Golden Leaf Half Marathon Race Review

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Trail Runner Magazine recently recognized the Golden Leaf Half Marathon as one of America’s 14 Most Scenic Races, taking runners on an eye-opening journey through backcountry trails from Snowmass Village to Aspen at the peak of Colorado fall colors. Although challenging due to high elevation and rugged terrain, it’s an experience worth having.

Elevation Gains

Stevie Kremer is a middle school counselor by day, but by night she’s an endurance running champion with an impressive list of accomplishments. She won the Barr Trail Mountain Race and Golden Leaf Half Marathon as well as setting a course record at Greenland Trail Race – starting just eight years ago and quickly rising through the ranks!

The Golden Leaf Half Marathon is one of the toughest half marathons in the United States, featuring 980 feet of elevation gain over 13.1 miles. Starting and finishing in Snowmass Village near Aspen during Colorado’s peak fall color season, it travels along mountain trails and roads, challenging and beautiful all at the same time – selling out every year due to its popularity! Known for being challenging yet breathtakingly beautiful with plenty of elevation gain throughout, the race serves as an excellent training run for full marathons or ultramarathons; or simply wanting to experience national parks while working up a sweat.


The Golden Leaf Half Marathon takes runners along some of Colorado’ most picturesque trails. Although challenging, particularly for those not used to running at altitude, this race provides an incredible way to experience Colorado’ incredible landscape and scenery – from slickrock and sandy washes to narrow canyons!

Running through mountain trails and roads during a 13.1-mile race will bring runners across mountainous terrain with several steep ascents and descents, natural obstacles such as rocks and tree roots and stunning fall color views – so participants will surely have an incredible running experience.

At an elevation of 8650 feet, this race begins on Fanny Hill near the pedestrian mall in Snowmass Village at an altitude of around 8650 feet. After climbing for roughly 400 yards along a ski area road to a maintenance building where the road divides. Runners should take the right fork, which winds around it before ascending gradually toward Dawdler Ski Run service roads before turning left to reach their respective summits.

Further Details

At this point, runners will leave the service road and follow West Government Trail to a pond at mile marker 3. After this point, runners descend the trail toward mile marker 4 where there is a permanent realignment on Snowmass Ski Area that may make some areas unfamiliar for some runners.

From here, the course will continue downhill toward Aspen where runners will experience Aspen Mountain and ski resort before eventually making its way towards Koch Park in Aspen where it will end – spectators are welcome to attend and cheer on participants!

Mary is an accomplished trail runner with fast legs. She holds several sub-3 hour Personal Best times both on the track and road as well as trails. Mary volunteers regularly at local events as well as running a women’s running group in her valley home of San Fernando Valley. In recent months she entered her first ultramarathon: Grand Traverse Marathon!

Water Stations

Trail Runner magazine named the Golden Leaf Half Marathon one of “America’s 14 Most Scenic Races,” taking runners through mountain trails and roads while at the height of Colorado’s breathtaking fall colors. This Rocky Mountains footrace presents a challenging course with 980 feet of elevation gain over 13.1, twisty miles.

As this event has been specifically planned as an out and back route with limited services along the way, runners must bring their own water supply for this race. There will be three hydration stations at mile 1.5, mile 6 and mile 11 of this course for runners’ convenience.

Note that the first aid station will now be approximately 200 yards upstream after the trail turn-off and hydration stop at Snowmass Ski Area due to Government Trail’s realignment with the ski area’s service road several years ago.

Finish Line

Trail Runner Magazine named the Golden Leaf Half Marathon one of America’s 14 Most Scenic Races and Colorado Runner Magazine named it Colorado Runner Magazine’s 2008 Best Half Marathon, making this destination race perfect for runners of experience and fitness alike.

Spanning mountain trails and roads from Snowmass Village to Aspen at peak autumn color season, it includes steep climbs and elevation gains while offering breathtaking backcountry scenery as well as amazing mountain views from start to finish at Koch Park in Aspen; start lines can be found off Fanny Hill off Snowmass Mall which can be reached via free Snowmass Village Shuttle service.

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