Course & Map

Maps & Elevation – Zion 100 mi, 100k, 50k

UA New Zion_2014_100mi

UA Zion_2014_100mi_Profile

UA New Zion_2014_100km

UA Zion_2014_100km_Profile

Zion_50km

Zion50kmProfile

Aid Stations

Aid Station Name Cutoff Crew GPS Coordinates 
#1 Smith Mesa Road 8:30am (Fri.) Y 37°15’54.37″N 113°10’38.72″W
 #2 Sheep’s Bridge 10:00am (Fri.) Y 37°12’17.46″N 113°12’35.83″W
#3 Virgin Dam Aid 11:30am (Fri) Y 37°10’43.00″N 113°14’19.70″W
#4/6/10 Goosebump Overlook 5:00am (Sat.) Y 37° 9’25.18″N 113° 9’59.83″W
#5 Gooseberry Point 4:00pm (Fri.) N 37° 8’26.05″N 113°13’2.18″W
#7/8/9 Grafton Mesa 1:30am (Fri.) Y 37° 7’50.84″N 113° 5’53.21″W
#11/12 Guacamole 12:00pm (Sat.) N 37°13’4.41″N 113° 7’27.01″W
#13 Walsh’s 1:30pm (Sat.) Y 37°12’31.32″N 113°10’56.36″W

Course Preview

The total elevation gain for the 100k is around 6,000ft and 12,000ft for the 100 miler.  Be warned: your body will feel a lot more beat up than the elevation profile tells you.  Sections of the course (Gooseberry and Guacamole) are especially difficult and leave experienced runners scratching their heads afterwards wondering why they feel so much more exhausted than the elevation and distance on their watch reads.

The start/finish line will be at the town park in Virgin.  The official start for the 100 miler and 100k is at 6:00am. Early starts at both 4am and 5am will be available to runners that would like to beat the heat or need a little extra time. (Anyone using an early start option is not eligible for overall awards.)

The Pre-race check in and packet pick up for the 100 miler and 100k is Thursday, April 3rd from 5-9pm at Cable Mountain Lodge.  Cable Mountain Lodge is located at the main entrance to Zion National Park, in the same complex as the Brew Pub and Imax theatre. 

The 50k start will be at 6:00am on Saturday.  Packet pickup for the 50k will be at the Virgin town park on Friday, April 4th from 6-8pm.

The crew accessible aid stations are Smith Mesa, Sheep’s Bridge, Virgin Dam, Goosebump, Grafton Mesa, Smithsonian Butte, Walsh (50k).

After the starting horn blows, you will head north across the desert on ATV trails until you reach the Flying Monkey trail, a steep singletrack trail that sidehills up onto Smith Mesa 2,000ft above.

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The climb going up the Flying Monkey.

After about 7 miles, you’ll arrive at Smith Mesa Aid as the road tops out onto the mesa.

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View from Smith Mesa aid station.

You’ll descend off of the mesa via Mesa Road instead of the Flying Monkey trail (about 2.75 miles of unmaintained asphalt).

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The steep road down makes for a few very fast miles if you dare to trash your quads early on.

After just over 5 miles of steep downhill running you’ll come to an ATV trail toward the bottom of the descent and take a left.  This trail will lead you through a culvert under the highway where you’ll pop up right next to the Sheep’s Bridge Aid station.

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JEM trail section, about a mile after the Sheep’s Bridge Aid station. Do not try and pass through this section!

The lower section of the JEM trail begins within a mile of Sheeps Bridge Aid station.  The cliff’s edge is very near the edge along this section of trail, so go slow and be careful.  After about two miles, you’ll turn right off of the JEM trail onto the Hurricane Rim trail.  You’ll follow this trail for over 4 miles to China Wash, where you’ll take that connector trail for a mile to the JEM trail again, which you’ll follow a mile further to the Virgin Dam Aid station.

 

Along the Hurricane Rim trail.

Along the Hurricane Rim trail.

From Virgin Dam Aid, you’ll run some rolling double track for 7 miles, then you’ll start the steepest climb of the course up to the top of Gooseberry Mesa.  It’s hard to overstate the steepness of this climb.  This climb has been affectionately coined “the Goosebump”.  Approx. 1,200 ft of climbing in a mile until you reach the top.  Crew can access this aid station.

