The Bear Lake Trifecta in Idaho kicks off the series on Thursday and includes a marathon and half marathon. The Water’s Edge Resort Bear Lake Marathon weekend is fast becoming one of America’s favorite destination races for those seeking to become members of the 50 State Club. By completing three races in three states in three days (all with minimal travel between races) runners can check off three states at once. Run Idaho, Wyoming, and Utah.
All start and finish lines are within a 45 minute drive from each other, which makes for simple traveling logistics and recovery between races. You can set up your “basecamp’ for lodging with Waters Edge Resort properties or at other local locations in Garden City, Utah or Montpelier, Idaho. Visit https://thebearlakeresort.comfor more lodging info.
The closest ‘big city’ to the Bear Lake area is Logan, Utah, which has hundreds of hotel rooms and is just 37 miles away from our event headquarters at Water’s Edge Resort. Montpelier, Idaho is just 20 miles north of Bear Lake and also has a several lodging options.
Transportation to and from the start and finish lines is the responsibility of the runner. The Bear Lake Marathon will not provide shuttles from various hotels to start lines.
Traveling to Bear Lake might be half the adventure for many of our runners. The Bear Lake Valley is as rural as it is beautiful. If flying, we recommend arriving at the Salt Lake City International Airport and renting a car to get to Bear Lake. You can also fly directly into the Bear Lake Valley airport, it’s smaller, and your larger and longer flights may not connect there. Other options include flying to the Pocatello, Idaho or Jackson Hole, Wyoming airports.
Bear Lake is approximately 2 hours north of Salt Lake City, 2 hours southeast of Pocatello and 2 hours south of Jackson Hole.
To keep this complicated weekend a little less complicated, the Bear Lake Marathon & Half Marathon races subscribe to the ‘keep it simple‘ theory and don’t promise a lot of bells and whistles with your races. You’ll have amazing scenery, fully supported course and great SWAG, but we don’t bother with live bands, massive stages or elaborate expos. You’re here to run and we’re here to help you do that here in the mountains!
In 2021, for safety and liability concerns, we WILL have time limits for the marathons and half marathons. The time limits for 2021 are 8 hours for the marathon and 5 hours for the half marathons.
The fastest man and women (combined times) in the Marathon and Half Marathon Trifecta series will receive a trophy like none other!
Cool awards for age group winners will also be distributed at the end of each daily race.
Due to the nature of the event, and to avoid participants waiting for awards ceremonies each day, awards for the single races will be distributed once the top 3 of each division finishes the race. We will have an official awards ceremony for the Marathon and Half Marathon Overall and Division Trifecta winners on Saturday afternoon.
Great Communication from Race Directior
We did Vacation Races Grand Teton and picked up this race on our way to do Vacation Races Yellowstone to get Idaho State! The Race Director and Staff, Volunteers are … MORE
We did Vacation Races Grand Teton and picked up this race on our way to do Vacation Races Yellowstone to get Idaho State! The Race Director and Staff, Volunteers are Amazing! Nice T-Shirt and fit true to size – Very rare these days! The course is very hilly and the altitude was a challenge for me – but still did better than I thought considering the elevation!
