Fear the Deer Half Marathon

Saturday, May 19, 2018 • Littleton, CO • Course Map

Long ago a campground for nomadic Native American tribes like the Arapahoe and the Ute, what is today known as Deer Creek Canyon Park in central Colorado just south of Denver serves as the setting for the Fear the Deer Trail Half Marathon, which takes runners on a rocky, hilly and challenging 13.1-mile run that features about 2,800 feet of elevation gain.

Runners start the out-and-back loop course for the race in the parking lot for the 1,881-acre park just off Grizzly Drive, which lies about a 20-minute drive from nearby Littleton.

From the race starting line, runners then make their way through the parking lot and shortly thereafter onto the park’s multi-use Plymouth Creek Trail, which gains more than 1,300 feet over its 2.4 miles filled with a combination of lush, green stretches as well as rocky areas.

Next, once the reach the top of the Plymouth trail, the next stretch takes runners onto the Homesteader Trail, a forested trail under the older-growth tree canopy that features fewer hills, allowing runners to catch their breath.

This stretch of the race lasts only about a mile, however, as next runners turn onto the Red Mesa Loop, a 2 1/2-mile-long trail that features gorgeous views of the canyon below as well as the forests all around.

The uphills are definitely steep and challenging — as the race organizers put it in their description of the race, “come on, there is over 2800 feet to gain so you should be ready for it by now” — but the stretch of the trail after the Red Mesa Loop features plenty of downhills (or as they put it, “quad bustin’ downhills”). The scenic loop around the mile 6 marker features some of the race’s best views, but you’ve gotta work for them.

After runners have passed the mid-way point of the race, most of the rest of the course is downhill. There’s a final tough uphill around mile 8 back on the Plymouth Creek trail, but from there on it’s nearly all downhill as runners make their way through the park northward back to where they started.

There’s a final uphill around mile 10 on the Meadowlark trail — organizers warn the slight uphill here is “just enough to make you and your trembling quads want to cry” — but the remainder is downhill to the parking lot and the race finish line.

Throughout much of the race, runners will be shaded by a canopy of trees and scrub oak. If you keep your eyes peeled, you may catch sight of some of the wildlife that make this park their home, from mule deer, elk, turkey and grouse to even mountain lions and bears.

Race Weather & Climate

Located along the front range of the Rockies in central Colorado, about 10 miles south of Denver, Littleton typically sees cool to mild weather in May, which has brought record temperatures here as low as 17°F (in 1954) and as high as 97°F (in 2000).

On race day (May 19), the average low is 43ºF and the average high is 72ºF.

Course Map

See the race route map for the Fear the Deer Half Marathon here.

Starting Time

  • 8:00 AM (wave 1)
  • 9:00 AM (wave 2)


See race website


To reserve your spot in the 2018 running of Littleton’s Fear the Deer Trail Half Marathon, register online at Active.com here.

Official Race Website

www.fearthedeer.co • www.facebook.com/FeartheDeerHalf


Ever run in the Fear the Deer Half? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.

See more races in: May, Colorado

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