Marathon Lake

Making Connections

  • Bushwhack and portage East, 525 rods, on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, to Fallen Arch
  • Bushwhack and portage West, 480 rods, on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail, to Diana


  • Fisher F-4, One, Two, Three, Four, Bald Eagle, Insula Lakes
  • McKenzie 19, Isabella Lake


  • DNR Lake No. 380460
  • Lake Map No. C1372
  • Lake Table No. 6A
  • MDH Fish Consumption Advisory - N/A
  • MPCA Water Quality - N/A
Marathon Lake
Scale 1:21420
Full image approximately 2 miles square


Marathon is a small, shallow, relatively remote lake on Hump Creek in the Isabella River drainage of the Lower Kawishiwi, 22 miles southeast of Ely and 4 miles northwest of Forest Center. Only 31 acres in size, it has a maximum depth of but 11'. Hump Creek enters on the northeast side of the lake, down from Hump Lake, just over a mile upstream. The creek departs Marathon off its northwestern shore, bound for Wager and Diana, and the Isabella River beyond.

The forest surrounding most of the lake dates back to a major 1854 fire which burned a large area north of the Isabella River, from Rice Lake west as far as Superstition and as far north as Cargo, Diana and Marathon. The forest to the north and east is of more recent origin, having burned in the infamous fire year of 1910. The Independence Day windstorms of 1999 did no significant damage in the Marathon area.


Marathon has one established campsite, on the southern shore, intended primarily for the use of backpackers on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail.

Planning Considerations

Marathon is on the Pow Wow Hiking Trail but otherwise well away from canoe routes and maintained portages. Getting there with a boat requires making use of the hiking trail as a long portage and one which, even when maintained, is not cleared with the turning radius of a portaged canoe in mind. Marathon also provides an opportunity for exploring Hump Creek, upstream to Hump Lake, and downstream to Wager and Diana. Recent editions of the McKenzie maps provide tremendous detail on the Pow Wow Trail, including landmarks and GPS coordinates. This is the map you want at hand if portaging the Pow Wow.


Marathon supports populations of Northern Pike (Esox lucius), Pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus), Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum), White Sucker (Catostomus commersoni), and Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens).

Notes and Comments

If you do get in to Marathon send us a photo. We'll publish it here. (It's the only way most BWCA paddlers will ever get to see this remote little lake.)

Line of Spruce Trees

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Last updated on 11 April, 2004