Steep Rock Half - Steep Rock Trail Series


Steep Rock Half Marathon

$50 early registration through August 31

$55 September 1-October 31

$60 November 1-Race day

Race Series

**Runners can sign up for all 3 races in the trail series at a discounted price!

10K/15K/Half ($100) through August 31

10K/15K/Half ($115) September 1-15

10K/15K/Half ($125) Sept. 15-29

In the third race of the series, the Steep Rock Half Marathon, runners will get to experience the largest of the three preserves, with its amazing mix of singletrack, rail trails, technical trails, the iconic Steep Rock Tunnel, a trip to the Steep Rock Summit, and three river crossings of the Shepaug River. With nearly 2000’ of climbing and descending, it will be one of the most challenging, yet beautiful half marathons you have ever run!

T-shirts will be offered to the first 100 pre-registered runners in the Half Marathon.

Refund Policy: There will no refunds and/or no transfers of your registration or bib to any other person. Entry fees collected are used to develop and produce the event, starting well in advance of the race date--including course preparation, race supplies, permits, and administration.

Location / Directions / Parking

Race Headquarters will be located at the main entrance to the Steep Rock Preserve, 2 Tunnel Rd., Washington, CT. Parking will be located to the south of the equestrian riding ring. Please DO NOT park in the main parking lot to the north of the riding ring. That parking will be for volunteers and race officials only.

Course Description

The Steep Rock Half Marathon starts near the entrance to the preserve where runners will begin with some gentle single track through the northern end of the preserve along the river before making the steep climb up to Barnes Rd. From there it’s quick trip on the pavement to rejoin with the preserve trails at the end of Ferry Bridge Rd. As runners enjoy the early miles they will pass by the old foundation of the Holiday House as they work their way on gentle tree lined downhill trails towards Spring Hill Rd. After the short, but runnable climb up the dirt road, it’s a sharp right turn back onto the single track into a less traveled part of the preserve, weaving your way up then back down to the river a couple of times. After reaching the southern part of the preserve via a winding technical rocky descent, you will find yourself on the old Shepaug Railroad rail trail before entering the iconic Steep Rock Tunnel for the first time. It’s a beautiful site and you will feel the rush of cool air upon entering. Exiting the tunnel, it’s a couple of quick turns, up a steep hill, and down towards the beginning of the Clam Shell section of the preserve. This is mostly a flat trail along the river. On the left hand side, you will see a huge boulder in the middle of the river that fell from the cliff above many years ago. About ⅔ of the way around the Clam Shell, you will come upon the first river crossing of the day, a double crossing with a small island in between. Leaving the cold water of the Shepaug River, runners will make a quick climb up the singletrack, then a sharp right turn down one of the pine tree laden sections of trail on the course towards the Hauser Footbridge, but will again cross the river at another one of the “ford” sections of the river before then crossing over the bridge to return back to the north side of the river and turning right. Some flat sandy trail along the shore and it’s time to hit some technical, rocky portion of trail before starting the climb up towards the Steep Rock Summit. It’s about a 300’ climb, but over a distance of only 4/10 mile. Upon reaching the summit, take a look to your left at likely the best view in the preserve! Then it’s down the backside on some technical rolling (with just one short climb) downhill to the river. Another quick river crossing, a short climb up, and you have reached the Steep Rock Tunnel again. After passing through this time, it’s all rail trail and flat dirt road for the final 2 miles with just a little single track in the last ½ mile. A downhill finish awaits you back near the riding ring. This course is challenging, with a mix of lush and technical single track trails, rail trail, river crossings, but a relatively fast finish!

Course Maps

Elevation Profiles


Race Day Schedule

Sunday, November 17

  • 6:30 a.m. Packet Pickup/Race Day Registration
  • 8:00 a.m. Half Marathon Race Start
  • 11:00 a.m. Half Marathon Awards Ceremony begins

Aid Stations

Will we have water and/or electrolyte drink at the aid stations for the Steep Rock Half Marathon. Steep Endurance events are "cupless" races. Runners are required to carry their own hydration bottle, pack, or cup. This policy is put into effect in an effort to reduce the amount of waste and adopt a sustainable “green” practice for the series and the sport of trail running.

Spring Hill Rd. Bridge (3.1 Miles): The aid station will be located on the west side of the bridge, before runners cross the bridge.
Steep Rock Tunnel (6.6 Miles & 11.2 Miles): The aid station will be located on the east side of tunnel as runners are exiting the tunnel.
Steep Rock Summit (9.8 Miles) The aid station will be located at the top of the climb.

Runner Rules

These rules are meant to make your experience during any Steep Rock Trail Series event a positive one. Most of these are common sense type policies that you will see at any trail or ultra race.

  • Absolutely No Littering! The vast majority of each course is on Steep Rock Association preserve land. Please respect that we are using their 3 amazing and beautiful trail systems for our races. Failure to do so could jeopardize the future of the series.
  • Race entries/bib numbers are not transferrable--hence NO unofficial runners
  • Following the marked course is mandatory. Please do not cut the course, cut any switchbacks, etc. Any runner caught doing so will be disqualified. In addition, if you get lost on the trail/road you must return to the point at which you lost the trail. The course will be well marked with ribbons and other necessary course markings.
  • Though the course will be VERY well marked, runners are ultimately responsible for knowing the course and carrying course maps if necessary.
  • Please respect others that are on the trail. Most of the trails on the course are open to the public and some are fairly well travelled (especially those in the main Steep Rock Preserve). Please announce your intentions to pass if you are coming upon a hiker or another runner.
  • If you must use the bathroom, please try to do so very discreetly a good distance off the trail before returning to the race.
  • If at anytime you intend to drop out of the race, please do so at an aid station/checkpoint by notifying the aid station captain. Surrendering your bib to the aid station captain will serve as notice of withdrawal/DNF for the race. Failure to follow these policies means somebody has to come looking for you. While this isn’t a marathon/ultra race, it is a trail race with some remote sections of trail, where we will be forced to have someone come looking for you and in some cases, local authorities (at your cost).
  • Smoking is not permitted on any of the trails or at any checkpoint by runners (probably shouldn’t be doing during a trail race anyway). Alcoholic beverages are also not permitted in any sections of the Steep Rock Preserves.
  • The use of personal music devices is strongly discouraged at this race. To enjoy all that our race has to offer and for the safety of all participants, the Steep Rock Trail Series encourages a headphone-free environment during the running of the race. We believe your race experience and those around you will be greatly enhanced by leaving the headphones at home or in the car. Running headphone-free allows opportunities to develop camaraderie with your fellow runners and to enjoy everything the race has to offer. Plus, volunteers and spectators will be on course cheering you on and providing directions to help get you to the finish line. Runner safety will be a top priority for our events.
  • SMILE and enjoy the race! You are lucky to be enjoying these beautiful trails!


Each race in the Steep Rock Trail Series will offer awards in the following age groups for both men and women:
Overall, 19 and under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and up.

Special “Steep Rock Trail Series” awards will be given in the following categories for series winners in the following categories: Overall Male/Female (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), Masters Male/Female (1st).

Medals will also be given to any participant who signs up for IN ADVANCE and RUNS in each of the three Steep Rock Trail Series events.

Post Race Celebration

You’ve just finished a super challenging course! Enjoy your accomplishment, sit back, relax, and don’t forget to cheer on all the runners coming in behind you! We will have the usual spread including bagels, bananas, pizza, non-alcoholic hydration options. **There is no alcohol permitted in any of the Steep Rock Association Preserves.