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Marquette Trail 50

August 16 - August 17

runner at Marquette Trail 50
Updated July 12, 2024 --

As a trail running enthusiast, the Marquette Trail 50 2024 in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is an event that stands out for its challenging courses and breathtaking scenery. Scheduled for August 16-17, 2024, this ultramarathon event features a 50-kilometer and a 50-mile race and shorter 5K and 1-mile fun runs. The Marquette Trail 50 is renowned for its demanding single-track trails that climb four prominent peaks, offering runners spectacular views of Lake Superior. The event's unique combination of technical terrain, substantial elevation gains, and vibrant community atmosphere make it a must-do for any serious trail runner. Strambecco rates Marquette Trail 50 as one of the Best Trail Running Race Events in the Midwest region and one of the Best Trail Running Race Events in Michigan.

Event & Course Info

The Marquette Trail 50 offers two main race distances: a 50K and a 50M, both starting and finishing at the Forestville Trailhead. The 50K race consists of a single 11-mile loop followed by a 20-mile loop, while the 50M race includes the 11-mile loop followed by two circuits of the 20-mile loop, run counterclockwise and clockwise. These routes are designed to test even the most experienced trail runners with their combination of technical sections, significant climbs, and stunning scenery.

The 50M race takes place on Saturday. It spans about 50 miles and has an elevation gain of approximately 5,520 feet. Runners in the 50M event will experience the same initial 11-mile loop, followed by two passes of the 20-mile loop. The course includes nine aid stations strategically placed to support runners throughout the race. The 50M race has a 15-hour time limit, and cutoff times are strictly enforced at various points along the route.

The 50K race also starts on Saturday and covers approximately 31 miles with an elevation gain of around 3,237 feet. Runners will navigate through moderate to difficult terrain, with challenging climbs up Sugarloaf, Top-of-the-World, Bareback, and Hogback peaks. Along the 50K course, five aid stations provide water, electrolytes, and basic medical supplies. The race has a 12-hour time limit, with several strict cutoff times to ensure participants' safety.

Both races fill up quickly, with registration opening each year on Black Friday at 8:00 AM EST. The 50K is capped at 350 runners, and the 50M at 175 runners. Given the event's popularity, the 50K often reaches capacity within 1-2 hours of registration opening, so early signup is essential. Note that entries are non-refundable and non-transferable, and there will be no waitlist for the event.

Area Accommodations & Things to Do

Marquette County offers a variety of lodging options, including campgrounds, hotels, and vacation rentals, and it's recommended to book early due to high summer demand. For rustic camping, the Forestville Campground has 18 campsites available for reservation. Another option is the Marquette Tourist Park, which offers modern campsites with electricity, showers, trail access, and beach access. Additionally, the Michigan DNR maintains six rustic cabins around Harlow Lake, located about 13 miles from the Start/Finish area, and close to the race course and Harlow Lake Aid Stations. These cabins provide a convenient and rustic lodging option for those participating in or attending the Marquette Trail 50. More camping options include Heritage Hills or this private Northern Oasis.

For those that prefer to sleep in a bed, there are plenty of hotels in and around Marquette, including Superior Stay Hotel, the Staybridge Suites, and Nestledown Bed & Breakfast. Alternatively, if you enjoy cooking your own meals in a kitchen, there are also a plethora of vacation rentals, from modern cabins to well-equipped cottages.

In regards to food, visitors will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of options available in this northern Michigan town, from traditional German cuisine and brew at Steinhaus, to trendy Zephyr Winebar & Cafe and Velodrome Coffee Co. for your morning java.

Those that are making a longer trip out of the event will not be bored with the amount of activities available to them in this part of Michigan. From trail running through lush forests to kayaking on the pristine waters of Lake Superior and experiencing the rush of mountain biking on world-class trails, Marquette, Michigan, and its surroundings offer outdoor athletes a wide array of exhilarating activities to enjoy during the summer months.

Marquette’s Noquemanon Trail Network offers a paradise for outdoor athletes, particularly trail runners. With over 50 miles of interconnected trails winding through diverse landscapes, you’ll find trails suitable for every skill level. Start your adventure with a run along the Carp River Trail, which follows the scenic Carp River and leads to panoramic overlooks. For a more challenging experience, take on the Easier Said Than Done trail, known for its technical terrain and breathtaking views of Lake Superior. The well-maintained trails are a mix of singletrack, rocky sections, and lush forests, making for an exhilarating trail running experience.

Marquette’s proximity to Lake Superior and its surrounding inland lakes offers a haven for kayaking enthusiasts. Launch your kayak into the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior and explore the striking shoreline, witnessing awe-inspiring rock formations and stunning cliffs. For a more tranquil experience, paddle along the serene waters of Teal Lake, surrounded by lush forests. Adventurous souls can try sea kayaking, an exhilarating way to encounter the lake’s waves and currents. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced paddler, Marquette’s waterways provide an unforgettable kayaking experience.

Those who need a little more dirt under their tires will find their haven at the Marquette South Trails. These world-class mountain biking trails cater to various skill levels, ensuring an exciting experience for everyone. Start with the “Gorge-ous” trail, a beginner-friendly option that combines flowing sections with mild challenges. Advanced riders can tackle the “Down Dogger” trail, renowned for its technical features and thrilling descents. The diverse network offers everything from smooth berms to rocky drops, keeping mountain bikers engaged and enthralled. The breathtaking scenery of dense forests and occasional lake views adds an extra layer of magic to your mountain biking adventure.

Lastly, we recommend that all first timers to the “U.P.” make time to visit Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to have your mind blown from its stunning natural beauty, just over an hour drive from Marquette.

Related Events

Multi-sport athletes looking for other premier races and events in Marquette (like Ore to Shore (O2S)), all of Michigan and the broader Midwest region can take a peek at all of our related Strambecco Best rated event guides:

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Marquette, Michigan

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Summer
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