National Park Half Marathons: Your Top Guide to “Amazing Runs” 2024

Discover the perfect blend of fitness and adventure with national park half marathons! Run through breathtaking landscapes, from mountains to deserts, and choose from a variety of races catering to different preferences. These events offer an unforgettable running experience while supporting the preservation of our national parks. Let’s hit the ground running and explore the majestic wonders of America’s national parks!

And now go on a journey with us and discover the best national park half marathons. You will not regret it.

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05/11/2024 09:26 pm GMT

The Allure of National Park Half Marathons

As lovers of running and the great outdoors, we can’t help but be drawn to the idea of participating in a National Park Half Marathon.

  • National Park Half Marathons offer a unique opportunity to combine running with experiencing the beauty of the country’s landscapes.
  • These races take place in breathtaking areas, showcasing the diversity of the nation’s park system.
  • Each park’s unique landscapes provide a constantly refreshing and invigorating experience, making each race distinct.
  • Running in different national parks offers the chance to marvel at various natural landmarks, from canyons to serene forests and expansive lakes.
  • Completing a national park half marathon is a triumph and an opportunity to connect with nature and create lasting memories.

So let us embark on these spirited runs together, through the enchanting terrains of our beloved national parks, and celebrate the beauty of both our bodies and the natural wonders that surround us.

Sebastian Gradl after Running Wertach X-Run

“I love running in nature. For me, it gives you an extra kick and you feel more free than anywhere else. My TIP: Take as many impressions with you as you can.”

Top National Park Half Marathons

National Park Half Marathons Crowd is running
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We’re excited to share with you some of the most breathtaking half marathons taking place at U.S. National Parks in 2023. We will use italics to emphasize the race title and bold text for the location and date to make it easier for you to read.

🏞 Zion National Park Half Marathon

The upcoming Zion National Park Half Marathon, set to take place in Springdale, Utah on March 2, 2024, provides runners with the opportunity to experience the stunning beauty of the national park while running alongside the Virgin River in southwestern Utah. While the race features mostly inclines, the breathtaking views at the finish line make the challenging course worthwhile. To participate in this memorable event, registration is available through the provided link.

 🏜 Canyonlands Half Marathon

Join us in Moab, Utah on March 16, 2024, for the Canyonlands Half Marathon, a race that takes runners through the breathtaking landscapes between Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, alongside the Colorado River and the striking red rock formations.

Founded in 1976, this race offers a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the area. With Moab being home to both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, participants can combine the race with exploration for an unforgettable vacation experience. Registration for this iconic event is available through the provided link.

🌋 Yellowstone Half Marathon

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in the Yellowstone Half Marathon, scheduled for June 8, 2024, in West Yellowstone, Montana. This race, which runs through the Gallatin National Forest, offers a challenging course that starts and finishes in the historic town of West Yellowstone, just outside the park’s entrance.

While the hilly terrain and trail running may pose a challenge, the stunning forests, rivers, mountains, and wildlife sightings make the experience truly rewarding. After the race, take the chance to explore America’s first national park. Registration for this remarkable event is available through the provided link.

🏔 Glacier Half Marathon

Experience the breathtaking Glacier Half Marathon near Glacier National Park in East Glacier, Montana on June 29, 2024. This scenic race takes runners along the east side of the park, including an ascent up Looking Glass Hill, offering spectacular views of the national park.

While the initial half of the race presents a challenge, the latter portion is mostly downhill, providing a rewarding finish to the event. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this incredible running experience. Registration for the race is available through the provided link.

🌵 Joshua Tree Half Marathon

Embrace the unique experience of the Joshua Tree Half Marathon, set to take place in Joshua Tree, California on November 4, 2023. This one-of-a-kind race stands out as a night race, requiring runners to navigate trails through the Mojave Desert with headlamps.

The late start time not only spares participants from the desert heat but also offers the chance to marvel at the starry night sky away from city lights. As preparation for this distinctive event, practicing night running with a headlamp is highly recommended.

