Saturday, September 28, 2019 • Aspen, CO • Course Map
Timed to start runners off just as fall is arriving on the leaves, trees and slopes of this Rocky Mountain ski resort town, the Golden Leaf Half Marathon takes runners on a point-to-point course that starts in Snowmass Village and finishes in Aspen, for a race that has been lauded by the likes of Colorado Runner and Trail Runner magazines as one of the country’s most scenic trail races.
Several hundred finishers complete the 13.1-mile trek each year across the trails and mountain roads between the starting line on Fanny Hill in Snowmass Village — which lies at an elevation of just over 8,600 feet above sea level — all the way to the finish line at Aspen’s Koch Park, at the intersection of Garmisch Street and West Cooper Avenue.
In between those two points, the course follows a combination of ski access roads that wind alongside the condo complexes in Snowmass, single-track mountain trails through forests and meadows that take runners on climbs as high as just over 9,600 feet at their peak, dirt roads and paved roads, as well as stretches of bike path as runners are nearing the finish line back in Aspen.
Runners can expect to encounter lots of elevation changes — in fact, few flat stretches — as the course winds through the hills, ski slope ridges and meadows between the start and the finish line.
Because it’s run at such a high elevation and because it incorporates a number of technical and challenging trails, the race will definitely challenge most any runner who attempts it — especially those who aren’t used to the altitude, which one runner noted caused several participants to struggle with the climbs, especially in the early going.
There are also plentiful hazards along the course, with loose rocks and possibly muddy areas, depending on the weather leading up to the event as well as the day of the race.
You also get a sense that this is a race for the hardiest of runners when it has been cancelled only once in its more than three-decade-long history, in 2006 for a heavy snowstorm that socked the Aspen and Snowmass area. The race starting time is scheduled for 8:30 AM, and runners will be sent off in waves that are separated by five-minute intervals.
The race is limited to the first 1,000 entrants who sign up, so runners thinking of taking on this event are encouraged to do so as early as possible.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled high in the Rocky Mountain ski resort towns of central Colorado, roughly a 160-mile drive west from Denver, Aspen typically sees September temperatures that average between 39°F and 69°F, while precipitation amounts average just over 1.6 inches for the month.
On race day (Sept. 28), the average low is 37ºF and the average high is 66ºF.
- 2018 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2017 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2015 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2014 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2013 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2012 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 2011 Golden Leaf Half Marathon Results
- 8:30 AM
$80 for the half marathon
To reserve your spot in the 2019 running of Aspen’s Golden Leaf Half Marathon, register online at the event website here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Golden Leaf Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.