Unique beauty, amazing wildlife and a personal struggle! All these elements of true adventure will reward racers who are willing to brave the strenuous Desert RATS journey with Gemini Adventures. This amazing Moab trail marathon covers a vast landscape and ancient obstacles in the rugged and stunning beauty of the Kokopelli Trail. Desert RATS is more than just a race. It is not only a journey through true backcountry desert but within yourself. At Desert RATS, the adventure is the goal.
The Desert RATS 150 is a six-day supported foot race that covers a distance of approximately 143 miles. Now in our 18th year, the Desert RATS 150 is the longest-running stage race in North America. During the entire event, we will have a full medical staff of doctors specializing in expedition medicine, experienced base camp, and aid station crews to support our racers. We designed the toughest race possible then put together the infrastructure and a caring professional crew to get you safely to the finish line.
While some will race, others are there to test their mental and physical limits. Don’t expect to set personal records for the distance you’ll cover; you will need to pace yourself for the heat and terrain. You must have patience and grit. The race is about the experience, pushing yourself and making friends along the way. The racers who truly enjoy this trail race to Moab and gain from the experience are those who appreciate the beauty of the land, the camaraderie of other adventurers, and the thrill of relaxing in the Colorado River at the end of the day.
Each day’s stage finisher will receive a dog tag memento of that day’s journey.
The overall first place in male and female categories for the stage races will receive champion awards and comp entries to next year’s event. 2nd – 5th place male and female awards will also be given.
All non-placing finishers of the entire course within cut-off times will receive a finisher’s award.
All racer’s finishing with a total of less than 30 hours will receive a sub 30-hour finisher’s award.
2024 Race Registration will open June 2023
10:00 am on first day & staggered start times for each stage
Kokopelli Trailhead in Loma Valley, CO
Slickrock Parking Lot in Moab, UT
Varies by stage. Final cut-off at 4:00 pm on Saturday.
Our Desert RATS competition will start at the Kokopelli Trailhead in Loma Valley of Colorado and racers will finish 6 days later at the Slickrock Parking Lot in Moab, Utah. Transportation from Moab to race start will be provided for racers.
There will be limited parking spots across from the Gonzo Inn where Desert RATS racers will be able to park for the week. Parking spots will be assigned to those requested one on their surveys. All additional parking will be assigned at racer check in. There will also be minimal parking available at each base camp for your family/support crew. Please notify us before the start of the race if you plan to have crew or visitors at base camps along the trail.
There will be a Sunday night pre race meeting in Moab at Gonzo Inn.
Entry fees covers all meals and camping, a racer’s shirt, transportation from Moab to race start, general ground assistance (tents, food, and water at each stage), technical support, medical assistance, and a finisher’s memento.
We will additionally have shirts and hats available to purchase at check-in and throughout the event.
See more information on our refund policy below.
Spots are limited for our upcoming Colorado marathon to Moab! This trail race is unlike any other in the country and spots are limited. Reserve your place in the Desert RATS 150 today!
To register, applicants must submit the following documents:
- Completed registration forms
- Personal information form (Emailed to you after your registration has been accepted)
- A medical certificate to be completed by applicant’s physician (to be dated no more than 28 days prior to the race and brought to check-in)
- 2 passport size photos with applicant’s name on the back (to be brought to registration)
Racers will run from Loma, Colorado to the world-famous Moab, Utah along the beautiful 143-mile Kokopelli trail. Distances will range from day to day between 9 and 42 miles. This is a grueling event that will challenge the most seasoned athletes, yet it is designed so that less experienced ultrarunners can train for and successfully complete the course. The entire length of the trail is stunningly beautiful with jagged canyons and breathtaking vistas.
Racers will rendezvous in Moab, UT on Sunday to receive their Expedition Journals with detailed course directions and final race instructions. Early on Monday, runners will be transported to the start line near Loma and head off for the first of six days. Each day runners will be greeted at the finish line and directed to the tent city where they can mingle, access their gear, enjoy a hot meal provided by Gemini Adventures, and rest up for the next day. Each morning runners will rise for a light breakfast, also provided by Gemini Adventures, and an early morning start of the next stage from the site of the tent city.
