Ute Mountaineer Golden Leaf Half Marathon

Presented by Adidas


September 19, 2020  8am

Registration for 2020 Golden Leaf has been changed to June 18 at 11am.
Information below is subject to change prior to June 18.

For 2019 Golden Leaf Racer Photos, click here. Available Oct 2, 2019

Chosen by Trail Runner Magazine as one of “America’s 14 most scenic races” and by Colorado Runner as 2008’s Best Half Marathon, the Ute Mountaineer Golden Leaf Half-Marathon Presented by Salomon is one of the most beautiful foot races in the Rockies. This 13.3 mile half marathon traverses from Snowmass Village to the heart of Aspen on mountain trails and roads at the height of Colorado’s breathtaking fall colors.

Overall Course Records


Open Details



Preregistration through 3pm 8/31/20 or until race participation cap reached – this was reached within hours of opening registration last year. Register online or return registration form to Ute Mountaineer in Aspen. Cost includes lunch, raffle, awards & t-shirt.

To download a pdf registration form   – click here
For Online Registration   – click here

1. Be ready to register at 11am Mountain Time – using the link above. The online portal will only allow you to register yourself when you are in the portal.
2. Once you have entered the portal, the first 1000 people to finish their registration and checkout will be registered for the race. If the race participation cap is reached while you are still filling out your registration, you will receive a message that the race is sold out when you try to check out.

Race Registration will close once the 1000 person spots have been taken. Last year this happened within 3 hours of the start of race registration.  Once the cap has been reached, race registration is available through transfer only (please see below). A waiting list will not be taken.

Race Registration Insurance

Race registration insurance is available thru when you register. This insurance program is optional and is unaffiliated with the organizers of the Golden Leaf Half Marathon (the Ute Mountaineer and the City of Aspen). Please read the policy to understand the coverage. You will receive a policy coverage confirmation email from FanShield ( This email will provide information on coverage, documentation required for claims, etc and a link to filing a claim. Please keep a copy of this email in the event you need to make a claim. If you have questions regarding the coverage you purchased you can contact Ticket Guardian at . For more information on filing a claim go to . To file a claim, go to . The Ute Mountaineer & the City of Aspen cannot answer any questions regarding this insurance.

Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search & Rescue (CORSAR) Card

Pitkin County requires that all participants obtain a valid CORSAR card for the date of the event. These are available in Aspen at the Ute Mountaineer and the Tenth Mountain Hut Association. Or they can be purchased online – please click here.

Race Registration Transfer

Transfer of registration from one person to another costs $20 and will be allowed thru August 30th. There are two ways to transfer:

Paper Transfer: The following needs to be delivered all together to the Ute Mountaineer, 210 S. Galena St, Aspen, CO 81611 by Sunday, August 30th:
1) a letter from the original participant stating the transfer, the name of the new participant & contact info of original participant.
2) A completed registration form for the new participant with the waiver signed by the new participant.
3) a $20 transfer fee (cash or check made out to the Ute Mountaineer). To download a pdf registration, click here.
******Please do not deliver these three items separately-we cannot be responsible for lost pieces of the transfer requirements.

Online Transfer: It is possible to transfer your registration through your account if you used the portal to register. If the person transferring out has purchased race insurance, this transfer process will not be possible and participant must contact
1) sign into your account.
2) Find Golden Leaf Half Marathon click “View Order”.
3) Under Manage Registration, select Transfer Registration.
4) Enter the email address of person you wish to transfer to and send.
5) Your registration will now read: Pending Transfer.
6) The new runner will receive an email asking to complete the transfer. New runner will pay transfer fee ($20) + processing fee. Once they register, the original runner ‘s registration will be cancelled. They will receive a cancellation email.
7) The registration fee of $85 for the person transferring in will not be charged by or the race organizer, nor will a refund be issued by or the race organizer to the person transferring out.  The new participant will have to reimburse the original participant for any race fees.  If the person transferring out has purchased race insurance, this transfer process will not be possible and participant must contact


Any transfer information that is not complete or is received at the Ute Mountaineer after August 30th will be sent back to the return address on the envelope.

