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Best Trail Running Events in the Southwest 2023

Best Trail Running Events in the Southwest 2023

The team at Strambecco rated the Top Gravel events in the Southwest for 2023 based on various factors, including reputation, route quality, location, runner feedback, and the overall uniqueness of the event or race.  Spanning California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico, the Southwest terrain features of Strambecco’s best list includes mountains, canyons, mesas, buttes, high broad basins, plateaus, desert lands, and some plains characteristic of the Basin and Range Province. The entire southwestern region features semi-arid to arid terrain.

The Southwest is chock-full of outstanding trail events spanning the Ultra, Marathon, and Half-Marathon categories.  The granddaddy of them is the Western States 100 in June, an event requiring qualification.  There are Western States Qualifier events all over the country and several on our Southwest list.  Another prestigious event is the Wasatch Front 100 in July, a Grand Slam of Ultra Running event and a Rocky Mountain Slam event.  Several events on the list are UTMB Global Series events, an international series culminating in the famed UTMB Mt. Blanc (France) in August.  Lastly, check out events on our list from the Leadville Race Series and  Vacation Races, which offer premier destination events at amazing locations, including Zion and Bryce National Parks.

Strambecco does not list every event.  We strive to identify and review events that are special and noteworthy.  If you have suggestions on other events, we should consider or review, please get in touch with us here or send us a note at editors@strambecco.com.

XTERRA McDowell Mountain Trail Run

An XTERRA Trail Run World Series event, the event takes place at McDowell Mountain Regional Park and is a paradise for a trail runner.  The ultimate challenge is a 43k (26.7 miles)…

Black Canyon Ultras

Aravaipa Running produces the annual Black Canyon Ultras, point-to-point 60K and 100K trail courses from Spring Valley to New River, Arizona, along the world-class Black Canyon National Recreation Trail. The 100K race is…

Old Pueblo Endurance Runs

The final leg in the Southern Arizona Triple 50 Series and a qualifier event for the prestigious Angeles Crest 100. The course consists of a 25-mile loop on forest service roads and…

Catalina Island Marathon, 10K, 5K

Falling into our “bucket list” trail running events, the Catalina Island Marathon is one to check off your list. California’s oldest trail marathon in one of the most beautiful locations in the…

Antelope Canyon Ultras

This is a stunningly beautiful early-season race through the spectacular Arizona desert landscape. The Antelope Canyon region is one of the most photographed places in the country and is sacred to the…

Zion Ultras & Trail Half Marathon

This is an amazing opportunity to mix a Spring vacation in the stunning Zion National Park and throw in an epic Ultra Trail event!   Zion Ultras comprises four options: 100 Mile, 100K;…

Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB

Canyons Endurance Runs, produced by Epic Endurance Events, is a qualifier for both the UTMB World Series Finals and the Western States 100.  The event starts in the historic gold-rush town of…

Bryce Canyon Ultras

This scenic mountain course runs around the northern half and western edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, offering spectacular views above and below the hoodoos. The race is run at high elevation, with…

Runner on High Sierra Trail

Western States 100

An epic 100-mile trail run from Olympic Valley to Auburn, CA, in one day on the last weekend of June. It is the world’s oldest 100 trail race, starting in 1974 as…

Tushars Mountain Runs

The Tushars Mountain Run, organized by the Aravaipa Running group, is billed as one of “the toughest, most spectacular mountain races in North America.” The event is staged out of the Eagle…

Enchanted Forest Trail Races

Gemini Adventures brings three challenging trail runs to the Land of Enchantment in Red River, New Mexico, with the Enchanted Forest Trail Races event. Runners can register for a Heavy Half course…

Wasatch Front 100

One of the most uniquely challenging ultrarunning events in the world, a prestigious 100 Mile Endurance Run that is the culminating event in the Grand Slam of Ultra-Running series.   It is held…

Moab Trail Marathon and Half Marathon

The Moab Trail Marathon, Half, And Adventure 5k checks the boxes of everything you want in a race: challenging terrain, epic views, fabulous event organization, and race variety. The event spans a…

XTERRA McDowell Mountain Trail Run

An XTERRA Trail Run World Series event, the event takes place at McDowell Mountain Regional Park and is a paradise for a trail runner.  The ultimate challenge is a 43k (26.7 miles)…

Black Canyon Ultras

Aravaipa Running produces the annual Black Canyon Ultras, point-to-point 60K and 100K trail courses from Spring Valley to New River, Arizona, along the world-class Black Canyon National Recreation Trail. The 100K race is…

Old Pueblo Endurance Runs

The final leg in the Southern Arizona Triple 50 Series and a qualifier event for the prestigious Angeles Crest 100. The course consists of a 25-mile loop on forest service roads and…

Catalina Island Marathon, 10K, 5K

Falling into our “bucket list” trail running events, the Catalina Island Marathon is one to check off your list. California’s oldest trail marathon in one of the most beautiful locations in the…

Antelope Canyon Ultras

This is a stunningly beautiful early-season race through the spectacular Arizona desert landscape. The Antelope Canyon region is one of the most photographed places in the country and is sacred to the…

Zion Ultras & Trail Half Marathon

This is an amazing opportunity to mix a Spring vacation in the stunning Zion National Park and throw in an epic Ultra Trail event!   Zion Ultras comprises four options: 100 Mile, 100K;…

Canyons Endurance Runs by UTMB

Canyons Endurance Runs, produced by Epic Endurance Events, is a qualifier for both the UTMB World Series Finals and the Western States 100.  The event starts in the historic gold-rush town of…

Bryce Canyon Ultras

This scenic mountain course runs around the northern half and western edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau, offering spectacular views above and below the hoodoos. The race is run at high elevation, with…

Runner on High Sierra Trail

Western States 100

An epic 100-mile trail run from Olympic Valley to Auburn, CA, in one day on the last weekend of June. It is the world’s oldest 100 trail race, starting in 1974 as…

Tushars Mountain Runs

The Tushars Mountain Run, organized by the Aravaipa Running group, is billed as one of “the toughest, most spectacular mountain races in North America.” The event is staged out of the Eagle…

Enchanted Forest Trail Races

Gemini Adventures brings three challenging trail runs to the Land of Enchantment in Red River, New Mexico, with the Enchanted Forest Trail Races event. Runners can register for a Heavy Half course…

Wasatch Front 100

One of the most uniquely challenging ultrarunning events in the world, a prestigious 100 Mile Endurance Run that is the culminating event in the Grand Slam of Ultra-Running series.   It is held…

Moab Trail Marathon and Half Marathon

The Moab Trail Marathon, Half, And Adventure 5k checks the boxes of everything you want in a race: challenging terrain, epic views, fabulous event organization, and race variety. The event spans a…

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