Event Date:

Saturday, August 5th 2023

End Location:

Rio Grande Park

Registration Opens


Presented By:

Aspen Parks & Recreation

2022 Race Results Click Here 

2021 Race Results Click Here 

2019 Race Results Click Here

2018 Race Results are in, click here.

BACKCOUNTRY MARATHON | Saturday, August 5th, 2023 Aspen's most scenic running race...not to be missed.

Aspen Backcountry Marathon

Utilizing the beautiful trails that surround Aspen, offering two options, a full or heavy half-marathon, both run almost exclusively on dirt trails. The diversity of terrain, challenging ascents & descents and overall elevation gain will challenge even the most well-trained athletes. With spectacular views of the Elk Mountains above and the city of Aspen below, this is one race you’ll be sure to remember!

This race will be a limited support race. There will be aid stations, portable toilets at the start/finish, volunteer crews, and timers.  There is volunteer medical personnel along the course and at aid stations, but there is no guarantee of rescue or medical attention. Each participant is ultimately responsible for their own rescue and preparation for course and weather conditions.

Click Here  To Check out the Short Mini Film from Tom Evans on the Western States “Zero to 100”

Registration is open Click here 

2022 Racer Guide 

Participation limit: 250 per race.

Full Marathon Start 6:30am NEW START LOCATION RIO GRANDE PARK  $70 ($80 after July 1st)

Half Marathon Start 7:30am Rio Grande Park $60 ($70 after July 1st)

Race Details    Click here for race guide MarathonRaceGuide_2022

Racer letter 2022
-Start Time: 6:30am (Full Marathon)
 mass start 7:30 am (Heavy Half) mass start

limited aid stations and limited finish line recovery food or drink. You are required to bring your own food, hydration, clothes and equipment to provide for your own safety in summer conditions and travel.
Marathon aid station locations and cut off times. 

Mile Location Supplies Cut-off Times
3 Smuggler Mountain Rd Water, Skratch 7:30am
8 Hunter Creek Senior Lot Water, Skratch 10:10am
11.5 Top of Lower Plunge Water, Skratch 11:25am
15.5 4 Corners Water, Skratch 12:45pm
23.4 Stein Park Water, Skratch 2:25pm
26.2! Finish Line Water, Skratch

Half Marathon Aid station locations and cut off times

Mile Location Supplies Cut-off Times
2.2 Smugger Mountain Rd Water, Skratch 8:30
5 Top of Lower Plunge Water, Skratch 10:50
11.5 Stein Water, Skratch 12:15
14 ish Finish Line

If you approach an aid station after the cut off time, your race bib will be removed by the course sweep and you will be directed to walk to a location to receive a ride back to the start/finish line.

-Bathrooms: A Porta Potty will be available at the start and at the finish. Please do not linger in the facilities as other may need to use them also.

-Bib/Timing Chip Pick-up: Rio Grande Park, Friday July 29th 4-6pm. Race morning Saturday July 30th, 1 hour prior to race start at the start line.

Please make sure your bib is visible at the finish and start

Severe Weather Alert: The safety of our athletes, spectators and volunteers is of utmost importance. The race will not be canceled due to rain alone, however heavy rain may delay or shorten the race. If severe lightning is detected in the area, racers may be held at aid stations and the race will be neutral until the race is deemed safe to continue. If trail conditions become unsafe racers will be asked to walk and timing of the event will end. If there is persistent severe weather Race officials reserve the right to neutralize, suspend or cancel the race entirely.

Race Cancellation

Every effort will be made to hold the race, but the director reserves the right to delay, shorten or even cancel the event. There will be no refunds in the event of race cancellation.

Safety Plan

Aspen Backcountry Marathon Safety Plan. This race will be a limited support race. There will be water stations, volunteer crews with EMT and First Responder experience. Please do not expect a high level of runner support like other marathons can offer. The logistics of a backcountry race makes additional support very difficult. In addition, we have to be careful about impacting the environment since it is at a high altitude, remote, and on National Forest Service land.

Cupless Race

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Half Marathon is a CUPLESS COURSES! We recommend participants to carry their own hydration system.


Overall winner awards will be presented once results are verified. Top finisher awards by age group will be handed out as the winners come in.