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Approaching the top of the “bump”

From Goosebump Aid, you’ll run west along the northern edge of the mesa for 4.5 miles to  Gooseberry Point Aid.

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A cattle guard designed for bikes along the north rim of Gooseberry.

The aid station is not actually at Gooseberry point, so you’ll need to check in before and after you make the 1/2 mile journey (each way, 1 mile total) out and back to the western point of the mesa.

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View from Gooseberry Point turnaround.

After showing the folks at the aid station that you’ve got your hand marked, you’ll follow the South Rim trail for a little more than 4.5 miles until it meets the White trail.

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The mesa’s edge along the South Rim trail

 

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Some good single track along the south rim. Doesn’t last long enough…

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Most of the South Rim trail is through slickrock like this.

You’ll turn left on the White trail for just a couple hundred yards and then right to get on the Practice loop trail, which we’ll connect to a double track that will take us back to Windmill trail head and Goosebump Aid for a second time.

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When you see the windmill you’ll know you’re getting close to the Goosebump Aid station for the 2nd time.

 

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View from the Gooseberry aid station

From the Goosebump, you’ll meander east to the Grafton Mesa aid station, located at the junction of Smithsonian Butte and Grafton Mesa roads.  100k Runners will turn around at this point and head back to the Goosebump, down off of the mesa, and across the desert to the town park in Virgin to the finish line.

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You’ll run along paved road for a mile then gravel road for 1/2 mile to the ghost town of Grafton, turning left at the old cemetery when you arrive.

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You’ll run by this historic cemetery with interesting engravings on some of the tombstones such as “Killed by Indians”. We won’t be passing through the ghost town itself, where westerns such as “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” were filmed.

You’ll now begin the brutal ascent up the Grafton Mesa trail, similar in many ways to the Flying Monkey trail.  It ascends over 1,000ft in under a mile and is an old wagon trail that is now mostly used as a downhill mountain bike trail.   The Grafton Heritage Society has been very generous in allowing us to pass through this section of trail.  Please show respect and use caution to not damage the retaining walls built by pioneers.

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Climbing up the third of 5 mesas in the course.

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Top of Grafton Mesa

After topping out on Grafton Mesa, you’ll head back to Smithsonian Butte Rd. where you’ll revisit Grafton Mesa Aid. From here you’ll return for one last visit to the Goosebump Overlook before beginning the punishing descent, taking the same steep trail that you used to come up onto Gooseberry Mesa.  You’ll then head out across the desert toward Virgin. When reaching Hwy 9, you will turn right and head toward the Guacamole trail up Dalton Wash road.  After crossing the highway, continue on Dalton Wash road for just over 4 miles until you top out on the mesa.

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Overlooking Dalton Wash, from Guacamole trail. You’re making good time if you catch the sunset on Guacamole!

 

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There are some good rim sections along the Guacamole trail.

 

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A portion of the trail is through this burned out forest. Might be a little spooky in the middle of the night :)

Follow the slickrock and singletrack for a mile to Guacamole Aid. From here you’ll take a trail similar in terrain to what you experienced on Gooseberry but with a lot of burned out trees and a backdrop much closer to the national park.  After about a 7 1/2 mile loop you’ll return to the aid station and then will head back down Dalton Wash road to the town of Virgin and the finish line.

50k Description

The 50k starts off at the park and runs about a mile of pavement before hitting the dirt and heading 2 miles over to Dalton Wash road.  You’ll run the 4 mile dirt road up onto the mesa where you’ll hit the Guacamole Aid station before doing the 9 mile loop on the Guacamole trail.

After passing through the aid station a second time, you’ll descend back the way that you came but when you return to the pavement you’ll cross the road and arrive at Walsh aid station.  From there, you’ll head across the desert and up the Flying Monkey trail, which climbs up onto Smith Mesa.  Once on top, you’ll follow the main road back down off of the mesa, cross under the highway through a culvert and run on an ATV trail along the shoulder of Hwy 9 back to the starting line at the park.

 

 

 

  • jana

    Will you be posting descriptions for the 50k?