The Birkie Trail Run Half Marathon course starts and finishes on a 1.5 mile out-and-back on the Birkie Ridge Spur Trail with a single counter clockwise loop in the middle. The heart of the loop is on the Birkie Trail which is a wide and grass-covered trail built for cross country skiing. The profile is famous for its relentless terrain changes. The ups and downs, though relatively short in height difference, are steep, many in excess of 20%. There are no huge, mountainous climbs, but the many small steep climbs add up to a lot of vertical. There is a three mile section of singletrack which features a dirt surface that is relatively smooth with occasional stones and roots. This section includes the second longest climb on the course, but it is significantly less steep than the climbs on the Birkie Ridge Trail
and Birkie Trail.
The course originates at the Birkie Ridge Trailhead. There are no facilities at the trailhead. The course visits two other trailheads, Boedecker Road and Seeley Fire Tower, both of these trailheads have drinking water.
Start in the grassy field of the Birkie Ridge Trailhead following the mowed path along the southern treeline, following the green Birkie Ridge Trail
signs. The Birkie Ridge Trail
is a wide, grass-covered ski trail that climbs steady for 1.5 miles to the intersection of the Birkie Skate Trail
Turn right onto Birkie Skate and follow the red signs. This section has some of the biggest, steepest terrain on the course with many pitches over 15%. Follow the wide, grass-covered Birkie Skate Trail
to the cabin at the Boedecker Trailhead. Here, you'll cross the gravel Boedecker Road and continue south for 0.6 miles where you make a left on a short cut-over to the Birkie Classic Trail
. Follow the blue signs north for 1.5 miles back to Boedecker.
Continue north on the Birkie Classic Trail
for 0.5 miles to the intersection with the Seeley Pass singletrack. Turn right onto Seeley Pass. After a quarter mile, the trail intersects the gravel Seeley Fire Tower Road. The trail make a short job to the right on the road and then back left into the forest. In a short while, the trail reaches a clearing that was once a CCC camp ball field. At this point, the trail name change to Flow Mama. Continue on Flow Mama as the major ascent to the high point begins.
Flow Mama crosses an ATV road and shortly after crosses Birkie Classic Trail
. Continue to climb after the Birkie Classic intersection until the trail meet the the Birkie Skate Trail
at the high point. Take a left onto Birkie Skate and a sharp descent to the cabin at the Fire Tower Trailhead. Continue the descent on Birkie Skate with a few sharp, steep climbs back to the Birkie Ridge intersection. Go right on to Birkie Ridge Trail
back to the start.
The course traverses through some of the finest forests in Wisconsin, including sandy pine forests, deep hardwoods, and spruce/fir boreal transition forests.
The Birkie Trail Run is annual tradition since 2001. This course for the half marathon has been used since 2015.