Race Information

Manistee National Forest Edition
Caberfae Peaks Resort
September 24, 2022
6 or 12 hours

Race Recap & Results (9/25/22)

Race Update #2 (9/21/22)
Race Update #1 (9/15/22)

Experience classic northern Michigan terrain while you trek, orienteer, paddle and bike in and around the majestic Manistee National Forest. Navigate through some of the best orienteering land in the Midwest with great “curvy” terrain, multiple route options, lots of forest, and super-detailed LIDAR maps. Paddle a gorgeous water section that while not difficult, will reward teams that read the map well. Bike under a forested canopy on mostly gravel roads and two-tracks, rugged in spots but blistering fast in other sections. We’ll celebrate after the race with a full banquet dinner, awards and raffle.

You and your teammate(s) will race together to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period – or come in early if you’ve had enough and rest up for the post-race feast and awards. Don’t let the duration keep you from an incredible experience. Just adjust your pace, maintain a positive attitude and make sure you know how to follow a topographic map and use a compass to find off-trail checkpoints.

If you are new to adventure racing, scroll down to the bottom of this page for a short tutorial.

Video of race experience
Video of racer testimonials


  • Solo: females, males
  • Two-person: co-ed, females, males
  • Three and four-person co-ed, females, males (3-4 person open for 12-hour race)

What’s Included
See the Register page in the drop-down menu above for entry fees and discounts. Entry includes:

  • Tech shirt (design to come), stainless steel pint, or buff/headwear
  • Catered dinner (entrée, 2 sides, salad, rolls – the full monty!)
  • Chance at over $1,000 worth of top finisher prizes and dozens of raffle prizes.
  • The first place team in each division will receive handcrafted wood team trophies and a prize (gift card or gear). All top finishing teams will receive wood individual medals and a prize (depth of placements determined by number of teams in each division).

Course Design
While popular race venues like Muskegon, Silver Lake and Ludington have epic scenery and unique terrain, we are limited there by the smaller parcels of land and few paddling options. In the Manistee National Forest Edition it’s a limitless canvas to design on. You want a ton of orienteering and longer distances between checkpoints (especially the 12-hour race)? You bet your compass. Up for a lot more two-track and gravel biking? Wheel have it for you. Looking for a paddle section that requires brain, not just brawn (and no portaging)? This one will float your boat.

We will offer one aid station where you can refill water or Gatorade and drop a gear bag before the race.

12 Hours

  • Orienteering/Trekking: 14-18 miles. Detailed LIDAR maps. A combination of very definable checkpoints and more subtle intermediate/advanced placements to test your ability to process many types of information (contour shape, elevation, vegetation types, man-made features, distance, direction, water features, etc.).
  • Biking: 25-35 miles. Two tracks, gravel roads, and paved roads. No singletrack trails but some of the two tracks will be rugged in spots. Road bikes with super skinny tires (like 30c or narrower) not allowed. Not be as much biking as most races because the treks and paddle sections are not too far away and we want you to enjoy some of the best orienteering lands in the Midwest!
  • Paddling: 4-6 miles. Beautiful flat-water paddling. Includes some strategic route choices. Good navigators will have an advantage. Rental canoes and solo kayaks (no tandem kayaks) are available but you may bring your own canoe(s), tandem kayak(s), or solo kayaks in any combination.

6 Hours (a bonus hour was added to the 5-hour race to give you more time to explore the final trekking section if you wish)

  • Trekking/Orienteering: 6-10 miles. Detailed LIDAR maps. A mix of beginner and intermediate level checkpoints with several checkpoints near the start of the trek so you can choose your route based on time, energy and skill level!
  • Biking: 15-20 miles. Two tracks, gravel roads, and paved roads. No singletrack trails but some of the two tracks may be challenging in spots and expect some hills to climb… and be rewarded with great descents! Road bikes with super skinny tires (like 30c or narrower) not allowed. Not be as much biking as most races because the treks and paddle sections are not too far away and we want you to enjoy some of the best orienteering lands in the Midwest!
  • Paddling: 3-4 miles. Beautiful flat water paddling. Map-reading skills will help you more quickly find the CPs along and just in from the shore. Rental canoes and solo kayaks (no tandem kayaks) are available but you may bring your own canoe(s), tandem kayak(s), or solo kayaks in any combination.


