National parks offer many incredible experiences, including a variety of athletic events for the fitness-inclined. If you’re a runner, you’re in luck! Races that host runners and walkers alike around national parks happen all throughout the year, giving you the opportunity to see some of the nation’s most spectacular natural views, all while engaging in competitive tests of fitness and endurance.
Lake Powell’s Half Marathon
Running through the desert landscape of Lake Powell, located within Glen Canyon Nation Recreation Area.
There’s no denying the beauty of Lake Powell’s one-of-a-kind desert landscape. With 1.2 million acres of land, including the famous Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend areas, this park is renowned as one of the most desirable to race, especially in the temperate October weather. Arizona is extremely hot in the summertime, so fall is the perfect time of year for a run. The race starts in Page, AZ and finishes right on the shores of Lake Powell, in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This event also features a trail portion of the course, so you can get up close and personal with all the beauty the Lake Powell area has to offer.
The 2020 race happens on October 10th. In preparation for the race, sponsors also provide free training programs for athletes of all fitness levels throughout the year. Registration is typically between $99 – 117.
While you’re at Lake Powell you can go fishing for bass or walleye while you recover from your race or, rent a powerboat all day at an affordable rate. Don’t miss out on exploring Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon on your own for more photographable moments! Find out more here.
Crater Lake Rim Run
Taking in the beauty of Crater Lake National Park.
The Crater Lake Rim Run is sure to leave even the most seasoned runners breathless. This race takes participants up and down winding hills and is well-known for its depth into the natural wilderness around Crater Lake National Park. Expect to pace around the rim of the lake with substantial elevation changes during the race, ranging from 5,980 – 7,850 feet above sea level.
The run happens in August every year. This year, the race is slated for August 8, 2020. Walkers are welcome at the 6.7-mile leg of the race only, and registration is around $60 – 95.
After your run, explore America’s deepest lake, formed from an ancient volcano! With boat tours, hiking, biking, and fishing, the Cabins at Mazama Village or Crater Lake Lodge are ideal for a little R&R after the race.
Grand Teton Half Marathon
The half marathon will fly by with views like these.
June’s Grand Teton Half Marathon starts in Jackson, Wyoming, right outside the national park. One of the main reasons this race attracts so many runners and hikers is the diverse natural beauty throughout the run. From snowy mountains to hills dotted with wildlife and beautiful flora, this race offers serene, rugged glimpses of life untouched, preserved from human habitation.
The elevation profile varies throughout the run, with mostly paved roads and plenty of stop-off opportunities. The race dates are June 5-6, 2020 and registration is between $100-150. Plus, the course is accessible to people with disabilities, with a 5k race and several smaller course runs as alternative options.
After the race, stop by Grand Teton National Park and enjoy hiking, biking, and non-stop scenic views at Togwotee Mountain Lodge.
Yosemite Half Marathon
Traversing the iconic landscape of Yosemite National Park.
Perhaps the most famous national park in the US, the land around Yosemite National Park is the perfect setting for a long run. Although the race does not technically happen within Yosemite National Park grounds, runners will still get to experience the beauty of the Sierra National Forest and surrounding areas. The half marathon sells out fairly quickly from year to year and starts in Bass Lake, CA and finishes at Recreation Point.
Registration is usually around $145, and the race happens May 9, 2020. After your run, take advantage of special promotions at Yosemite Valley Lodge and other stays in the area, with unbelievable dining, wildlife viewing and cozy evenings by the fire.
Whether you’re a fan of half marathons or are new to the game, there’s no better way to experience the personal reward and exhilaration of a half marathon than around our nation’s most beautiful, scenic parks.
Ride the Hurricane: Olympic National Park
The rolling vistas of Olympic National Park.
For avid cyclists and eager recreational riders alike, Ride the Hurricane is the event for you. This 40-mile roundtrip summit ride showcases the best alpine views Washington State has to offer. Riders will start at just above sea level and ride to 5,278 feet (just 2 feet short of a mile) on the ascent, and then coast all the way back down to Port Angeles, WA.
Cyclists will be able to enjoy riding the iconic Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park, completely free of motorists during the event, from 7 AM-noon. The event takes place on August 2, 2020, with several other shorter routes available, including a 24 and 36-mile route for those who are looking for a shorter ride.
While you are visiting the Olympic National Park area, pop into Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort to recover and soak any achy muscles. Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort is about an hour from Port Angeles, so you won’t have to wait long to wade in its healing waters.
Whether you’re a fan of racing events or are new to the game, there’s no better way to experience the personal reward and exhilaration of a race than around our nation’s most beautiful, scenic parks.