Convenient Race for Idaho
The Bear Lake Trifecta includes a half marathon or marathon in Idaho on Thursday, Wyoming on Friday and Utah on Saturday. I only did the race in Idaho. I had … MORE
The Bear Lake Trifecta includes a half marathon or marathon in Idaho on Thursday, Wyoming on Friday and Utah on Saturday. I only did the race in Idaho. I had already had planned to do the Grand Teton Half and Yellowstone Half with vacation races on back to back weekends and when I realized the Idaho portion of the trifecta was the Thursday in-between I couldn’t resist the opportunity to get 3 states in one trip. Packet pick-up and the suggested lodging is at Garden City, Utah on Bear Lake. It is about 2 hours from SLC which is the closest airport. It is also about 3 from Jackson, Wyoming and 4 from West Yellowstone if you are thinking of adding it to the Grand Quad. It is a bit out of the way but much less out of the way than traveling back to Idaho from the East Coast. Packet pick-up is at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa on Wednesday or the morning of the race. Packet pick-up went pretty late on Wednesday and I was able to pick up my packet then after driving from Jackson Hole in the afternoon. Packet pick-up was a little slow. The RD was extremely nice and apologized for it being slow but they were individually making the bags and didn’t have a great system in place since it was a little confusing with so many people doing different distances. Maybe separate lines for bibs, shirt and general swag bag may be quicker. It wasn’t super long or anything but it seemed like it could be more efficient. Packet included tech shirt and some goodies. If you did multiple races you got multiple shirts. Shirt is really fun and kind of 80s rock band themed with the bear logo. I stayed at the Water’s Edge Motor Lodge next to the resort. It was cheap and adequate for a night and price but wasn’t the nicest accommodation in the world. If I was doing the trifecta and didn’t spend so much on lodging in Jackson and West Yellowstone I’d probably rather stay somewhere nicer but if you are looking to save money it’s a fine option. The Idaho race is about 20 minutes from Garden City, UT and was an easy drive with easy parking. Lots of 50 states and half fanatics/marathon maniacs do this race so it is a fun one if you are a part of these running clubs. Production of the race was good but it was not the top notch production of vacation races. Although that is to be expected for a smaller race and production was better than most smaller races this size. There was a rolling start although it was an official start at 7 for the full and 7:15 for the half you could start whenever you wanted. The course is an out and back. This race is really pretty with lots of views of bear lake. It gets a bit repetitive being an out and back but it is an enjoyable course. There are also some cows. It is pretty hilly and the altitude makes it difficult but given you are probably running this along with other races the next couple days you probably aren’t going to try to PR anyways. There were a good number of aid stations. Had water and lots of snack options. More than just gels. Almost like an ultra race. I noticed there was no electrolyte drink the first half but it did appear in the second half. Not sure if it came late or if to make it last they were instructed to not serve it until later. The course was easy to follow and turn around well marked. At the finish line you get your medal. The medal is cool with the bear logo and has the specific state. It says “Idaho” really big so it is a good 50 state medal. My finishing time was about the same as Grand Teton. Again not going for a PR just trying to survive with 4 half marathons in 16 days and an injured foot. Post race snacks were pretty generic just granola bars, fruit snacks, etc. Fine for a half but I’d want something more substantial after a full. Overall I though this was a very good race and a very convenient way to get Idaho. If you are looking to get multiple states at once I would definitely recommend this race. You can do the traditional trifecta or add Idaho to the Grand Quad like I did. There were also members of the 50 states half marathon group who ran Bear Lake Idaho Thursday, Bear Lake Wyoming Friday and Yellowstone with vacation races on Saturday since they already had Utah and didn’t want as long of a trip as the Quad. One negative not related to the race so I did not let it affect my score but I think is important for people who may be planning this race is that there are very few restaurant options nearby since it is such as small town and it could be difficult to find food if you have dietary restrictions. I really couldn’t find anything vegan and had to cheat. If you do have strict dietary restrictions such as strict vegan or celiac I’d recommend getting lodging that has a kitchen and buying groceries in Salt Lake City and planning to prepare a lot of your meals on the trip.
3 races in 3 states in 3 days
Bear Lake Trifecta-3 races, 3 states, 3 days The Bear Lake Trifecta offered both full and half marathon options. I chose half marathon, with Idaho being on Thursday, Wyoming on … MORE
Bear Lake Trifecta-3 races, 3 states, 3 days
The Bear Lake Trifecta offered both full and half marathon options. I chose half marathon, with Idaho being on Thursday, Wyoming on Friday and Utah on Saturday. We stayed in Garden City, Utah, which was a quaint and very friendly little town. The Idaho race was 25 minutes away from there, the Wyoming race was 50 minutes away and the Utah race was in Garden City itself. There were plenty of beautiful views in the area, including Bear Lake itself. We even went to the Teton mountains, about 3 hours away.
