A First Timer’s Guide to the Bear Lake Trifecta

Photo Credit: idahohighcountry

Are you planning to participate in the Bear Lake Trifecta race for the first time? Or maybe you’re just planning to observe the event and support your friends or family members who are running? Either way, you’re in for a treat because this fun event is rapidly becoming one of America’s most beloved races.

Since 2008 the Bear Lake Trifecta has offered a challenging but rewarding three-day running event that takes place in not one, not two, but three of the most beautiful states that surround the 109 square miles of Bear Lake

Book your vacation home rental, and grab your running shoes or your pom poms! Here’s everything you need to know to make the most out of attending the Bear Lake Trifecta. 

About the Bear Lake Trifecta

The Bear Lake Marathon Trifecta is a three-day event that takes place in three different western states: Utah, Idaho, and Wyoming. The event features both full and half marathons each day, and Utah even includes a 5k in addition to their half and full marathons. All of the races feature rolling hills and beautiful mountain views to make for a challenging but fun run. 

The Bear Lake Trifecta values simplicity. The emphasis of the event is on the races themselves and the scenic surroundings of the courses. The Bear Lake Trifecta does not have live music or elaborate expos, but all runners DO receive excellent support along the course and fantastic SWAG bags along with phenomenal views of Bear Lakes’ best beaches and mountain topography.


If you’re striving to visit all 50 states or to run a marathon in all 50 states, the Bear Lake Trifecta is a fantastic opportunity to knock off three of the most beautiful from your running bucket list. 

All of the start and finish lines are within 45 minutes of one another, meaning you can easily base yourself right on Bear Lake and be within just a short drive of each race, whether you wish to participate or spectate in the races. 


The Bear Lake Trifecta always takes place in early June over the course of three separate days. At this time of year, the weather is usually quite pleasant and not too hot for racing! While 2022 was a bit warm, the temperature for the races in past years has averaged from the high 60s to the low 70s. 

What to Expect

The Bear Lake Trifecta is a relatively small event, and historically, there have only been about 50 people in each marathon, which makes for a fun and intimate race experience. 

Each race also takes place somewhere between 6000 and 6500 feet above sea level. Although aside from rolling hills, the races have relatively little elevation change. The majority of the terrain for each race consists of unpaved trails. 

The Races

Here is a breakdown of the three states’ participation in the event! 

Idaho Races

  • Races: Full and Half Marathon
  • Starting Point: St. Charles, ID

The Idaho Full Marathon and Half Marathon courses start just outside of North Beach State Park. The course features rolling hills, lake views, and fully stocked aid stations. The courses are out and back and rated as fairly easy, despite the hills, which bring about a little elevation gain. The race starts in St. Charles, Idaho

Wyoming Race

  • Races: Full and Half Marathon
  • Starting Point: Cokeville, WY

The Wyoming segment of the Bear Lake Trifecta takes place in the quaint small town of Cokeville, Wyoming. The course is out and back, with aid stations located about every 2 miles. The Wyoming course is the flattest of the three, although you’ll still experience some elevation gain and beautiful views over the course of the race. 

Utah Race

  • Races: Full Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K
  • Starting Point: Garden City, UT

Finally, the Utah race of the Bear Lake Trifecta takes place right in the popular summer destination of Garden City, Utah. This out and back also features long rolling hills and lake views, and it’s also the race with some of the biggest hills and highest elevation gain. 

Cost of the Bear Lake Trifecta

Historically, each race of the Bear Lake Trifecta costs between $135 and $165 for the half and full marathons, respectively, and around $42 forth 5K in Utah. 

If you plan to run all three races, you can receive a discount by purchasing race entry for all three as a bundle. Typically, the earlier in advance you register for the races, the less you’ll pay.

Registration for the races also lands you a commemorative T-Shirt, medal, and a SWAG bag full of goodies from the race’s sponsors.  

2023 Bear Lake Trifecta

  • Idaho Dates: June 8th
  • Wyoming Dates: June 9th
  • Utah Dates: June 10th
  • Pre-race Packet Pick Up: 88 S. Bear Lake Boulevard, Garden City, UT
  • Website: runbearlake.com

The 2023 Bear Lake Trifecta takes place from June 8th to June 10th. The pre-race packet pick-up takes place June 7th at the Water’s Edge Resort from 4 pm to 7 pm. However, no worries if you can’t make it on June 7th because competitors can also pick up their packets the morning of race day. Check the race website for pick-up locations.

Awards will be distributed to the overall age group winners after each race, and there will also be an award ceremony on Saturday afternoon.

Once participants cross the finish line, they can refuel post-race at the food vendors that are set up at the finish line for each race. 

Starting Locations

All races start at 7 pm with these starting places: 

  • Idaho: Epic North Beach, 6668 North Beach Road, St Charles, ID
  • Wyoming: Hideout Motel, 10763 US Hwy 30, Cokeville, WY
  • Utah: Firehouse Pizzeria, 50 S Bear Lake Boulevard, Garden City, UT

Time Limits

For safety reasons, all races have a time limit of 7 hours for the Full Marathons and 5 hours for the Half Marathons. 

Spectating the Bear Lake Trifecta

Not a runner? No problem! Spectating the Bear Lake Trifecta is a fun, easy, and highly appreciated way to be a part of this event. The Bear Lake Trifecta is a smaller, more low-key race, which means spectating areas are relatively quiet, and additional cheer sections are always appreciated!

Running a marathon, half marathon, and even a 5k is hard work, and having people watching the race along the course and cheering makes a huge difference and makes the race that much easier.

You can find each course map on the Bear Lake Run under the routes and schedule section of the event website, so you know exactly where to go to cheer on the runners. 

Get Ready to “Conquer the Bear” in the Bear Lake Trifecta

With its scenic routes, rolling hills, and beautiful mountain views, this three-day marathon event Bear Lake Trifecta is a three-day unique, and challenging event. 

Let Bear Lake Luxury Rentals help you find the perfect place to train and recover! We have luxury vacation homes to fully accommodate you and your cheering squad! So mark your calendars for June 8th to June 10th, start training, and get ready to be a part of this fun event!

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