Racers will experience a total elevation gain of 16,280’+ and the entire trail race from Colorado to Moab is broken out into 5 stages.
Day 1: (19.8 miles – 2040’+ Gain – Low Point 4452′ – High Point 5013′)
From Loma to Rabbit Valley, this section is truly one of the most beautiful sections of the entire course. Amazing canyons and overlooks make this section a great way to start the race.
Two aid stations will be available:
- 6.0mi – Crossroads Aid Station
- 13.7mi – Salt Creek Aid Station
- 19.8mi – Rabbit Valley (Stage 1 Finish)
Day 2: (38.7 miles – 2520’+ Gain – Low Point 4170′ – High Point 5023′)
From Rabbit Valley to Fish Ford, you will get your first taste of how remote this trail could make you feel. A climb to the top of the mesa will add a nice steep half mile challenge in the middle of the day.
Five aid stations and one water drop will be available:
- 5.0mi – Rabbit Valley Aid Station
- 13.1mi – Mesa Aid Station
- 17.5mi – Westwater Aid Station
- 21.4mi – Water Only
- 28.2mi – Cottonwood Wash Aid Station
- 34.2mi – Boat Landing Aid Station
- 38.7mi – Fish Ford (Stage 2 Finish)
Day 3: (9.3 miles – 761’+ Gain – Low Point 4124′ – High Point 4432′)
No aid stations will be available on the section between Fish Ford and Highway 128. As you enter the trail, you will travel through remote rolling cow pastures and over slick rock, until you finally make the climb away from the river. Although there are many twists and turns, the footing is good and will make it a short and fast day, allowing more time to anticipate the Expedition Stage to follow.
Day 4: (41.4 miles – 7810’+ Gain – Low Point 4118′ – High Point 8589′)
This stage is the Expedition Stage and is what this race is all about. The day starts with a steep five mile climb away from the Colorado River. The Canyon aid station will be a welcome site at that point and acts as the kick-off for the most remote section you will experience. After the second aid station, the trail widens and will be pleasant as the temperatures cool. A fast downhill paved section is the reward for all the climbing earlier. This is the only stage where racers will be allowed to travel in the dark, therefore racers will have more required gear during this stage. Front runners will need to push the pace during this section because such a long stage could make or break a racers time. For those looking to just survive, the cut-off times will be lenient.
Four Aid Stations will be available:
- 5.5mi – Top of the World Aid Station
- 17.8mi – Onion Creek Aid Station
- 30.2mi – Beaver Mesa Aid Station
- 33.7mi – Gateway Aid Station
- 41.4mi – Rock Castle (Stage 4 Finish)
Day 5: Rest Day
To close out the Expedition Stage, racers will enjoy a day of recovery and fun at Sandy Beach alongside the Colorado River. Swimming in the river, hiking, napping on the beach and more are all options during this recovery time.
Day 6: (26.0 miles – 3150’+ Gain – Low Point 4642′ – High Point 8320′)
A wonderful finish to such a challenging race: you’ll endure a full marathon finishing at the Slickrock parking lot in Moab. A staggered start will allow all the front and back of the pack to share the trails together for an exciting finish. Starting with the steep climb on pavement, this section will allow beautiful views of the La Sal mountains and Fisher Valley to the east. A gradual downhill on Jeep Road brings you to the Slickrock trail parking lot and the finish line.
