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WINNERS: Best of Gravel 2024


The 2024 "Best of Gravel" Nxrth reader poll recently concluded as our readers voted on their favorite gravel things from the last year. What are the best events? Where are the best destinations? Find the community's favorites as well as the runners up in our Winner's roundup here.


Results are in! Earlier this spring we launched the first ever Best of Gravel reader poll where you got to pick your favorite gravel races and destinations. We wanted to hear your top picks for gravel experiences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the Upper Peninsula and these are what you voted on.


The best gravel races in our region cover everything from Southern Minnesota all the way to Marquette, Michigan and everything in between.


Do you agree/disagree with the results? Let us know or chime in on social media and share YOUR picks.


Here are this year's winners:


Best Gravel Event for Racing

Heck of the North. Photo by Josh Kowaleski

1. Heck of the North (TIE)

A fall North Shore classic, The Heck of the North is rugged and beautiful. Several distances and a thriving community that comes back to race year after year to race October gravel make this a top pick in our region. Learn More.


1. The Filthy 50 (TIE)

In 2023, The Filthy 50 celebrated 10 years and is now taking the year off in 2024. Exceptionally beautiful driftless scenery and an after party in the charming town of Lanesboro, Minnesota bring 1,000 people onto Parkway Ave. For one October Saturday of the year, it feels like the midwest capital of gravel. Learn More.


3. Red Granite Grinder

Known for their unique routes and memorable climbs, the Red Granite Grinder is part of a whole suite of adventures and races from IRONBULL. Centrally located and with events for all types of riders, keep an eye on this growing event. Learn More.


Runner Up: Freedhem 76

Celebrate independence day on some of North Central Minnesota's finest gravel and MMR roads. Taking place in the unincorporated town of Freedhem, Minnesota, the gravel community comes together to celebrate the love of gravel and camaraderie. Learn More.


Runner Up: The Day Across Minnesota

Back for 2024 after taking some time off, The Day Across Minnesota is a 240-mile border to border event created for average humans to discover something within themselves. Learn More.



Best Gravel Event for Community Vibes

Trenton Raygor at the Filthy 50

1. The Filthy 50

Showing up as the number one favorite event for gravel community, The Filthy 50 has been turned into an annual must-ride event. Between the massive group rollout in downtown Lanesboro, the amish school house halfway stop, and the the afterparty at Sylvan Brewing, it's a wonderful event to gather with the gravel community. Learn More.


2. Heck of the North

One of the longest standing gravel events in the region, the 2023 Heck of the North marked 15 years of gravel. This sellout event brings people back each year for an annual fall adventure pilgrimage. Two Harbors is a great town and home to the much loved Cedaero, SpokeNGear, and Cedar Coffee trilogy. Learn More.


3. The Heywood Ride

Turning into one the biggest gravel gatherings in our regions, nearly 1,000 riders showed up in Northfield, Minnesota for a true grassroots, community gravel event. They've lowered the barrier to entry as the Heywood is a nearly free event in order to be welcoming and inclusive to all. Learn More.


Runner Up: Dairy Roubaix

This is a classic spring gravel event near Viroqua, Wisconsin. They rent out the entire Sugar Creek Bible Camp for camping, cabins, and gravel riding the beautiful driftless region to kick off the spring gravel season. Learn More.


Runner Up: Day Across Minnesota

A 240 mile midnight-to-midnight event, this year's 500-limit roster sold out in just 4 hours. Beauty, challenge, and a great community of people all make up this incredible event. Learn More.



Most Beautiful Gravel Event

The Heywood Ride

1. The Filthy 50

Already mentioned in each of the categories above, the driftless bluffs, river valleys and amish farms make this course the reader's choice for most beautiful route. Learn More.


2. The Heywood Ride

Taking place in Northfield, Minnesota, this favorite event draws the whole gravel family for a giant celebration of hills, woods, and gravel in the spring. Learn More.


3. Heck of the North

The Heck of the North routes are all carefully and beautifully designed. They're full of variety with winding atv trails, deep woods gravel, and north shore fall colors. Learn More.


Runner Up: The Crusher

A hard-as-heck Upper Peninsula adventure, the routes are always challenging and the community is always thriving. The Crusher is non-traditional in every way and it just doesn't care. Whether you come for The Crusher's unpredictability or just love suffering, it's an unforgettable experience you might not be able to stop coming back for. Learn More.


Runner Up: Le Grand du Nord

The furthest north gravel race (that we know of), Le Grand Du North starts in the beautiful downtown of Grand Marais, Minnesota on Lake Superior and winds through gravel roads into the Sawtooth Range. A great way to start your gravel cycling season, it's well worth the trip up the north shore. Learn More.


Best Gravel Destinations

Sunset Ride in Northfield, Minnesota

1. Cable/Seeley, Wisconsin

The home to a ton of amazing off road events all year long and hundreds of miles of gravel and singletrack, the Cable area is only going to continue to grow as an adventure cycling destination. With the development around Mt. Telemark Village and the Birkie's continued investment in the trails and events, expect this area to grow as a crowd favorite across several cycling disciplines and seasons. Cable & Seeley Gravel Guide.


2. Northfield, Minnesota

Surrounded by a network of gravel roads, woods, and farmland, Northfield is where gravel community thrives. Catch weekly group rides, great events like the Heywood and Tour de Save, or stop in at Heath Creek Cycles. Northfield Gravel Guide Coming Soon.


3. Lanesboro, Minnesota

A beautiful town to visit and spend an entire weekend (or more), Lanesboro has great food, lodging, and a brewery to enjoy before and after your gavel rides. Lanesboro Gravel Guide.



Best Bikepacking/Bike Camping Event

The Fox. Photo by Josh Kowaleski.

Tour de Chequamegon

The longest running bikepacking event in our region, the Tour de Chequamegon takes it's name from Wisconsin's very first official published bikepacking route. Created by Dave Schlabowske, this adventure is full great gravel, amazing meals, and strong community. Learn More.


The Fox

A 2-day bikepacking race around the Finland and Grand Marais, Minnesota area, this is a great introduction to bikepacking racing. The field of riders is capped at 75 riders which keeps it an intimate event. Learn More.


Hodag Country Ramble

The newest and largest event on this list, Hodag Country Ramble has become a gravel homecoming near Rhinelander, Wisconsin at Jeff Frane's parent's property. FInd late summer rides, swimming, giant picnics, and bonfires in the beautiful northwoods of Wisconsin. Learn More.

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