The Start/Finish of the Marathon and Half Marathon is at Rio Grande Park, located on Rio Grande Place in Aspen. To get there (from Glenwood Springs), follow Highway 82 into Aspen where it becomes Main Street. Turn left on N. Mill St, the make the first right on to Rio Grande Place. The race start/finish is at Rio Grande Park on the left.

From Snowmass: Follow Brush Creek Road from Snowmass to Hwy 82. Turn right at the light to merge onto Hwy 82 into Aspen and follow it into where it becomes Main Street.  Same as above.

*Note: There is no on-street parking next to the finish. Covered parking is available near the start at the Rio Grande Parking Garage: 427 Rio Grande Place off Mill Street. Free parking is located in the west end starting at Bleeker Street and Monarch St. going west

Air Quality outdoor event guidance 

The air quality outdoor event guidance document will help you prepare for wildfire smoke and provides possible action steps based on the level of pollution in the air measured by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Quality Index (AQI).  We recommend you also sign up for Pitkin Alerts as a way to be alerted when the air quality if forecasted to be bad.  www.airnow.gov and www.aspenairquality.com are two websites that provide local air quality information.   For questions and additional resources contact Jannette Whitcomb with the Aspen Environmental Health Department at 970-920-5069 or Jannette.whitcomb@aspen.gov

I-70 Travel Alert: Due to the Grizzly Creek burn scar, storms may cause flash flooding and mud slides in Glenwood Canyon. Therefore, CDOT may close I-70 in Glenwood Canyon at any time for safety concerns. For those racers traveling to Aspen, please plan accordingly for potential delays or reroutes.

To view travel alerts, road closures, traffic conditions and more go to COTRIP.org (https://www.cotrip.org/travelAlerts.htm#?roadId=). In addition, you can sign up for Pitkin County Alerts, which would alert you to local highway closures and severe weather, click here https://member.everbridge.net/index/453003085612656#/signup  or to view current Pitkin Alert notifications, click here (https://member.everbridge.net/453003085612656/weather/h_SSS7YkQ)

Registration Info

Details to follow
Full Marathon $70 ($80 after July 1st)

  • Registration Opens TBD

Heavy 1/2 Marathon (14.6m) $60 ($70 after July 1st)

  • Registration Opens TBD


Prize Purse for the top 3 Overall Men and Women for the Full Marathon for 2022.

1st Place $300 gift card to the Ute Mountaineer
2nd Place $200 gift card to the Ute Mountaineer
3rd Place $100 gift card to the Ute Mountaineer

No Cash purse for the Half Marathon

The Aspen Backcountry Marathon and Half Marathon will be CUPLESS COURSES!  We recommend that participants use their own hydration system on this backcountry course. 

FAQ's Commonly Asked Questions.

Here are the overall results Aspen Backcountry Marathon Results by Age Group  

Keep the environment in mind as you start your training and on race-day, and we together will abide by the Leave No Trace outdoor ethics to help maintain the pristine conditions of our backcountry and forests. A No Cup policy on the race course is in place, so there will be no paper cups at the aid stations, so please carry your own reusable cup or use your own hydration system that can be refilled at the aid stations. 

The Backcountry Marathon was a huge success. We had over 301 participants and you an view the running results below. 2016 Results
The course has changed over the years, additionally we will also reverse the race direction on alternating years to keep it interesting!

The race committee is happy to share that the courses are both now almost entirely on single track and dirt trails.

Please note that Pitkin County requires that all participants obtain a valid CORSAR card for the day of the event. These are available at the Ute Mountaineer and the Tenth Mountain Hut Association. Save yourself some time and purchase online. Click here to purchase online. Cost: $3.00 for a one year card; $12.00 for five years

Yes, if you are local you can join the training group, sponsored by Aspen Alpine, additionally for those not local sign up to be part of the mail list on training for high altitude and more great tips. More info: marathontraining@aspenalpine.com | (970) 925-6618

This year the Cash Purse for the marathon totals $2400. Marathon: 1st place Male and Female = $600 2nd place Male and Female = $400 3rd place Male and Female = $200

Prizes for top finishers are equal for Male and Female racers as well as the King of the Mountain. Thank you to our sponsor Adidas for these great prize donation.