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blue Pioneer Loop

  4.6 ( 14 ) Favorite


7.8 mile 12.5 kilometer loop
95% Singletrack


Ascent: 704' 215 m
Descent: -709' -216 m
High: 1,184' 361 m
Low: 783' 239 m


Avg Grade: 3% (2°)
Max Grade: 17% (10°)


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Trail shared by Leslie Kehmeier


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One of two big loops on the western side of the South Marquette Trails.

Leslie Kehmeier

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


Also known as the Red Loop, the Pioneer Loop is a combination of cross-country style and flow trails on the west side of the South Marquette Trail system. The ride winds its way through a fair amount of dense forest with the exception of Pioneer Overlook.

The route can be ridden in either direction, but pedaling clockwise takes advantage of the fun and playful descent on Freak N Nature.


Start this ride at the South Marquette main trailhead, pedal out past the map kiosk and turn left onto the South Parking Connector to cross the highway. Continue up Benson Grade to the penstock at the top end.

Stay straight at Pioneer Loop Part 1, rolling out along moderately rooty trail into the forest.

The trail drops slightly into the forest and then follows a fairly straight course into an extended stand of hemlocks. As the route approaches an intersection with an old doubletrack, it becomes very twisty. Take note of your speed as it will be hard to fit your handlebars through at times.

The technical nature of the trail continues past the intersection for a bit and then mellows out to standard legacy cross-country style trail all the way to an intersection with Green Loop and Two Track Alley.

Continue straight here as Freak N Nature nature starts, first climbing as a cross-country style route and later transition to a descent with plenty of berms, turns and small rollers.

Stay left at the top end of Two Track Alley and enjoy the few last carving features before the intersection with Greywalls.

The west Greywalls section twists and turns in dark forest along an extended rock wall on narrow singletrack. The route follows the top of a drainage, eventually turning north and descending through uniform trees to a road intersection.

Continue straight and notice a golf course on your right. The trees canopy is slightly open here and the trail is more roots than rocks. As the route reaches it's most northern point and bends back to the south, you'll encounter a some open swaths of forest from a long power line cut.

The eastern side of Greywalls starts at the lowest point of the trail and crosses a few wet areas with short boardwalks. The climb out starts with some longer sections of bridging. The top of the climb is a cantilevered section around a large rock outcropping.

From here, stay left and pedal through Pioneer Overlook, a distinct section that breaks out of the trees, climbing and descending an open and grassy knoll.

Keep left at the next two intersections, Pioneer Overlook Connector and Pioneer Overlook - Mossy Connector to a crossing over the highway.

Duck back into the forest for one last bit of forest singletrack on Mossy before regaining the bike path and pedaling back to the start of the ride.

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Need to Know, Dogs Allowed, Features, E-Bikes Allowed, History & Background


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Jul 18, 2019
Anthony Raley
Jun 30, 2019
Steve Scherck
Aug 10, 2018
Jeff Wentzloff
Jun 26, 2018
Carl K
First South Marquette trail ridden. As a “flat lander” This was a treat! MTB project got me back on Pioneer main trail after veering off grade!
Oct 2, 2017
Matthew Bohm
Sep 5, 2017
Noah Anderson
Pioneer loop 7.8mi
Nov 7, 2016
Jake Larkin
Oct 9, 2016
Melissa Santini

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 14 votes


  4.6 from 14 votes
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in Michigan


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