Saturday, July 31, 2021 • Winter Park, CO • Course Map
Ready for a high-elevation run over mostly dirt roads here in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, just outside Denver? You’ll need to be ready for the elevation for sure, as the Winter Park Half Marathon is set to mark its 11th annual running this year and lies at about 9,000 feet above sea level.
The race gets its name from the region of the state where this small town lies — in the area known as the “Winter Park,” on the western side of the continental divide, about 50 miles west of Boulder, it’s the smallest of three river valleys that lie along the western side of Colorado’s Front Range mountains, with the other two are known as North Park and South Park.
Nearby are some of Colorado’s most sought-after tourist meccas, from the nearby ski resort Winter Park to the town of Grand Lake, which serves as the western entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, some of whose majestic snow-capped peaks rise as high as 14,000 feet above sea level.
Summer also is a popular time for camping in Rocky Mountain, along the park’s more than 300 miles of trails and backcountry wilderness.
Runners start the out-and-back loop course for the race at the Village at Grand Park, and from there they head out on a route that’s mostly backcountry roads, with some trail routes mixed in, including Elk Creek and Leland Creek Trails. The out-and-back portion also takes runners along Highway 72.
The route reaches its peak elevation between the mile 6 and 7 markers, and then runners begin a long, gradual descent over the next few miles (with a few more uphill stretches thrown in) as they make their way around the loop of the dirt road and head back into Winter Park.
Runners head back and follow it in the opposite direction from earlier as they head back toward the Village at Grand Park for the race finish.
Race Weather & Climate
Nestled high in the Fraser River Valley in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, just over 85 miles west of Denver, Winter Park typically experiences moderately warm weather in August, a month that typically sees temperatures between the high 30s and the low 70s.
On race day (Jul. 31), the average low is 39ºF and the average high is 70ºF.
see event website
To reserve your spot in the 2021 running of the Winter Park Half Marathon or 5K race, register online at RunSignUp.com here.
Official Race Website
Ever run in the Winter Park Half Marathon? Share your impressions here, or post your review in the Comments below.