The staging area for the race is Clover Meadows Campground in the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest. This large meadow is the staging area, the race day registration area, as well as the race’s finish line. There is a forest service outhouse toilet along with portable toilets that will be brought up for the race, but there is no running water.
There will be a designated parking area next to Clover Meadows campground. All runners should park their vehicles in this area. Carpooling is recommended. Depending on the number of runners, the MCEDC may arrange carpooling as available and also arrange to have a bus to take runner from Ennis to Clover Meadows and back to Ennis.
For those who want to camp on the Gravelly Range the night before the race, tent campers should park in the designated parking lot and then set up their tent in Clover Meadows (the parking spot and camping spots are less than 50 yards apart). For RVs and trailers, they should park their vehicles in the designated areas in Clover Meadows. There are other options for camping along the Gravelly Range Road (download the runner’s information packet for more details).
The starting line is 13.1 miles away from Clover Meadows very near the base of Black Butte Mountain. All runners will be shuttled to the starting line. Depending on the number of runners and teams, team marathoners could be on their own to get to their relay points or a specific van could be used for all marathon team runners.
Directions to Clover Meadows Campground
The best and quickest way to get to the Clover Meadows is via the Call Road. The MCEDC will post signs and directions along the route to the staging area.
From Ennis, you will take Highway 287 as if you are going to Virginia City but you will turn left towards the Varney Bridge about two miles outside of Ennis. From this turn-off drive towards, but not all the way to, the Ennis Fish Hatchery on Varney Bridge Road. The distance from Ennis to the turn-off to the Ennis Fish Hatchery is about 10 miles. Keep to the left at the Ennis Fish Hatchery turn-off and drive on the Call Road which passes through the Bar 7 Ranch and eventually leads you to national forest service land (it is about 10 miles to the national forest service gate from the Bar 7 Ranch).
You will be on Road 292, but will be following signs that will lead you to Road 290. The race is on Road 290. Shortly after you pass the headquarter gates to the Bar 7 Ranch, you will make a big climb to get on top of the ridge where you will enter National Forest land at a well-marked gate. There are several forest service signs along the way. Look for Madison Marathon signs as well.
From the National Forest gate, keep driving and following the signs until you reach Clover Meadows (about 15 miles). The climb up from the Bar 7 Ranch is a bit rough, but passable in a standard car. The road on top of the ridge is in good shape all the way to Clover Meadows. There will be small signs along the way pointing you in the right direction. Keep an eye out for them to be sure you’re on the right track.
Allow a minimum of one hour and twenty minutes to get to Clover Meadows from Ennis, Montana. If there is heavy rain the day before the race, allow for more time as the road may be slick. The road is in generally good condition (i.e. you do not need a four wheel drive or even a vehicle with high clearance), but it is gravel the entire length and narrow in certain areas with a lot of high hills to climb.
Bussing, Carpool Options and/or Requirements
The Madison Marathon is being run on National Forest Service land under a special use permit. A key criteria for receiving the permit is that the race will not create any negative impacts on the land and the environment. To date, we successfully made zero impacts on the route and the area and intend to continue this trend.
The big concern is the impact of vehicles if we reach our maximum participation of 200 runners. The parking area at Clover Meadows can accommodate approximately 50 vehicles. If there are too many registered runners who intend to drive, runners may receive an email encouraging them to carpool with other runners or park their vehicles at a shuttle point in Ennis and then board a bus. If you’re running, keep in touch on this issue and don’t hesitate to call 406-682-5923 with any questions.
Please click here to download a pdf of the Madsion Marathon race information packet.
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This institution operates under a special use permit from the Beaverhead Deerlodge National Forest.
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.