I try to find races when I visit family so when I was headed out to see my brother and his family I registered for the Skyline 55k in Eden, Utah! The course looked beautiful and the location quaint. I was a bit concerned about the altitude but figured I would give it a try! I love the trail running in Utah!
What is the Skyline 55k like? Are there a lot of rocks? What is the highest point on the course?
The Skyline 50k is a low key race in Eden, UT. The bus will pick you up near a field and drive you to the start which is a very beautiful and remote area! The race starts up some beautiful switchbacking single track and does start at around 5500 feet. I did not expect to feel the altitude but I did!
It was dawn when we started and what I thought was really unique is we did not need headlamps even though it was dark out! The sky was just starting to get that morning light as we followed flashing course markings to the trail. We were treated to a wonderful sunrise that lit the mountains up beautifully!
The terrain was quite runnable and everything switchbacked. I loved how the course took us over beautiful ridges where we could see hot air balloons rising in the sky! The altitude would make for some labored breathing but for most of the day the beauty made me forget about how I was feeling!
There was one long climb to the high point of the course where I became very nauseous and had a searing headache but did top out at almost 10,000 feet so it was to be expected. After the descent off of that climb we never really went above 8000 feet so it was tolerable.
The course has one more stout climb after the high point and then there is a fabulous descent that goes on forever! Luckily we were treated to awesome aid stations that would squeeze cold water on us because it was extremely hot and there was very little tree cover. The race finishes near where the shuttle picked us up and there was a wonderful post race meal as well as massages!
What kind of critters can attack me? What is the trail running in Utah like?
Bears, cougars and snakes are probably the biggest worries but I have only seen bear and they took off quickly. We also saw a bunch of moose off in the distance but they didn’t seem to care that we were passing by.
The running in Utah varies. I have run in a few places that range from nice buffed out single track to steep rocky talus. There are some great mountain runs in Utah as well! My two favorites were Mount Timpanogos and Kings Peak! The altitude was killer for me but so worth venturing up to the incredible summits!
I found the summer to be quite hot and dry and the fall to be very pleasant but chilly up high. There is a great running community in Utah and we did see other trail runners out there having fun! Utah also has a lot of bike/running paths and a variety of trail systems!
Moab and Canyonlands are another great place to run! The trails are very unique and it is cool to run around so many rock formations! I have been in the spring and fall and found both times of year to be wonderful times to visit! Moab isn’t fully open until late April (we went in early April and many places were closed for the season)
Where can I stay? Is it expensive? Can I find food that fits into my diet?
Utah is affordable to visit. Flights into Salt Lake City are reasonable and offer many time options. In the more populated areas there was a huge selection of food to choose from. As we ventured into more remote areas there were fewer choices and one area only had a pizza hut! If you are not able to be flexible with your diet you may want to have some food on hand.
The race venue had a couple of food options but I found it somewhat hard to find gluten free food. Ogden is the closet town and there is plenty to choose from there. I was staying in Eden which was beautiful but only had a couple of places to get food.
There are so many places to stay in Utah! There are chain hotels, air bnb, and campgrounds. It can get windy camping in the desert so be prepared for the possibility of a sandstorm!
Are the people strange in Utah? Can I get good beer?
NO, the people are actually very nice! I have heard so many people comment on the Mormon population. They are by far some of the kindest people I have met! They all greet you with a huge smile and are extremely welcoming!
There are some laws in Utah that affect alcohol percentage and consumption. You can read about them here. It really isn’t a big deal and did not affect my trips at all but it is important to know before going. I have known people to drive across the border to purchase stronger drinks.
Do I need to worry about the weather? Are there avalanches?
There is an avalanche danger in parts of Utah so always check before going out, even in the spring and fall. We wanted to play in the La Salles one April and there were too many avalanches!
Be aware of slot canyons as a storm many miles away can cause flash flooding and in the summer afternoon thunderstorms can happen suddenly. Often times you will be on a ridge in beautiful and sunny weather and when you top out you may be in the worst thunderstorm of your life!
I absolutely love running in Utah! The state offers such a wonderful variety of running! You can run through shaded forests, run through the aspens (in the fall they light up the forest!), run mountain tops and spectacular ridges or run through the vast desert around and through rock formations, slot canyons and open land!
Feel free to reach out with any questions! Happy running!