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5 Northern Wisconsin Races with Spectacular Scenery Happening This July

Trestle on the Bearskin State Trail

Summer in northern Wisconsin is a runner’s paradise: a labyrinth of gloriously flat roads and trails that wind through the forest and over rivers, lakes, and marshes. The weather is finally settled enough for your long run. Serenity seekers, you might see more deer, turkeys, bald eagles, and other wildlife than people or cars on your route.

While there are thousands of reasons to add running to your agenda while you are staying Up North, we get it—sometimes you need that extra push to lace up and head out the door. Registering for a race is the perfect incentive to get you on your feet. Nothing beats the electric excitement at the starting line…or the food, swag, and feeling of accomplishment at the finish. Although running in northern Wisconsin is virtually guaranteed to be a gorgeous experience, here are some races happening this July that boast particularly spectacular scenery.


Balloon Chase – 5K – July 13 – Wausau  

With hundreds of hot air balloons will be launching around you, shortly before the race start, the Balloon Chase 5K is an unforgettable event. Like the balloons above, you’ll float along this flat and fast course at the Wausau Downtown Airport in the beautiful Southeast Neighborhood. Arrive early to watch the balloons launch, and stick around for the pancake breakfast and the Balloon & Rib Fest. Yum!


Moonlight Run – 5K and Kids’ 1K – July 13 – Eagle River

An aerial view of the 2018 Moonlight Run. Photo by Justin Auestad.

The Moonlight Run takes you on an incredible journey through the moonlit streets of the quintessential Northwoods resort town, Eagle River. You’ll continue along bucolic roads past Yellow Birch Lake and Silver Lake. Lit mile markers will guide your way, but we recommend wearing a headlamp to illuminate the darkest spots along the route. Although the 5K Run/Walk starts at 10 p.m., come early to enjoy the youth carnival (6 p.m.) and the kids’ 1K fun run (9 p.m.).

The starting line at the 2018 Moonlight Run. Photo by Ashley Auestad.

Summer Rivet Run/Walk – 5K – July 14 – Superior


A waterfall and river you will see on the Summer Rivet Run course. Photos by Eve Graves.

The stunning course of the Summer Rivet Run/Walk takes adventurous runners on trails and paved roads along the river and past lakes and a 30-foot waterfall in Superior’s Pattison Park. After the race, continue exploring Pattison Park to find the highest waterfall in Wisconsin: the 165-foot-high Big Manitou Falls. This scenic race is limited to 100 participants, so register soon!


Bay Days Fun Run – 1 Mile, 5K, 10K – July 20 – Ashland

Chequamegon Bay Waterfront Trail with the bay visible just beyond.

If you are a fan of sneaking glimpses of big water during a race, the Bay Days Fun Run along the Chequamegon Bay Waterfront Trail is just the race for you. The crushed gravel and asphalt trail will bring you over a variety of terrains, with spectacular views of the Chequamegon Bay (an inlet of Lake Superior). From food and music to arts and crafts to mountain biking and a climbing wall, Ashland’s Bay Days festival has something for everyone, so stick around for a weekend of fun after the race!


Bear Cupboard Run – 1K, 5K, Half Marathon – July 20 – Minocqua

One of the many trestles you will traverse along the Bearskin State Trail.

The Bear Cupboard Run takes place on the Bearskin State Trail, a packed gravel trail that extends from Harshaw in the south to downtown Minocqua in the north. As the Bearskin State Trail is a converted rail trail, it is mostly flat—and it also happens to be one of the most beautiful trails in northern Wisconsin. You will cross several trestles overlooking streams and lakes, running through pine and deciduous forests in this race, which benefits the Lakeland Pantry and the Wisconsin Nordic Development Group.




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