The City of Aspen has set up a Facebook page to help people connect for registration transfers.

PLEASE NOTE: The race organizers have the right to disqualify any participant attempting to sell or buy entry (via transfer) into the race at a price higher than the original purchase price. These participants will also be prevented from entering future Golden Leaf Half Marathons. Please read waiver agreement when signing up.

Maximum Race Participation / Waves

Maximum Participation: 1000


Due to the number of participants, 6 wave starts will be used. The waves will start 5 minutes apart: Wave 1 @ 8:00, Wave 2 @ 8:05, Wave 3 @ 8:10, Wave 4 @ 8:15, Wave 5 @ 8:20, Wave 6 @8:25. You can determine which wave you are in when you pick up your bib or check back here for wave postings on Wednesday, September 16th. Wave placement will be based on historical and estimated finish times. All registrations received after Sunday 8/30 may be placed in a later wave if other waves are full. Once waves are assigned, there will be no changes made. Historical Time: Previous Golden Leaf times will be used for wave placement unless the runner has has not participated in this event before. Historical times will be looked at for all competitors.

Estimating Your Time: Typically you can add 30 minutes to road half marathon with no elevation gain (more if you are unaccustomed to an elevation of 8000 feet). Another way to estimate your time is to compare yourself to how racers finished in 2019. Out of 751 finishers in 2019, the following results were achieved: 1st place – 1hr 26min; 50th place – 1:56; 100th place – 2:05; 188th place (top 1/4) – 2:18; 376th place (middle of the pack) – 2:37; 564th Place (top 3/4) – 2:56. Please try to be realistic with your time as this will allow the waves to work properly and reduce congestion on the course.

If a time is not entered, participant will be placed in the final wave.

Race Cancellation

The Golden Leaf has been cancelled 2 times in 40 years (in 2006 & 2016) – due to snow and treacherous conditions. Under such conditions, every effort will be made to hold the race, but the director reserves the right to delay, shorten or even cancel the event. There is also the possibility that the United States Forest Service can cancel the race if the trail conditions could lead to irreparable damage to the trail or safety issues. There will be no refunds in the event of race cancellation.


For registration questions not answered by this website, please contact Please do not request entry into the race once registration has closed due to filling the race participation cap of 1000 people.


Open Details

Start: The race starts at 8:00 (NEW TIME) on Fanny Hill at the end of the Snowmass Village Mall. In an effort to reduce congestion on the race course, there will be 6 wave starts. Wave placement will be based on historical and estimated finish times. Waves will be posted prior to packet pick-up the week before the race. You can determine which wave you are in when you pick up your bib or by checking back on this website. If you do not provide a time, you will be placed in wave 6. The waves will start 5 minutes apart: Wave 1 @ 8:00, Wave 2 @ 8:05, Wave 3 @ 8:10, Wave 4 @ 8:15, Wave 5 @ 8:20, Wave 6 @ 8:25. For directions to the start, please see the “TRAVEL” section.

Finish: The finish line for the course is at Koch Park in Aspen.

Hydration Stations/Cut-Off Times

Hydration stations with medical assistance & beverages will be available at approximately 1.75, 6.5 and 10.5 miles. This is a running race (not walking). Cut-Off times are approximately 40 min at the 1.75 mile mark (1st Station), 1 hr 10min at the 4 mile mark (where the Government Trail leaves the Elk Camp Ski Area Rd) and 3 hours at the 10.5 mile mark (3rd station). If you cannot achieve these times, you will be asked to exit the race course and medical personnel and sweeps will pass by you.

Course Description

The course description below is for the 2019 race. Changes in the course may be necessary – please check back in September for a final course description.


Course Map: To download a course map, please click here.