12 Hours
Check-in, maps handed out (Skyview Lodge): Friday evening 6:30-9:00 pm (?) OR late arrivals can check in Saturday, 6:15-7:30 am
Stage personal canoes & kayaks (location TBD): 6:15-6:45 am
Race briefing: 7:30-7:40 am
Start: 8:00 am (parking lot)
Finish by:
8:00 pm (Skyview Lodge)
Food: 7:00-9:00 pm, catered dinner
Award ceremony and raffle:
approx. 8:00 pm

6 Hours
Check-in, maps handed out (Skyview Lodge): Friday evening 6:30-9:00 pm (?) OR late arrivals can check in Saturday, 8:00-9:30 am
Stage personal canoes & kayaks (location TBD): 8:00-9:00 am
Race briefing:
10:00-10:20 am
Start: 10:30 am (parking lot)
Finish by:
4:30 pm (inside Skyview Lodge)
Food: 4:00-5:45 pm, catered dinner
Award ceremony and raffle: 
approx. 5:30 pm

Directions & Parking


  • Caberfae Peaks Resort tent or RV camping. Although there are no rooms at Caberfae Peaks Resort on race weekend due to weddings (although you can call to see if someone cancelled a room), tent camping (behind the Skyview lodge or along the edge of the parking lot) and RV spots (no hook-ups available) are allowed on the edge of the resort parking lot. $5 per tent and $10 per camper/RV. Pay the front desk of the hotel on the honor system. No need to make a reservation.
  • Other hotel and vacation rental options: search online for Cadillac (25 minutes east) or Manistee (40 minutes west) or more rustic options near Wellston.
  • Pine River Paddlesport Center campground (tents, rustic cabins)
  • Manistee National Forest campgrounds (or free, dispersed camping)

Required Gear
See the Gear page for details. Required gear will be standard adventure racing gear (bike, hydration pack/containers, compass, emergency blanket and a few other small items).

Canoes & Kayaks – Own or Rental
You may bring your own canoe(s), tandem kayak(s), or solo kayak(s), in any combination depending on your team size and stage it along with your paddles, PFDs, and one small “drop bag” per team at the start of the paddle before the race. Depending on volunteer and livery staff availability, you may be required to lock your boat when you stage it and will be required to lock it after you finish your paddle (or arrange to have friends/family take it back to the start). We will not have a volunteer available to watch it all day long into the evening when you return for it.

If you will be renting watercraft, you’ll rent 1 canoe for 2-3 person teams (cushion provided for racer in the middle) and 2 canoes for 4-person teams. Solos will rent a solo kayak. They will be ready for you along with paddles and PDFs at the start of the paddle and you’ll leave all paddle gear there when you’re done. Rental kayaks will not be available to 2-4 person teams through the canoe livery we are contracting with.

6-hour rental ONLY. Because the paddle section is an out-and-back and some teams will finish before others arrive, we can rent fewer canoes (and kayaks for solos) than there are teams. We pass this savings on to you with lower rental fees. In past races there has been either no wait at all or just a wait of a few minutes, but be aware there could be a wait so if that’s unacceptable, consider bringing or borrowing a boat.

Drop Bags Allowed?
Teams may leave a “drop bag” with some food and extra clothing at the paddle staging area before the race, whether you are dropping off your own watercraft or renting. 3-person teams may wish to leave a little folding camp chair or stool for the person in the middle (we will have seat cushions). We will have water and Gatorade there already. You must take these drop bag items (except the seating for the person in the middle of the canoe) with you when you finish the paddle section. The only items that can be left there are your own paddles, life vests and paddle bag.

Water/Aid Stations
Water will be provided at all three transition areas on the course. We recommend that each person carry enough for 3 hours of trekking. Restrooms will be at two of the three transition areas.

Navigation/Race Preparation Clinic
Navigation 101/201 clinic, Saturday,  September 17, Seidman Park, Grand Rapids. RSVP here. Includes in-field practice. 1.5 hours. Free. If you can’t make it, check out the Navigation 101/201 clinic presentation and other sources on our Learn More page for tips.

Tech shirt, pint or buff comes with early or regular entry (late entrants get pint or buff). Men’s/adult crew or women’s v-neck, same shirt as our other races.

