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Pioneer Loop

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.5 (20) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

7.8

Miles

12.5

KM

95%

Singletrack

1,184' 361 m

High

783' 239 m

Low

704' 215 m

Up

709' 216 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

17%

Max Grade (10°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Unknown

Features -none-

Overview

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.

Description

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.

Contacts

Shared By:

Leslie Kehmeier

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 20 votes

#619

Overall
  4.5 from 20 votes
5 Star
45%
4 Star
55%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#21

in Michigan

#619

Overall
197 Views Last Month
3,872 Since Jun 24, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

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Photos

Tight, dark and dense forest on Pioneer Part 1.
Jul 6, 2015 near Trowbri…, MI
A little bit of berms goodness on Freak N Nature trail.
Jul 6, 2015 near Trowbri…, MI
The bench at the Pioneer Overlook is also a technical trail feature!
Jul 6, 2015 near Marquette, MI
A berm to roller combination on Eh Line trail.
Jun 26, 2015 near Marquette, MI
South Marquette Trails Red Pioneer Loop, "Greywalls East".  A very flowing and scenic 3 mile section with many bridges and some rocks to make it interesting.
Nov 17, 2015 near Trowbri…, MI

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Check-Ins

Jun 22, 2020
Benjamin Jack
Parking lot to campground. Awesome ride! 8.1mi — 1h 07m
Oct 26, 2019
Toshi Tanaka
Sep 10, 2019
Andrea B
Pioneer Loop was a riot, but a little tricky to find. First part was pretty technical and then flowing for the rest. The best treat was Freak N Nature 7.3mi
Aug 23, 2019
Darrin Purcell
Jul 19, 2019
Patrick Gallagher
Jul 18, 2019
Anthony Raley
Jun 30, 2019
Steve Scherck
Aug 10, 2018
Jeff Wentzloff