Western Marquette County Mountain Biking
By Ron Stenfors
Past-President of the Range Mountain Bike Club
The Western end of Marquette County offers, arguably, some of the finest, if not the finest, mountain biking in the U.P. With the development of the Range Mountain Biking Club Trail System during the summer of 1997, the area has about 35 miles of marked, mapped trails open for biking, with more to come. The SUNTRAC (Suicide Bowl-Hill Street) trail system provides the bulk of the trails at this time, offering trails with all levels of difficulty, from beginner to expert. Hill Streets Lookout Loop, a beginners level trail, offers a couple of scenic overlooks, which give some breathtaking views of Lake Angeline. Sandi's Trail provides some serious ups and downs for the expert level biker, along with a panoramic view of some of the local mining operations. The Suicide Bowl Trails will also offer some very challenging situations to the serious mountain biker.
The Al Quaal Recreation area offers some nice rides on its Red and Blue trails. The Red trail, which starts at the ski lodge, is an intermediate level trail providing a rollercoaster type ride. The Blue trail, which starts near the tow rope building, is a beginners level trail, providing a mellow ride along scenic Teal Lake. The North Teal Lake trail, which is being developed, will offer intermediate to expert level biking along the rugged North shore of Teal Lake.
Also scheduled to be included in the trail system is the railroad grade running from Ishpeming to Champion. Starting behind Snyder Drugs in Ishpeming, the grade will enable beginner level bikers to ride all the way to Van Riper State Park. This, along with miles of logging roads, trails and secondary roads, gives bikers of all level of ability numerous choices of places to ride.
The Range Mountain Bike Club is currently seeking new members. Anyone with an interest in mountain biking (you don't have to be an expert) is welcome. Along with trail work and putting a brochure together with a map of the trails, the club sponsors Wednesday night rides which start from the Jasper Ridge Brewery parking lot at 6:00 PM. This year, there will be two separate rides, one for the more avid (advanced to expert) bikers, and one for beginner to intermediate riders.
The club will also be assisting with two major events this summer, the Iron Ore Man Triathalon in July, and the Suicide Ride Mountain Bike Race in August.
Range Mountain Bike Trail System connecting to
Al Quaal Trail (Map) and Suicide Bowl/Cleveland Trails (Map)
Mountain Biking Page
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