🏞 Yosemite Half Marathon

Prepare for the scenic Yosemite Half Marathon, set to take place in Bass Lake, California on May 11, 2024. This race runs alongside Yosemite National Park through the Sierra National Forest, offering a fairly flat course and culminating with a picturesque three-mile stretch along the shore of Bass Lake. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this iconic location and secure your spot in this memorable event by registering through the provided link.

🌲 Acadia Half Marathon

Get ready for the Acadia Half Marathon, hosted by the Mount Desert Island YMCA, set to take place in Bar Harbor, Maine on June 2, 2024. This unique race allows participants to run inside the stunning Acadia National Park, starting and ending in Bar Harbor but looping out onto the island and through the park.

Runners will traverse forests, hills, and Maine’s iconic rocky coastline, passing by Thunder Hole on Mount Desert Island, where they may witness the thunderous reverberation of crashing waves and feel their mist. Immerse yourself in this extraordinary running experience by registering through the provided link.

Specific Park Highlights

National Park Half Marathons Group running zion
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At some of the most beautiful national parks in the United States, you can find breathtaking half marathons that combine the thrill of trail running or road racing with stunning natural scenery. Here are a few highlights to inspire your next race-cation:

🏞 Utah

Zion and Bryce Canyon: In Utah, both Zion and Bryce Canyon offer extraordinary races with awe-inspiring sights. Zion’s half marathon takes you through the majestic Virgin River, while Bryce Canyon’s race includes unique red rock formations. Springdale, UT, serves as an excellent base for exploring both parks.

🏔 Colorado

Rocky Mountain and Grand Tetons: Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Half Marathon and Wyoming’s Grand Teton Half Marathon are both located in majestic alpine environments. Estes Park, CO, and West Yellowstone, WY, are charming towns nearby that cater to visitors looking to explore the parks and take part in the races.

🌊 Maine

Acadia: The Acadia Half Marathon in Maine takes you along the rocky coastline of Mount Desert Island, offering picturesque views of both mountains and the Atlantic Ocean. Bar Harbor, ME, is a welcoming coastal town and serves as a gateway to the park.

🌄 California

Yosemite and Joshua Tree: In California, Yosemite Half Marathon takes you past the beautiful Bass Lake and cascading waterfalls in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. The Joshua Tree Half Marathon, on the other hand, showcases the unique desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park.

🏞 Cleveland

Cuyahoga Valley and Gateway Arch: The Towpath Marathon in Cleveland, OH, is among the few races that grant entry into a national park: Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Additionally, the newly designated Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, MO, hosts an exciting race with the iconic arch as its backdrop.

Training for Your Race

National Park Half Marathons Man training
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As we prepare for our national park half marathons, it’s important to focus on both physical and mental aspects of training. We want to emphasize trail-specific workouts and gear while remembering that these races are a unique and exciting challenge.

We should begin by incorporating more trail running into our training regimen. This will help us become familiar with the varied terrain we’ll encounter in national parks. It’s essential to practice running on different types of trails, such as dirt paths, rocky terrain, and even some elevation to better simulate race day conditions.

While training, it’s crucial to wear the proper running shoes. For national park half marathons, we’ll likely need trail running shoes that provide extra support, traction, and protection for uneven surfaces. When choosing our shoes, we should consider factors such as cushioning, stability, and the specific demands of the park’s terrain at National Park Races.

As we rise to the challenge of a national park half marathon, we’ll want to adjust our training plans accordingly. A few ideas include:

  • Gradually increasing our weekly mileage
  • Incorporating hill workouts and interval training
  • Practicing proper hydration and nutrition during long runs

Check out our half marathons training plan´s.

To make our training more enjoyable and engaging, we might consider the following:

  1. 🏃 Joining a local running group: This will help us stay motivated and on track with our training plan. Plus, it’s an excellent way to make new friends and share running tips.
  2. 🌲 Exploring new trails: Challenging ourselves with diverse trail types and locations will keep our runs interesting and help us become more adaptable to different terrains.
  3. 🎯 Setting realistic goals: It’s essential to set achievable goals while recognizing that a national park half marathon is more about enjoying the scenery and unique experience than chasing after a personal record.

In the end, our preparation for a national park half marathon should be both challenging and rewarding. By honing our trail running skills, wearing the proper gear, and staying motivated throughout our training journey, we’ll be ready to conquer these breathtaking courses and create unforgettable memories.