The T-shirts were tech material, with all featuring the same design. The bear logo and state name were a different color to designate which state it was for. The finishers medals were the same shape and design for each state. The ribbon and bear logo on the medal were different colors, depending on the state.
Each race was a timed out and back, with a rolling start and 100-120 runners completing the half marathon distance. Each race had water/aid stops roughly every two miles, with a porta potty every other water stop. A deejay welcomed runners back as they finished each race. The age group awards were just like the finishers medal, but were gold, silver or bronze. Runners who completed all 3 races received a nice medal hanger featuring the bear.
This series of races was difficult for me, but not because of the 3 races/3 states/3 days. I was not accustomed to the altitude (6000-6500 feet above sea level). While not sore at all, my legs felt like they just did not want to move, from the very beginning! I was surprised by just how much the altitude slowed me down.
Idaho-Idaho had the best views, especially of Bear Lake. My watch registered over 500 feet of gain. The mountains provided some shade early, but the race ended with lots of sun exposure.
Wyoming-Wyoming was the flattest of the three, yet my watch still registered over 380 feet of gain. Wyoming was also the coolest of the three days.
Utah-Utah had the longest and steepest hills and was my least favorite of the 3 races. My watch registered over 600 feet of gain. This course started in the middle of town, so we didn’t get the great views until after mile 4. The middle 3 or so miles was on dirt/rock trail that went up in the hills of sagebrush. We had to watch our steps, not just for rocks and ruts, but also cowpies!
I’m glad I completed this series but was even more glad when it was done…the running anyway!
Beautiful race, awesome race directors!
Location: Bear Lake is a beautiful area to spend a few days! Course: The Idaho course is an out-and-back on a paved road right beside the lake. The views are … MORE
Location: Bear Lake is a beautiful area to spend a few days!
Course: The Idaho course is an out-and-back on a paved road right beside the lake. The views are spectacular! There are some small, rolling hills, but nothing too difficult. Aid stations are plentiful and well-stocked. I don’t need crowd support, but if you do, you’ll need to bring your own! There’s little to no support out on the course.
Logistics: These are small races (only 42 in full marathon), so it’s easy to show up, park, and get started within a few minutes.
Swag: Although this is a 3-day series, there are unique shirts and awesome unique medals for each day/state!
Race Director: Tricia and her sister are amazing people! They are great with communication and are clearly passionate about these races. Their enthusiasm is contagious! I loved these races!
Beautiful and hilly course
This course was beautiful, but there were lots of hills that we don’t have in western Ky. :) The race went smoothly and staff was very friendly. MORE
This course was beautiful, but there were lots of hills that we don’t have in western Ky. 🙂 The race went smoothly and staff was very friendly.
Beautiful scenery... but in a small town area... not a whole of options of lodging without being out in the middle if no where. But would definitely do this race … MORE
Beautiful scenery… but in a small town area… not a whole of options of lodging without being out in the middle if no where. But would definitely do this race again
Very laid back and fun.
Great area to relax. Great views of Bear Lake. Easy to get to the start line. Packet pickup was a breeze. The course was rolling hills and full sun for … MORE
Great area to relax. Great views of Bear Lake. Easy to get to the start line. Packet pickup was a breeze. The course was rolling hills and full sun for a good portion. Love the medals. The aid stations were at good locations and very well stocked.
Beautiful Lake View
Loved the small town charm, the beautiful views, and the amazing runners from all around the country that came out for this trifecta! I wasn’t expecting quite so many hills- … MORE
Loved the small town charm, the beautiful views, and the amazing runners from all around the country that came out for this trifecta! I wasn’t expecting quite so many hills- but there was plenty to look at. I didn’t mind the out and back at all. Awesome aid stations! Loved this race!!!
Well ran event, staff and volunteers were great. Quick to respond to question and emails about the race. Very nice medal. Views were amazing! Highly recommended! MORE
Well ran event, staff and volunteers were great. Quick to respond to question and emails about the race. Very nice medal. Views were amazing! Highly recommended!