Women’s shirt specifications
Men’s shirt specifications

Shop and pre-pay online (except tech shirts) during registration and receive at packet pick-up or shop in person the day of the event.
Short sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $12
Long sleeve tech shirt, crew or v-neck (various colors), $15
Hoodie – $30
Multi-functional headwear/buff (green or gray), $12
Stainless steel pint, $12
Sticker (classic oval or compass-cut), $2

Rules & Age Limits
Please read through our standard race rules. Special rules that apply for certain races will be listed in one of the race updates you’ll receive. Obey all traffic laws. This is an open course so you may encounter vehicles and pedestrians at any point. Racers must generally be at least 14 years old due to biking in traffic; a parent may discuss the possibility of an exception with race organizers. Racers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult and have a parent or guardian sign the waiver/consent form provided during online registration.

After the Race
We encourage you to hang out after the race. Your entry includes a full banquet dinner with an entree, 2 sides, a salad and dinner rolls. We’ll have top finisher and fun awards, a raffle, and share stories of the day. Guests can pay for the meal under the Purchase Event Items on the registration site.


For Beginners: How an Adventure Race Works

Adventure racing is like no other sport! It involves a mix of brains and brawn, individual effort and teamwork, speed and endurance. For such amazing rewards, it requires a little effort to learn how it works and get better over time.

The goal of adventure racing is for you and your teammate(s) to find as many checkpoints as you can in the time period. All checkpoints will be pre-plotted on topographic maps. The race will be broken up so that you’ll do one activity for a while, then another, etc. so your body (and brain) will get nice breaks. Usually your bike is the consistent mode of transportation from one place to another throughout the race, from start to finish. You’ll stop at various “transition areas” to leave your bike with a volunteer to paddle and to trek/orienteer on foot before returning to your bike to continue on.

Checkpoints may be out of view, tucked behind trees or a hill, but generally are not intentionally hidden (except in public areas to minimize risk of theft). Check your map to see where the point is located and consult your race instructions sheet for the description which will help you determine its more exact location. Some points will require use of your compass, topographical map and an understanding of how to read that map. Others you can find from just looking at the map. Each checkpoint will have an orange and white flag with a punch attached to it.

The goal is to maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. A team that gets 25 checkpoints with seconds to spare will finish ahead of a team that gets 24 checkpoints with one hour to spare.


  • Check-in. We recommend arriving to check-in early as we will hand out maps then and you can get most or all of your route complete before the pre-race meeting.
  • Pre-race meeting. We’ll go over rules, safety issues, answer any questions.
  • Race instructions/clues. The race instructions lists key rules, describes the course and the activities, and provides hints about where checkpoints are located along with the numbers of each checkpoint corresponding to the map, passport and punch.
  • Passport. The passport is the piece of waterproof paper you’ll punch at each checkpoint to prove you found it. You must not lose it! You will turn this in as your scorecard when you finish racing.
  • Checkpoint flag (aka “control”) and punch. You are looking for orange and white 3-sided orienteering flags (technically called control markers). You must punch the correct box in the passport so we can verify you were indeed there. The punch will have a number on it corresponding to your passport. Check it to confirm you got the right one. Each punch has a unique barb pattern to prove teams made it to that flag.
  • Maps. The map(s) are topographic, showing the shape of the land and terrain details. Sometimes the map is lower resolution USGS. Other times it will be high-detail LIDAR. They are pre-plotted with the checkpoints on them. While not every trail in the area will be on the map, the vast majority usually are. You can waterproof your map with packing tape or contact paper and/or keep it in a waterproof map case or zip lock baggie.
  • Map reading will be critical. You should also know how to use a compass (baseplate or sighting – with a straightedge), although you may be able to manage without if you can navigate well with your map. Attend our free clinic (see details earlier on this page) or learn online here.
  • Order. Checkpoints are usually optional and often times can be found in any order within a section.
  • The goal. Maximize the number of checkpoints on your passport within the time limit. If you arrive after the time limit, you will either receive a severe checkpoint penalty or not be counted in the final standings, depending on whether the race is beginner level or not.

Questions? www.facebook.com/miadventurerace is a great place to ask questions and get answers so others can learn from your question. For questions specific to you, email Mark VanTongeren, race director.