Three Aid Stations and one water drop will be available:
- 6.3mi – La Sal Aid Station
- 9.8mi – Water Only
- 15.0mi – Porcupine Rim #1 Aid Station
- 19.5mi – Porcupine Rim #2 Aid Station
- 26.0mi – Slickrock Trailhead (Stage 5 Finish)
4:00-6:00p – Registration/Gear Check @ Gonzo Inn
7:30p – Pre-Race Meeting @ Gonzo Inn
Mon: (breakfast will be on your own)
7:30a – Meet in Front of the Gonzo Inn
8:00a – Bus Departs for Start Line (gear must be separated and you must be ready to run)
10:00a – RACE START!!!! (water and toilets will be available)
5:30p – Stage 1 Cut-Off
5:30p – Dinner
7:30p – Evening Announcements
6:00a – Breakfast
7:30a – First Wave Start of Stage 2
8:00a – Second Wave Start of Stage 2
1:15p – Westwater Cut-Off
4:30p – Cottonwood Wash Cut-Off
7:30p – Dinner
8:00p – Stage 2 Cut-Off
8:30p – Evening Announcements
6:30a – Breakfast
8:00a – First Wave Start of Stage 3
8:30a – Second Wave Start of Stage 3
12:00p – Stage 3 Cut-Off
12:00p – Lunch
5:00p – Dinner
7:00p – Evening Announcements
6:00a – Breakfast
7:00a – First Wave Start of Stage 4
8:00a – Second Wave Start of Stage 4
3:00p – Onion Creek Cut-Off
6:00p – Dinner available at Base Camp
9:00p – Gateway Cut-Off
Midnight – Stage 4 Cut-Off
(morning snacks available)
9:30a – Brunch
12:00p – Optional Beach/Hike/Activities
6:00p – Dinner
7:00p – Announcements
6:30a – Breakfast
8:00a – First Wave Start of Stage 5
8:30a – Second Wave Start of Stage 5
11:00a – La Sal Cut-Off
1:00p – Porcupine Rim #1 Cut-Off
2:30p – Porcupine Rim #2 Cut-Off
4:00p – Final Cut-Off
7:00p – Post Race Party at Red Cliffs Lodge
Suzanna Bon (2011) 3:33
Ryan Guldan (2018) 2:33
Ashley Arnold (2013) 7:09
Allen Belshaw (2008) 5:08
Ashley Arnold (2013) 1:15
Ryan Guldan (2018) 1:05
Becky Kirschenmann (2015) 8:09
Ryan Guldan (2018) 7:30
*Becky Kirschenmann (2014) 10:11
*Shaun Martin (2009) 8:40
Becky Kirschenmann (2015) 3:55
Scott Jamie (2008) 3:23
Becky Kirschenmann (2015) 22:55
Ryan Guldan (2018) 21:02
*Suzanna Bon (2011) 25:45
*Shaun Martin (2009) 21:27
What Does Gemini Adventures Provide?
We will provide tents, meals, and on-trail safety for racers. In the morning, breakfast will be provided prior to the race start. Racers will make their own sandwiches the night before each stage and will be available at a designated aid station on the course as lunch the following day. A hot, full meal will be provided at camp each night. Sleeping and overnight supplies will be transported to the finish line/Base Camp for the racers. Each racer is limited to one 50L bag. Racers may bring their own tent, but are then responsible for set-up and break-down.
We will also provide unlimited water for drinking purposes and limited evaporative cooling (no bathing). Water will be available at the start of the stage each morning, aid stations, and water drops. Each racer must bring their own drinking containers as cups will not be provided. Each night’s camping area will have opportunities for rinsing off in a river (except for the first night).
What Gear Do I Need to Bring?
Each participant must present all required gear at Check-In, and specific gear will be spot-checked at Aid Stations throughout the race.
- Capability to carry 140oz of liquid
- Expedition Journal (supplied by Gemini Adventures)
- One lightweight survival blanket
- Salt tablets
- Emergency mirror
- Small flashlight with spare batteries
- Knife with folding blade
- Emergency strobe light – visible up to 2mi. USCG/SOLAS approved.
- 2 luminous signal (glow) sticks (expedition stage only)
You are additionally required to bring night supplies, which will be transported for racers by Gemini Adventures between each stage (fitting into one 50L bag, sleeping bag included). These include:
- Sleeping bag
- Sleeping pad
- Warm clothing
- Eating utensils (i.e., plates, spoon, fork, cup etc.)