Race Day Experience

We understand how important the race day experience is for runners participating in national park half marathons. From the moment you arrive at the starting line until you cross the finish line, we aim to make it a memorable and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.

  1. Upon arrival at the race venue, you’ll find ample parking and easy access to the race start area.
  2. Pick up your race bib and enjoy pre-race amenities such as water stations, restrooms, and food.
  3. Prepare to start the race surrounded by like-minded runners who share your love for running and appreciation for the national parks.
  4. Experience breathtaking sights and sounds as you make your way through the racecourse within the national parks.
  5. Stay fueled with hydration and snacks from strategically placed aid stations along the route.
  6. Benefit from the support of friendly course marshals and volunteers cheering you on and ensuring your safety at every turn.
  7. Feel the excitement and energy from the crowd of spectators as you approach the finish line.
  8. Be greeted by an enthusiastic team of volunteers at the finish line, ready to present you with your well-earned finisher’s medal and congratulate you on your accomplishment.
  9. Head over to the post-race celebration area to enjoy refreshments, share stories with fellow runners, and capture memories of your incredible race day experience.
“A champion is someone who gets up when they can’t.”
– Jack Dempsey

Becoming a Part of the Running Community

National Park Half Marathons Man is running eye candy
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We understand how important a sense of community is for runners, especially when embarking on incredible running adventures like national park half marathons. Joining the community of runners who participate in these events can offer a unique experience and create lasting friendships.

Step 1: Sign up for an email list dedicated to national park half marathons. This will keep us updated on upcoming races, registration openings, and any changes in scheduled events.

Step 2: Engage with the running community through social media platforms and online forums. Many runners use popular platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Strava to share their experiences, achievements, and challenges.

Step 3: Attend local group runs or join a running club to build connections and train with others who share our passion for running in national parks. As we train together and exchange tips, we’ll become stronger and more confident in our abilities.

Our Opinion on National Park Half Marathons

We believe that participating in National Park half marathons is a fantastic way to combine the joy of running with the beauty of nature. These races let us explore some of the most picturesque landscapes in the United States while also challenging our physical and mental endurance.

One of our favorites is the Zion Half Marathon, which takes place amidst the stunning red rock formations of Zion National Park. The course offers breathtaking views throughout the race, making the miles fly by as we immerse ourselves in the vast wilderness.”

Another exceptional race is the Yellowstone Half Marathon, where runners get the chance to explore the famous geothermal features and abundant wildlife of America’s first national park. This race is a must-do for anyone seeking a truly unique experience.

If you prefer a more challenging terrain, the Death Valley Half Marathon is an excellent choice. With a course that traverses the arid landscapes of Death Valley National Park, this race is not for the faint of heart but rewards those who persevere with an unforgettable adventure.

To make choosing a race easier, here’s a quick list of some popular National Park half marathons:
Zion Half Marathon
– Yellowstone Half Marathon
– Death Valley Half Marathon
– Yosemite National Park Half Marathon
– Bryce Canyon Half Marathon
– Grand Teton National Park Half Marathon

We encourage you to explore these incredible races and experience the joy of running through America’s National Parks. Not only will you challenge yourself physically, but you’ll also create lasting memories of the awe-inspiring beauty that Mother Nature has to offer.


What is the average elevation gain for National Park half marathons?

Average elevation gain ranges from 500 to 2,000 feet, depending on the specific race. 

Are National Park half marathons suitable for beginners?

Most National Park half marathons are suitable for beginners, but it’s important to research the specific race’s terrain and difficulty level. 

Can I bring my dog to a National Park half marathon?

Unfortunately, dogs are not allowed to participate in National Park half marathons due to park regulations.

Have you ever run some national park half marathons? I would love to hear your experience in the comments. I’m sure you also like reading about Half Marathon Pacing or Do I Need To Fuel During A Half Marathon.

Sebastian Gradl 26.09.2023
Sebastian Gradl

Nice to meet you, I´m Sebastian Gradl!

I write the articles on

I hope I can awaken your passion for running too and would be happy to take you on the runfitjourney!

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