of the best half marathons in the US.
$100 and up | Sign up here
Seminole Canyon State Park, Texas | Saturday, February 25, 2023
The second in a series of eight running events throughout the year known as the Texas Trail Running Eco Series — which take runners to far-flung places around the state like the hills of Palo Pinto Mountains State Park and the beaches of Mustang Island — this race unfolds along a combination of single-track trails and backcountry jeep roads deep in the Chihuahuan Desert. You’ll run just a few miles from the U.S. border with Mexico and get to take in some truly spectacular views of Seminole Canyon and the waters of the Rio Grande during the race — and if you’re up for it, the race also hosts a full marathon and even a 50-miler.
$90 and up | Sign up here
Fruita, Colo. | Sunday, April 14-16, 2023
A stunningly beautiful run through the high desert country of western Colorado, along parts of the 142-mile-long Kokopelli Trail, a mecca for backpackers and mountain bikers that stretches between Fruita and Moab, Utah. You’ll run at elevations between about 4,000 and 5,400 feet above sea level during the half marathon, which starts near the northern edge of the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area, and from there heads up onto the Kokopelli, offering up panoramic views of canyons and mesas as well as the winding Colorado River below.
$110 and up | Sign up here
Tucson, AZ | Saturday, February 18, 2023
If you’re a fan of Westerns, you’ll recognize this area from your favorite gunslinger films. The Sonoran Desert is home to the Old Tucson Studios – the filming location for Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Three Amigos! and El Dorado. Throughout the Saguaro Half Marathon course, you’ll run through the gentle, cactus-lined streets of Old Tucson, the Sonoran Desert, and the lush desert brush trails of the Golden Gate Trail. The race embodies all the natural beauty the southwest has to offer and has been ranked as one of the best half marathons in the US.
$85 and up | Sign up here
Ithaca, N.Y. | Saturday, June 11, 2023
A land filled with forests, rail trails, lakeside stretches and plentiful waterfalls — that’s what awaits runners here in Upstate New York at the Gorges Ithaca Half Marathon, which makes its 4th annual running this summer on a course organizers describe as “one of the fastest and most scenic half marathons you’ll ever run. Period.” The point-to-point route for the race begins along Dubois Road in the nearby town of Ulysses, which if you’ve read your Homer you will recognize as the Latin name for Odysseus — the hero of the epic poem The Odyssey — who hails from the Greek island of Ithaca and it’s there he spent the entire story trying to get back.
$90 and up | Sign up here
Mill Valley, Calif. | Sunday, June 11, 2023
If there ever were a bucket list race, this jaw-droppingly beautiful yet treacherously grueling race through the forests of Mt. Tamalpais State Park just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco — which the New York Times called a “topographically schizophrenic romp” — is it. At just 7.4 miles, the distance is misleading; from the starting line in Mill Valley, you’ll climb dizzyingly steep trails through the woods, only to make a dramatic plunge toward the Pacific later in the race. Its past winners, too, are something of a head-scratcher — everyone from an 8-year-old girl to a 72-year-old man have been crowned its champion over the years.
$90 for adults, $60 for children under 16 | How to enter
Interlaken, Switzerland | Saturday, September 8, 2023
Billed by its race organizers as “the most beautiful marathon in the world,” this race takes runners on a jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring tour of the mountains that lead up to one of the most stunning peaks in the Swiss Alps. From the starting line in Interlaken, a resort town that lies on a stretch of land between a pair of lakes, the route climbs nearly 5,000 feet by the time you reach the finish line, at the Kleine Scheidegg railway station — where you’ll catch the train back down to Interaken.
TBD | Sign up here
Bar Harbor, Maine | Saturday, September 16, 2023
A stunning run through Maine’s Acadia National Park, the only race of its kind that actually runs through the grounds of a U.S. national park, and takes place at a time when the autumn leaves are turning brilliant shades of orange, red and gold. Most of the race unfolds along the 47,000-acre park’s carriage roads, built by the philanthropist John D. Rockefeller between 1913 and 1940 to offer a way for “city-folk” to escape the urban jungle to get away to the park’s seashores, forests and lakes. Today they’re filled year-round with walkers, hikers, bicycles and horse-drawn carriages — but no cars.
$115 and up | Sign up here
Torres del Paine National Park, Chile | Saturday, September 9, 2023
Ok, this is not one of the best half marathons in the US because, well, it’s in Chile. See mountains, rivers, lakes and glaciers as you run the hills and trails of Chile’s Torres del Plaine National Park at this stunningly gorgeous and challenging race that runs in the early spring — which begins in September in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll run near the southern tip of South America, more than 150 miles from the nearest city, among one of the planet’s most pristine environments. As the organizers say, you’ll get to experience “the magic of running in Patagonia, together with runners from around the world and the adventure of confronting a restless, and sometimes even hostile, climate.”