Mid-August means summertime in the Rockies is at its fleeting apex. But that’s the best time of the year for running in Colorado’s high country, and it doesn’t get much better than the splendid terrain of the Elk Mountains between the iconic mountain towns of Crested Butte and Aspen. The 40 miles of trails in between served as the course of the inaugural Grand Traverse Mountain Run on Aug. 16. The running race, and concurrent mountain bike race, roughly followed the course of the Elk Mountain Traverse backcountry ski race that has been happening since 1998. If you’re interested in spending most of a day running through spectacular mountain terrain and up for 7,020 feet of climbing over 40 miles, then consider the Grand Traverse Mountain Run next August. In a region packed with amazing trail races, this one is an instant classic.
Jason Smith was one of the 89 individual finishers of the first running of the Grand Traverse, crossing in 8:55:54. He took some pictures along the journey to document his extraordinary day on the trails.
For more info and results, check out elkmountainstraverse.com/summer