- Distance: 40 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
- Route Type: Network
- Location: Marquette, Michigan
Widely recognized for hosting some of the Midwest's most impressive biking terrains, the South Marquette Trail Network is a haven for riders seeking both adventure and scenic beauty.
- Blue Loop (Mt. Marquette Loop): Known for its daunting technical climbs and lengthy, sometimes rocky descents.
- Red Loop (Pioneer Loop): Initiates with an extended ascent up the Benson Grade, merging into the woods with a blend of single and double track. Noteworthy freeride tracks are accessible on the Benson.
- Yellow Loop (Carp River Loop): Commences with a mild gradient and a delightful downhill stretch, followed by a climb up Marquette Mountain Ski hill. The descent via "Easy Rider" justifies the preceding uphill challenge.
Credit for the meticulous maintenance and management of these trails is due to the Noquemonon Trail Network.
How to Reach
Centrally situated, the most recommended trailhead for the South Marquette Trail Network lies on the east flank of M-553, a short distance south from Marquette city. On heading southwards from Marquette, spot the trailhead on the left, post Division Street and before reaching the ski hill. A trail map stands positioned at the trailhead for the convenience of bikers.
The trails resonate with an array of experiences:
- Signage Concerns: Some riders pinpointed issues with trail markings, particularly on the yellow trail.
- Trail Challenges: The recent gas line construction altered parts of the system. Rain-induced mud and inherent challenges like roots and off-camber rocks provide a true test for seasoned bikers.
- Trail Features: The trail system is celebrated for its remarkable drainage, even post rain. It encompasses everything, from elementary green loops to intricate double black jump lines. Key mention-worthy trails include Mirror Creek, Southern Cross, No Dab, Flow, Down Dogger, and the Dual Slalom Course. Each assures a unique riding experience.
- Amenities: Generous parking spaces, changing rooms, tool provisions, and shaded picnic areas at the main trailhead accentuate the overall experience.
- Scenic Splendor: The sheer beauty of certain sections leaves bikers awe-struck, with a few almost succumbing to distractions caused by the majestic surroundings.
- Freeride Adventures: Those inclined towards freeride biking have a plethora to explore, with specific mentions of the trail Flow and Your Mom offering an enticing challenge.
The South Marquette Trail Network emerges as a crowning jewel in Marquette's biking scene, with its eclectic mix of terrains and picturesque landscapes. Catering to a wide spectrum of riders, from novices to experts, this trail system stands as a testament to the mesmerizing blend of thrill and nature's beauty. Given its rave reviews, a visit is undeniably worth every pedal stroke.