Course Description 2019: The Golden Leaf starts on Fanny Hill just off the pedestrian mall in Snowmass Village at an elevation of about 8650ft. The course climbs up a ski area access road about 400 yards to a large maintenance building where the road splits. You will take the road that wraps around behind the building (going to the right). The road is fairly flat here for a few hundred yards. You will then turn left (just after passing a small beige building also on the left) onto a service road that goes up the Dawdler ski run. The uphill grind continues here. Continue climbing Dawdler to a 4-way intersection and take a left. Follow this road a couple hundred yards to a pond where there is a fork in the road. Take the right fork (the pond will be on your left) & ascend to the 1st aid station at about 1.63 miles (elevation approx. 9465 ft). The Government Trail intersects the road at this point. The West Government Trail was permanently realigned on the Snowmass Ski Area a few years ago. The Golden Leaf will be following this new alignment. The trail turn-off (and the hydration station) will now cut off about two hundred yards before the old turn-off and hydration station. The trail is still to the left (east). It follows a well cut and marked trail (called, again, Government Trail) until it meets the old trail just before the broken down footbridge that was at the old two mile mark.

The Government Trail is a single track that contours the mountainsides between Snowmass & Buttermilk before descending to the outskirts of Aspen. The trail is dirt with some obstacles (rocks, roots, etc.) and the terrain is hilly aspen forests & meadows. The 1st section is a rolling descent across Snowmass Ski Area. At about 3.25 miles, the trail merges w/a dirt road (Alpine Springs work road). Proceed downhill on this road and look for the trail to your right after 100 yards. Shortly, you will make a steady 100yd climb up a ski run to an abandoned work road. Follow this road to the left and slightly downhill until you intersect Elk Camp Road (approx. 4 miles). Turn left and go downhill on the road until you hit the Government Trail turn-off to the right. Take this to the right and you will be on the old race course alignment again. There are many signs and maps here. The course then continues on as it has in the past.

It goes down a long gradual hill to a meadow. Soon you will exit the ski area. There is a significant hill climb of about 300 ft. just before the Second Hydration Station (6.5 Miles, elevation approx. 9360 ft). Following the aid station, you are rewarded w/ some relatively flat to declining terrain.

The next landmark is a Forest Service gate (just after 8 miles) followed by a very rocky flat section. Subsequently, the course begins a gradual descent across Buttermilk and then the trail begins an extended steeper descent into Maroon Creek. One section of the downhill is a power line cut followed by an intersection with a service road. Abandon the trail and follow the road for about 400 yards, even though the trail falls steeply off to the left. The third hydration station (10.5 miles) is on this short road section. The trail from the aid station diagonals across the ski slope following first a double track then a single track until it leaves the eastern margin of the ski area. The trail then winds down to the Tiehack road which is followed to the north until taking a hard right onto the Terral-Wade bridge. After crossing the bridge the route leaves the asphalt, taking a trail to the left (thru the Moore Property). After about a mile running in the sage the route leads out onto the Maroon Creek Pedestrian bridge, takes a left onto the bike path and takes the next left onto the Castle Creek Pedestrian bridge. On the path leaving the bridge where it takes a hard left the route takes a hard right instead. Follow a single track by a pond on the right. The path goes left here and diagonals to the community garden across the parapet/hanglider landing zone. The route goes right where the access to the garden is on the left and follows double tracks to the bike path leading over the Marolt bridge. Taking a left off of the bridge onto 7th street the route leads to Hopkins Ave. where it follows the adjacent bike path a few blocks until the turn up to Little Cloud Park. After taking this turn, a hard left is taken onto the dirt path on the old train right of way. The path is followed a few hundred yards to the finish line.

PLEASE NOTE – there may be changes to the course based on ski area maintenance and USFS requirements. Please check back 3 weeks prior to the race.

Caution! This is a backcountry race course and contains many obstacles including embedded rock, loose rocks and dirt,roots, water and more. The presence of bear, moose and mountain lion may exist also. In addition to possibly hazardous trail conditions, weather conditions can change rapidly in the Aspen Snowmass area. Whereas there are volunteer medical personnel along the course and at aid stations, 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. This means carrying protective clothing in case of bad weather or injury. Rescue from an injury is not guaranteed and may be delayed due to other injuries or distance from medical personnel.

Course Profile:

Golden Leaf Course Profile

Race Details

Open Details

Race Packets

Bibs, Chips & Goody bags (including t-shirts) can be picked up at the Ute Mountaineer on Wednesday 9/16 & Thursday 9/17 9am-7pm and Friday 9/18 9am-9:00pm. They can also be picked up race morning from 6:30-7:45am at the race start. The race start location remains the same.  Race day packet pick-up location in Snowmass Village To Be Determined.


