The Red Hot 55k is located northwest of Moab, Utah just west of Arches National Park. Red Hot runners will have majestic views of the La Sal Mountains to the southeast and breathtaking views of Canyonlands National Park to the west. The Red Hot is recognized as kicking off the ultra running calendar for most trail runners.
This trail has a lot of slickrock.
The Moab Red Hot course is located northwest of Moab, Utah just west of Arches National Park. The starting line is located at Gemini Bridges trailhead.
The Moab Red Hot 55k course begins on a rocky, sandy, 4-wheel drive road, but dont get too comfortable! Before you realize it, youll be running on technical slickrock that will require all your attention. Once runners leave the start line, they will make their way up the first steep climb; it's approximately one mile to the top. Runners, stop and take a look around because from here you can see Arches National Park and the Moab Valley. Runners will then make their way down into a hidden valley high above Highway 191 along the Gemini Bridges road. Keep your eyes open for the bighorn sheep peering down from the talus slopes that surround you.
Runners will continue their way to the Gold Bar/Gemini Bridges Rd junction approximately 4 miles from the start line. At this junction, the Moab Red Hot course will continue right, up the steep Gemini Bridges Road. A gentle uphill climb takes you to the first aid station, approximately one mile from the junction of Gold Bar and Gemini Bridges and 6 miles from the start line.
Runners will now continue up the Metal Masher Road which will slowly creep up to the rim. This climb starts off with a slow, gentle grade, but as the runners get closer to the rim of Metal Masher, it turns into steep slickrock terrain. Once on the rim, take a moment to look down and youll see the start line. As you get higher up, look back to see views of Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park off towards the west. Once you make the steep climb through sandstone drainages, you'll reach the top of Metal Masher. At this viewpoint, you have run approximately 10 mi from the start line. Take a look around but dont get too close to the edge, the drop is 800 ft! From here, runners will continue along the Metal Masher rim; it's mostly downhill to the second aid station (mile 13).
After leaving aid station 2, you'll continue up the hill to Arths Pasture. As you run over old jeep tracks cutting through soft dirt, make the most of this easy section; its nice on your quads after the technical downhill you have just completed. Aid Station 3 (mile 17) will look familiar, you have just made your way back to what was previously aid station 1. Congrats! You have now completed the first half of the Red Hot 55k course and the real fun is about to begin!
From aid station 3 you'll backtrack approximately 1 mile on Gemini Bridges Road to Gold Bar Rim
trail (mile 18). Once on Gold Bar, you'll go around a bend and find the 33k aid station.
The Gold Bar Rim
holds the HOTNESS of the Red Hot event. It starts off relatively easy, but as you get closer to the rim, the trail turns into STEEP climbs, gnarly broken rock, and more STEEP climbs. This section is approximately 4.5 miles from the Gold Bar junction to aid station 4 (mile 22). Once you reach aid station 4, take a look around to see where you have been and where you are headed. You'll have views of Arches National Park just below, the Colorado River, and the majestic La Sal Mountains.
The next section of the course is the infamous Golden Spike which every Red Hot runner has either cursed, loved, cried, laughed or had a zen experience at. Either way, Golden Spike is unforgettable. Golden Spike starts off with a steep descent on slickrock almost to the bottom of the rim that you just ran up to Gold Bar viewpoint. Just before runners reach the bottom, the course starts to climb again. If you are familiar with what an EKG pattern looks like, this pattern is what runners will be mimicking as they run the elevation gains and losses of Gold Bar Rim
. Runners are running on a trail at about a 45-degree angle. This section will require you to dig deep and push through the pain you'll inevitably be experiencing.