Is Night Travel Permitted?
The 43-mile Expedition Stage is the only stage where night travel is permitted. Racers are required to carry glow sticks and flashlights.
What is the Starting Order?
All participants will start together on the first stage. Stages 2-5 may have staggered starts according to cumulative time, with the back half of the field beginning earlier and the times adjusted at the finish line. This is to minimize the wait time at the finish line. If, on the last stage, there is a close race between the first and second place, we will do a “rabbit” start ensuring the first person to cross the finish line is the winner of the entire race.
Are There Penalties?
Gear: If a racer cannot show mandatory gear, he/she will be penalized 1 hour in addition to the time it takes to gain possession of these materials. If this penalty puts the racer over the allotted time, he/she will be eliminated from that stage and the official standings. If the gear cannot be obtained, the racer(s) will be eliminated from the race.
Food & Water: Each competitor must in all circumstances carry a minimum of 1000 calories and 80oz of liquid. This means racers must enter each Aid Station with at least 1000 calories of food and leave each Station with 80oz of water. When spot checks are made, any competitor unable to present the minimum will receive a 1 hour penalty.
Race Stage Start: Timing for each stage begins with an official start time. If for any reason a participant is late to the start, he/she will be on the running clock.
Cut-Offs: A racer who exceeds the maximum allowed time for any daily stage or fails to make any individual aid station cut-off will not be an official finisher for the stage race, but may still receive credit for individual stages completed within the time limit.
Expedition Stage (approximately 43-mile stage): During this stage, any use of distress signals without valid reason will be subject to a 1 hour penalty.
Leaving the Trail: Under no circumstances are racers permitted to intentionally leave the trail. At the race director’s discretion, penalties may be waived for getting lost, but by default a 1 hour penalty will be given for the first time a racer leaves a trail. If the racer leaves the trail again, they may be removed from the course and eliminated from the race.
Drugs: Any use of illicit drugs by a participant noted by the medical team will result in the elimination of that participant from the race.
Ground Assistance: The use of any mechanical transportation will result in elimination from the race.
Trash: Any littering by a participant will result in elimination from the race.
Can I Appeal Race Decisions?
Every night there will be a staff meeting. Any race decision can be appealed and must be presented to the staff before the nightly meeting in order to be discussed that night. Upon discussion, a decision will be made shortly thereafter. Appeals regarding missed cut-offs must be made before the nightly meeting in order to gain access to the following day’s stage.
What Should I Know About Aid Stations?
Aid Stations are located throughout the course of each stage of the race. There are up to five aid stations per stage determined by the length of the stage. The participants must allow the race officials to record their time and undergo a gear/medical check.
What Weather Should I Expect?
The 143-mile course encounters a wide variety of terrain (e.g., sand, rocky desert, stony ground, etc.). In case of sand storms lowering visibility to zero, the racers must stop in their tracks and wait for instructions from the event organizers.
Gemini Adventures reserves the right to modify the course and the length of the various stages as a result of unfavorable weather conditions or regulations in certain areas.
Throughout the day and the entire course, you can expect these types of temperatures in June:
- Daytime: 95 F
- Record high: 113 F
- Night: 58 F
- Record low: 37 F
Will There Be Medical Assistance Available?
A crew of medical doctors specializing in expedition medicine and heat related illnesses will be in attendance throughout the race and will use assistance vehicles throughout the course. Medical personnel will be available each day and will ensure that any participants who are suffering from physical ailments have the option to be brought back to the base camp. The medical team is allowed to remove any participant from the race if they feel the participant is physically unfit to continue the race.
What’s our Cancellation/Refund Policy?
- Cancellations prior to January 1 qualify for a refund of 50%.
- Cancellations between January 1 and April 1 qualify for a refund of 30%.
- Cancellations on or after April 1 do not qualify for refunds.