Timing Chips

Timing Chips are connected to your bib. If you lose your bib, you lose your timing chip – there is no replacement chip available. It is the racer’s responsibility to keep track of their bib/timing chip.

Race Results

Race results will be available after the races at the finish line, at the Ute Mountaineer, and on this website on the Monday following the race. Race results will be overall, by gender and by age group. The following age group categories will be used: 13 & under, 14-18, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70+.

Awards & Raffle

Awards ceremony will begin at 12:15pm after the race. The raffle will  be pre drawn and available at the finish line – just bring your bib to the tent to see if you have won anything.  Awards will be provided to the top three male and female finishers (Cash: $250 1st, $150 2nd, $100 3rd) as well as the top three finishers in each age group. All participants and volunteers are eligible for the raffle.

Food Service

Lunch is available to all race participants at the finish. Just present your race bib. This will be hole-punched to allow one time access to food. Food service begins 10:30-10:45am.

Gear Shuttle

There will be a free gear shuttle from the start of the race to the finish line. We recommend using your own day pack as that is usually easier to find at the finish line. We will have bags and markers available at the start however.

Medical Assistance

This is a backcountry race. There are many obstacles including imbedded rocks, loose rocks and dirt, tree roots, exposure, water crossings and more. Please take care while crossing these obstacles as they can result in serious injury or worse. There is no guarantee of rescue or medical attention. Each participant is ultimately responsible for their own rescue and preparation for course and weather condition. This means carrying protective clothing in case of bad weather or injury. Rescue from an injury is not guaranteed and may be delayed due to other injuries or distance from medical personnel.

There are volunteer medical personnel on the course. This is supplied by Mountain Rescue Aspen. These volunteers will be either running the course, placed at aid stations and at the finish line. Assistance, if possible, may not be immediate, so you will need to be patient. If, unfortunately, you are injured on the course, we ask that you pass word on to an aid station via other runners or wait for assistance to come. If you’re injury allows you to hike out of the race or to continue following the course, you will be asked to do so. Remember, there may be a more serious injury on the course that becomes a higher priority for medical volunteers. If you decide to exit the course on your own, please inform medical or aid station personnel.


Dehydration was prevalent during previous races. You can prevent this. Aid stations will provide 1 cup of water or Cytomax per participant. To prevent dehydration, make sure you are well hydrated in the few days leading up to the race. Also, you should consider carrying extra water similar to what you would on a long training run. Also consider bringing the electrolyte drink & gels you have used in the past and works for you.


For questions not answered by this website, please e-mail


Open Details

Directions to Start: From Hwy 82, turn south on Brush Creek Rd towards Snowmass Village. Follow Brush Creek Rd until you hit the Main Bus Stop in Snowmass Village. The Snowmass Village Mall is on the same level as the bus stop. Follow the mall to the end. There will be signs directing you to registration. The actual starting line is out on the ski area slopes at the end of the mall.

Directions to Finish: From Snowmass Village Follow Hwy 82 into Aspen where it becomes Main Street. Before the first of 4 consecutive traffic lights (just after the Molly Gibson Lodge and before Paepcke Park) turn right on Garmisch St. The race finish is at Koch Park which is on the fourth block on your right.

Parking in Snowmass Village:  There is lots of free parking in Snowmass. Lots 1-5, 8-13 are free with no time limit. Also in the Base Village parking garage -down the hill from the start.  Check back in September for any changes to this.

Shuttles: On Race Morning, from Rubey Park Bus Station in Aspen to the Snowmass Village Mall:
Please check back in September for specific race shuttle times.

After the race: Regular RFTA bus service runs all day long from Rubey Park Bus Station in Aspen to Snowmass Village at :15 after the hour starting at 6:15am


For detailed lodging information in Aspen and Golden Leaf deals, click here. Please mention that you are a Golden Leaf participant. All rooms are on a first come first serve basis. Or call Stay AspenSnowmass at 877-831-5645.