Early season UP weekend, Marquette or Copper Harbor?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Early season UP weekend, Marquette or Copper Harbor?

    Looking to start the season with a weekend trip to the UP. Their trails are far more water resistant than ours here in Duluth, plus they are awesome!

    Anyone have any knowledge of which one is likely to be rideable sooner, or will ride better in the early season, just as the snow is melting?

  2. #2
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    The Marquette area usually gets less snow than the Keweenaw and therefore has a marginally smaller snowpack which will then melt a bit earlier. Also, warm south or southwest winds in the spring can pump warm air into the Marquette area while the Keweenaw is still stuck in the cool Lake Superior marine layer. So my advice would definitely be to head to Marquette.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, thatís a good point. Do you know if the Marquette trails are sensitive to damage early in the season?

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    How early in the season are you talking?

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    As early as possible. Basically as soon as most of the trial is snow free. Short patch of snow here or there is fine.
    Hoping sometime around early May, if the snow melts quickly.

    Our trails in Duluth have a lot of clay, so as long a there is frost in the ground, they get ripped apart by riding when the top layer is thawing out, itís even worse than riding wet trails from rain. This is why I was looking at the UP.

    Copper Harbor is mostly rock and gravel, they donít have any such issues, but I donít know about Marquette. I know they have a lot of sand and gravel, but donít know how their trails do in spring.

  6. #6
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    This might be a good question for the NTN Facebook group. My friend is the local IMBA rep, and I have a couple other people I could ask.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

  7. #7
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    I did just find the NTN email, so sent them an email. I asked the Copper Harbor trail Club the same a few years ago, and their answer was basically: Ď If you want to head out on the trail, suit yourself

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    Yeah, my friend who lives there just told me the trails are always open, but there are a couple of weeks where it's hit and miss. According to him, mid May is safe.

    Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk

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    Reply from NTN:
    Yes, we have more sand and gravel than you do and the trails do drain pretty good. We also have a really good snow/ice base left, so it's going to be some time before the singletrack trails are really able to be ridden with no issues. Right now we're still riding on ice and we have an extended crust season this year as well.

    We always caution everyone that if any trail that you're riding on is so soft that you're sinking or leaving a track, please don't ride on them or go around the soft spots.

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    We are still a little ways out before early riding can commence. We got snow two nights ago but not a lot. Snow depths are widely varied at this point. When I went to the north trails several days ago (hiking), we were already past the decent fat biking. The hard pack depth was all over the place. Some spots, depending on the trail, it was still 18" thick and other spots it was almost gone.

    I have not been to the south trails yet. So I don't know how they are doing on the snow melt. If we didn't get 90" of snow in February, we might have been in decent shape.

    I would hold off for a couple weeks. It is going to be mid 40's and rainy this weekend so that should help knock back the snow. Just keep checking with the NTN.

    Hope this helps.

  11. #11
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    Well, looks like hereís a good destination ;-)

    Early season UP weekend, Marquette or Copper Harbor?-454883f1-f646-4d17-9d5b-abb34d24fe81.jpg

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    Copper Harbor is still a few weeks out. You are correct that the dirt tends to be very tolerant of moisture, but the Keweenaw also gets a ton of snow that takes a while to melt. Parts may be rideable mid-May, but Memorial Day weekend is more like the official opening. There are work days scheduled the two weekends before Memorial day to clear the trails of deadfall and leaves.

    The Michigan Tech trails in Houghton may be rideable in another week or so. This was taken 10 miles south of Houghton on Saturday, but most of the snow in Houghton is gone. Lake effect snow varies a lot with elevation and distance from the lake.
    Early season UP weekend, Marquette or Copper Harbor?-img_7923.jpg

    Have you ridden Levis Mound by Neillsville, WI? That's usually my go-to for a spring dirt fix.

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the update.
    Yes, Levis is typically our early season destination. They opened 2 weeks ago, but probably closed again due to rain.
    Cuyuna also opened last weekend, but again, with all the rain at the moment, probably closed again.

  14. #14
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    Early season UP weekend, Marquette or Copper Harbor?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tjaard View Post
    Yes, Levis is typically our early season destination. They opened 2 weeks ago, but probably closed again due to rain.
    I'm planning to ride Levis on Saturday afternoon. Forecast is dry from now through the weekend. Is there a website with updated trail closures? Their Facebook page doesn't say anything, and I couldn't find any condition updates on the Clark County website.

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    I'm heading up to Marquette on May 22nd... will trails be ripping by then??

    I definitely plan on checking out the North trails this year also.

    Thanks!

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raul34 View Post
    I'm heading up to Marquette on May 22nd... will trails be ripping by then??

    I definitely plan on checking out the North trails this year also.

    Thanks!
    Marquette should be good by the 22nd. People are riding South Trails right now.

  18. #18
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    Thanks man! Appreciate the response.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raul34 View Post
    I'm heading up to Marquette on May 22nd... will trails be ripping by then??

    I definitely plan on checking out the North trails this year also.

    Thanks!
    I rode the south trails on Saturday (just down dogger and flow, however) and they were good to go.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by alx9898 View Post
    I rode the south trails on Saturday (just down dogger and flow, however) and they were good to go.
    Thanks man! Cant wait

  21. #21
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    Marquette County: South Trails, North Trails, Harlow, & RAMBA are pretty much good to go. A few wet spots to avoid, but they should have dried by the weekend.

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