The 36th John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon begins Sunday, Jan. 26. This is the second year of the race being a roughly 300-mile, one-way contest from Duluth to Grand Portage. The race does not come back to the Duluth area.

All checkpoint times are estimates and are likely to change. For more information and updates, go to

  • Park at UMD, free shuttle: Parking is limited and at a premium at the race start at Billy's Bar on Jean Duluth Road just north of Duluth. Plan on walking a distance if you drive to the start. The best option is to park at UMD Lot W — along Junction Avenue just off College Street — and take a free shuttle bus to Billy's. Buses run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

  • Do not bring your dog: No pets are allowed.

  • Best viewing: Arrive early at the race start to get the best viewing spots. There are opportunities to talk with mushers and see their dogs and equipment before the race. After the race starts, road crossings along the North Shore State Snowmobile Trail are great viewing opportunities, as are the checkpoints such as Trail Center along the Gunflint Trail, Finland, Sawbill and Skyport outside Grand Marais. Times into these checkpoints are estimates. Go to to find checkpoint locations.

  • Etiquette around the dogs and the mushers: Be respectful of their space and their time. Ask permission before touching any dogs any time you encounter them — before, during or after the race. Ask the musher before taking photos of them or their dogs.

  • Volunteers still needed: Especially road crossing volunteers. Go to and click “volunteers.”

  • Follow the race live: Each musher will wear a GPS tracking device. Follow their progress live at or

Pre-race events

Jan. 19 through March 8

The Beargrease Art Show at the Great Lakes Aquarium, Duluth. Aquarium entry fee required.

Friday, Jan. 24

7 a.m. Mini-Sled Dog Races, Canal Park Brewing Co., Duluth.

Saturday, Jan. 25

  • 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. — Cutest Puppy Contest, Fitger’s Complex, 600 E. Superior St, Duluth. Registration starts at 11 a.m.; limit of 40 puppies. Voting and viewing noon to 2 p.m.; awards at 2:15 p.m. Puppies must be 4-9 months old. Must have vet vaccination certificates.

  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. — Social hour, open house, silent auction, Lake Superior College, Duluth. 50/50 raffle tickets available for $5.

  • 4:30 p.m. — Opening ceremonies dinner, Lake Superior College, 2101 Trinity Road, Duluth. Advance tickets required. $20 per person. The bib draw and formal program begins after dinner. Park in Lot 1 area. Enter “Building E” and proceed to the commons.

Beargrease race days schedule

Sunday, Jan. 26

  • 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Shuttle buses run from UMD Parking Lot W at intersection of West College Street and Junction Avenue to the race starting point at Billy’s Bar, 3502 W. Tischer Road, Duluth. Suggested shuttle donation $5 per couple.

  • 9 a.m. — Meet the mushers at the race starting area, Billy's Bar 3502 W. Tischer Rd, along Jean Duluth Road just north of Duluth. Outdoor food tent, live music, food and drink specials.

  • 11 a.m. — Marathon starts first, then Beargrease 120, then Beargrease 40, all at Billy's Bar.

  • 2 p.m. — Estimated first marathon teams to Lake County Highway 2 checkpoint just north of Two Harbors.

  • 3:30 p.m. — Estimated finish of Beargrease 40, Lake County Highway 2 north of Two Harbors.

  • 9 p.m. — Estimated first marathon teams into the Finland checkpoint.

Monday, Jan. 27

  • 3:30 a.m. — Estimated first marathon team into Sawbill Checkpoint.

  • 5 a.m. — Estimated time Beargrease 120 finish at Trestle Inn on Crooked Lake northeast of Finland.

  • 1:30 p.m. — Estimated first team into Trail Center along Gunflint Trail.

Tuesday, Jan. 28

  • 1:30 a.m. — Estimated first marathon team into Skyport Lodge at Devil Track Lake near Grand Marais.

  • 11:30 a.m. — Estimated first marathon team into Mineral Center.

  • 6 p.m. — Estimated marathon first finisher, Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. The last marathon teams are expected to finish by about 4 a.m. Wednesday.

Wednesday, Jan. 29

9 a.m. — Marathon finishers and awards banquet at Grand Portage Lodge and Casino. Cost is $10; advance registration required.