2022 SOLD OUT!
The Arrowhead 135 is recognized in the book “The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges” by Richard Hoad and Paul Moore as one of the 50 toughest races in the world. It is a human powered Ultra Marathon taking place in the coldest part of winter in the coldest city in the lower 48 states. Our average finish rate is less than 50%, the finish rate for new racers is much lower. 2014 finish rate was 35%.
Arrowhead Ultra 135, Inc.
135 miles Deep Winter across Northern Minnesota on rugged, scenic Arrowhead State Snowmobile Trail from Frostbite I-Falls to Tower, MN Fortune Bay Casino. Pick mode of transport at start: bicycle, ski or foot. This is our 15th year, beginning with 10 entrants in 2005 to ~150 starters 2018, featuring some of the best winter ultra-athletes in the world.
Historically coldest gosh darn race anyplace even the Arctic, check average temps, virtually every year luck has us -30 to -40C/F, we have frostbite to prove it. Or it snows and is a sloppy mess! Arrowhead 135 is an organization of local folks dedicated to the promotion of human powered ultra-endurance events across beautiful Arrowhead Region of Northern Minnesota. Our Race Mission is fostering national and international amateur endurance sports such as winter-biking, skiing and trail running.
Goal of organization is to offer, fun, educational, yet challenging ultra-endurance event in extreme trail and weather conditions for economic and health benefit of communities in Northern Minnesota.
Race has costs for permits, insurance, T-shirts, awards, operational costs,etc. but we are hoping to minimize entry fees and break even. Any profits go to Special Operations Warrior Foundation Charity, providing college scholarships to children of US Spec Ops Soldiers killed and wounded, Together For Good providing short-term respite to children in need, and the Falls Food Shelf. We also contribute to snowmobile trail maintenance along the Arrowhead Trail.
Ken and Jackie Krueger
The 135 mile Arrowhead State Trail is a multipurpose, snowmobile, ski, hiking, mountain biking, sled dog, horseback riding and ATV trail extending from International Falls, MN to the intersection with the Hwy 77 on Lake Vermillion (near Tower). The natural surface trail is used primarily for snowmobiling. For the most part, it follows parallel to U.S. Highway 53. The trail is wide, well groomed and extremely well marked at every intersection with brown State trail signs. It crosses many roads and ski trails near International Falls and again south of the town of Orr.
Approximately 69 miles of the trail are suitable for horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking in the summer, however there may be wet areas. The trail is relatively flat between International Falls and the Ash River. This northern portion of the trail goes through a number of areas that have standing water in the summer which makes this section of the trail mostly suited to winter use. In the winter, you may see moose or wolf tracks on the trail, as well as other wildlife such as deer, lynx, fox and snowshoe hare. There are few cross roads on this section of the trail. After about travelling about 7 miles you will encounter the first trailside shelter. After that, a shelter will be about every 12 miles with longest between shelters of 23 miles. (See the above pdf map).
The southern part of the Arrowhead is very different from the northern part. It features rugged, rolling hills with numerous lakes and streams. At about midway (about mile 69), northeast of the town of Orr, the racers may follow signs pointing to a shortcut across Elephant Lake on the snowmobile trail to the checkpoint at MelGeorge’s Elephant Lake Resort , located about 14 miles northeast of Orr on the South side of the lake, off Highway 180.
Many of the hills south of Orr have large areas of exposed rock and enormous boulders, leftovers of mountain ranges worn down by glacial erosion. The areas of bedrock formation known as the Canadian Shield have some of the oldest volcanic rock on earth. There are scenic vistas overlooking the lakes and old iron ore mines. This part of the trail is rugged and heavily timbered with a mix of hardwoods and conifers. There are snowy owl, osprey and bald eagle nests along the trail.
The typical winter weather in this part of Minnesota is frigid with subzero temperatures, even dipping to (minus) -60 degrees Fahrenheit in Tower; however, be ready for anything as an early thaw is always possible. Proper winter camping gear is critical. Nine trail waysides offering camping shelters, fire pits and sanitation facilities are located along the trail. There are many camping resorts near the lakes around Orr.
The course finishes near Lake Vermillion where the Arrowhead Trail turns left and intersects at Highway 77.