Rolling with great views of bear lake
Great out and back course with quiet views of Bear Lake. The extremely friendly race staff made everyone feel welcome. I really enjoyed interacting with other participants --many of whom … MORE
Great out and back course with quiet views of Bear Lake. The extremely friendly race staff made everyone feel welcome. I really enjoyed interacting with other participants –many of whom were completing the trifecta.
Let's look at Day 1, shall we?
The entire series of races was well organized and had good support. The aid stations had water and snacks about every 1.5 miles. Good after-race snacks, drinks, and music. The … MORE
The entire series of races was well organized and had good support. The aid stations had water and snacks about every 1.5 miles. Good after-race snacks, drinks, and music.
The Idaho half marathon had some hills that were unexpectedly high, and the wind was strong on much of the course. Beautiful view of the lake on the out and back course. The elevation was over 6000 feet, but it didn’t seem to bother me.
I really enjoyed the race production and organization. The participants were all very friendly and seemed to have a good time. This was the first time I stayed with others during a race. Five of us completed all three days and getting to know them and spend time with them made the weekend an even better experience.
Well supported race series
The course was scenic with little traffic. Aide station were plenty with cheers during the Covid time. A series I would participate again, I guess I have only missed one.. MORE
The course was scenic with little traffic. Aide station were plenty with cheers during the Covid time. A series I would participate again, I guess I have only missed one..
Started in the dark with my phone light
Went to Hot Springs Idaho for a three hour soak which seemed to be what I needed before my second race in Utah. Snacks after the race was plentiful. MORE
Went to Hot Springs Idaho for a three hour soak which seemed to be what I needed before my second race in Utah. Snacks after the race was plentiful.
Amazing views, altitude, and precautions
This was the first and only marathon I got to run in person for all of 2020. The race director was very well prepared and responsive to emails and communications. … MORE
This was the first and only marathon I got to run in person for all of 2020. The race director was very well prepared and responsive to emails and communications. The course is difficult to a flat lander (at over 6400 feet above sea level, it is the highest altitude at which I’ve won a race in my entire life). The championship belt and portable race champion flasks are great for out of towers to take home their hardware without breaking it in their luggage. Friendly and, most important, great organization to avoid risk of covid 19 transmission with the flexible start time, distanced aid station helpers, and wide open rural routes. Would come back next year, pandemic or not.
My cousin and I enjoy running races together and the trifecta came at a perfect time. We live on opposite sides of the country and we met up to run … MORE
My cousin and I enjoy running races together and the trifecta came at a perfect time. We live on opposite sides of the country and we met up to run all three Half Marathons (Idaho, Wyoming and Utah). With everything shut down this was a great event to be able to run 3 days together. All the races were safe and run efficiently. The staff was great and kept it fun for everyone. The swag was over the top. Nice prizes for age groups and overall awards. More than expected for sure. If you are trying to hit every state, as I am, this is a great one to do. The scenery is great. I doubt I could run 3 Half Marathons in a row if it wasn’t for the scenery. To top it off the weather was perfect. Hats off the the event staff that made this happen. Although my cousin and I didn’t get to run together much last year, at least we ran these three races together. All these races are on the repeatable list. Loved them.
Amazing views and very well organized.
I truly enjoyed this race. I participated in the all three included in the trifecta and so glad I did. The swag was nice and the organizers did a fabulous … MORE
I truly enjoyed this race. I participated in the all three included in the trifecta and so glad I did. The swag was nice and the organizers did a fabulous job. Lots to do in the area. It definitely felt like more of vacation then my typical runcations. I plan to do it again with my friends. Recommend you book room and board early. There are some pretty amazing cabins that sell out quickly.
Fun Time in Idaho
The Bear Lake Trifecta was my first multiple-day running event. The number of runners was low but the camaraderie was high. Of the three races, this one was the prettiest. … MORE
The Bear Lake Trifecta was my first multiple-day running event. The number of runners was low but the camaraderie was high.
