Founded in 1982, the Minnesota Voyageur 50 Mile Trail Ultramarathon is one of the oldest trail ultras in the nation. The race follows a rugged, varied, out-and-back course that takes runners on a journey from Carlton, MN through Jay Cooke State Park and heads northeast over difficult, rough woodland trails to Duluth, MN and back. Enjoy scenic overlooks of Duluth, MN and Lake Superior, the iconic Swinging Bridge over the St. Louis River, and the infamous Power Lines.
The start, finish, and all race day festivities will be at Carlton High School. Weather for the MN Voyageur can be extreme. There have been several years when it was hot and humid, including 2003 when it was brutally hot with 90% humidity. In other years it has been cool, in the mid-50’s, and wet. Plan for everything except snow – at least not so far!!
The Minnesota Voyageur is proudly managed by the Northern Minnesota Track Club (NMTC). For more information, see our web site at: nmtc.run
After a period of pandemic and trail-routing disruptions over the past few years, the NMTC is looking forward to a return to stability regarding our course and setup for the Voyageur 50M and Eugene Curnow Marathon. In 2022, we will be returning to a permanent course that is approx. 75% identical to our historical route. The remaining 25% includes a few adjustments, some of which were beyond our control.
The Powerlines section will no longer be part of the Voyageur 50M or Curnow Marathon races. Was this section friend, or foe? A personal opinion to be certain, which often depended on where the mercury stood on the thermometer. You’re welcome to honor its memory as you wish, whether that be a moment of silence, or by cracking open a celebratory beer (or 10).
Duluth Traverse (DT) / Valley West
We’ll be connecting Mission Creek to Jay Cooke SP (at Grand Portage) using a section of the Duluth Traverse (DT) / Valley West trail. This is winding single-track that includes a mix of rolling elevation change that’ll keep your legs honest.
NOTE: This is a multi-use trail. Probability is high that you will encounter bikes. If you use them, we recommend that you remove ear buds through this section. Bikes are quiet (as are runners), please stay engaged.
Ely’s Peak Loop Trail (Voyageur only)
We have been using the Ely’s Peak (Spur) Loop for the past couple of years. It’s relatively new, and it is awesome single track with remarkable views. We are smitten, and it will now be a permanent part of the Voyageur course.
The DWP Trail
The DWP (formerly the Duluth, Winnipeg and Pacific railway) is a wooded, gravel rails-to-trails path we will be leveraging in 2 sections – one east of Becks AS (connecting to Ely’s Peak Loop) and another further east near Spirit Mt (heading in toward the Zoo Aid Station). Using this trail will eliminate approximately 2 to 3 miles of road/asphalt.
While the retirement of the Powerlines is unfortunate, and had some ripple effects down course, we hope you will agree that we have made some tasty lemonade out of our lemon. We look forward to all of you finding challenge and enjoyment on this course for the foreseeable future.
The Curnow Marathon and Voyageur 50 mile races are cup-free races! This means that we will not have paper cups at aid stations – runners will need to carry their own collapsible cups with them for pop/electrolyte/etc. at aid stations. There are lots of great options out there!
It’s never too early to start thinking about the Minnesota Voyageur, even if you are not lacing up the trail shoes in late July. The Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultra and the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon are always in need of dedicated people who are willing to give up a few hours of their time.
Stop on in to our Volunteering area for more details, or drop us a line on our Contact Us page! There are many ways to help out – we’d love to have you on the team!
Keep in mind, volunteering at the Voyageur gets you a discounted entry to the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon, and vice versa. Come on out and see the races from both sides of the aid station table!