Trailrunning Heaven in Utah

My family recently spent some time in the mountains of Utah, hitting two family reunions and some great trails. I hadn't planned on running too much on this trip, but I did pack my shoes and a few running things including my new Ultra Aspire pack (which I coming later).

The trip started on a small ranch in Eastern Utah. I didn't have much motivation to go far those first couple of days. There were fires in the area and running in smoke and ash isn't a very good idea, but I was able to get out for a short stretch every morning. It took some time to adjust from sea level to the mountains.

I did get in a very memorable hike with my sister, Sharlie, who is recovering from her double lung and heart transplant surgery. It is hard to believe that four months ago she couldn't walk up a flight of stairs without stopping for a rest break, and now she is hiking up the sides of mountains at close to 10,000 feet.

The next stop on the family reunion whirlwind tour was Alta, Utah where my brother-in-law's family was generous enough to let us use their lodge (I have a new favorite sister).

Alta is a resort just above snowbird and the lodge is surrounded by ski runs, pine trees, hiking trails, streams, and singletrack bliss.

Singletrack trails are the veins carved by animals, adventure seekers, and anyone who wants to get a little higher than the roads, pavement, smog and cities. Running in Alta, a small mountain resort above Salt Lake City in the Wasatch Mountains can only be described as a runner's paradise.

I woke up every morning excited to explore new trails. I was usually joined by family members and I enjoyed running and talking with both my brothers-in-law, my sister, my sister-in-law, and a few great runs with my wife. Alta sits at about 8,500 feet and all of the runs went up, some to nearly 11,000 feet. I felt like I was getting my mountain lungs by the time we had to leave.

I didn’t do any huge mileage in the mountains, mainly because I was resting for the upcoming San Elijo Hills Trail Marathon and wanted to hold back al little bit, but also because I was really enjoying the company and chance to run with my family. Most of the runs were in the hour to hour and a half range and most involved a lot of hiking up steep hills (the ratio of time spent ascending vs. descending was about 3:1) which meant running down the hills was a lot of fun. I can't wait to go back.

Thanks for reading. Here are some pictures.


  1. Dax!
    You are an inspiration!
    I'm glad you had a good time with your family and that your sister is doing so well!

    Happy Trails!


  2. Running heaven - jealous! So glad to hear you got to hike with Sharlie, you'd never guess what she endured just four months ago, incredible. Grab life and hang on to it. Your pictures make me want to grab some mountains!!!! My nearest ones are about 300 odd miles away though, so I'll have to make do with some rugged coastline instead :) Bring on the weekend!

  3. Absolutely gorgeous! Thanks for sharing amazing pictures. Makes me want to do more high-altitude trail runs myself....

  4. Those pictures are awesome Dax! They make me homesick (Seattle, WA / Ellensburg, WA). They don't really do much in the way of mountains here in VA. Your post makes me want to go back home and do some trail running.


  5. As a resident of Utah, I can definitely vouch for the Alta trails, they really are paradise.


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