Of the three races, this one was the prettiest. All three races are out and back runs. Some people find this boring but it helped me because I saw everybody and I spent less time alone.
I did miss a turn last on the course and was the last finisher. However, it also helped me stand out in the small field.
A well organized run and 3 states in 3 d
A great opportunity to check off three states quickly. Local was interesting, right on a lake. Learned about the local history from a lovely volunteer at local church. Smaller size … MORE
A great opportunity to check off three states quickly. Local was interesting, right on a lake. Learned about the local history from a lovely volunteer at local church. Smaller size race, which is always my preference. I would recommend this race.
1 of 3 in 3 Days
Overall about the Bear Lake Trifecta: The owner bought the race 6 days before the event. It was very...bumpy, but he did his best with what he inherited. The previous … MORE
Overall about the Bear Lake Trifecta:
The owner bought the race 6 days before the event. It was very…bumpy, but he did his best with what he inherited. The previous owners did not leave much information or direction for him. The issues that occurred, he apologized for and was determined to fix for next year. He is an experienced runner and triathlon and knows what we expect. He also owns other events, so I am confident that the race will improve. The swag we got was great! I was expecting a shirt for each race, but we only got one. The quality was great. The medals were gorgeous and state/day specific, but not race specific. This doesn’t bother me, but it does bother others. The swag bag had the most things from sponsors of any race I’ve done. There were all sorts of goodies! For completing all 3 races, we got a flask, which is awesome! It also had a race decal in it. We got a zip up race hoodie and a buff, but I don’t remember what for. They basically had a bunch of different race logo merch and no specification of what each piece was for. The post race goodies were amazing, especially for such a small race. There were many food and drink options after each race. They capped the total participants at 500. They also added a 5k, which added a lot of local runners. This was a difficult task—3 half marathons in 3 days—but the staff and volunteers made it much easier!
Specific To This Race:
This was the worst course of the 3. They had changed from the previous year’s course to this one last minute. The one before was along the lake, but this one was pretty far from it. It was a down and back course. It was paved for maybe the first mile or so. This was a sparsely populated neighborhood, so a few houses. The rest of the course was country roads that were a combination of dirt and gravel. This was basically farmland. It was gorgeous, but boring scenery. The mosquitoes were HORRIBLE on this course. There was one area where they were in huge swarms like gnats. The road was not closed, so there were cars traveling up and down the roads. Some of these were participants and/or spectators, which is understandable, but it made the conditions worse with the dirt and gravel flying up. By the time I finished, it was raining, so there weren’t many people at the finish and I didn’t explore the food selections. The race people at the finish line were great and super supportive. The aid stations were well stocked with a variety of items and the volunteers were amazing!
TIPS: If you are doing the trifecta, I suggest getting to Bear Lake a few days before the packet pickup. We thought we would explore after the races, but we were exhausted. There are so many things that this little area has to offer, and I’m sad we didn’t get to do much. Leave Bear Lake the day after. This way you can relax. We drove back to Salt Lake after the 3rd race, and I wish we would have stayed. Be prepared for any weather. We experienced an Oklahoma-like thunderstorm on one of the days after the race. I was shocked! Look at the condo rentals. We rented a home that was GORGEOUS and perfect for our trip. I also suggest staying in Garden City. It’s the most “central” to all races. We used Vacasa to rent a homeand still have the link to our rental, if interested.
Huge effort by new staff
This race went through several race directors over the course of the past 12 months from what I understand. The folks that ran it at the end of the day … MORE
This race went through several race directors over the course of the past 12 months from what I understand. The folks that ran it at the end of the day clearly tried their best to make it a great event and while there were a few snags, it WAS A GREAT EVENT for me. The Idaho course was new this year and I absolutely loved the peace and serenity I enjoyed on this run over dirt and gravel roads in the country…no cars. White caps 360 degrees and wildflowers galore. Great medals for race and place with a nice adequate spread of food post race. This is a small event with great people.