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What is Swim to the Moon?

Swim to the Moon is an extraordinary open-water swimming adventure through the picturesque Hiland Chain of Lakes near Hell, Michigan. Choose your distance — half mile, 1 mile, 1.2 mile, 5K, 10K or 15K — and have the time of your life swimming through Southeast Michigan’s most sublime waterways, all the while showing support for a very worthy cause: North Star Reach, a camp for children with life-threatening, serious, and chronic medical conditions.

The 5K swim starts on the shores of Patterson Lake at North Star Reach; from there, swimmers head south and east through the heavily forested Pinckney Recreation Area, passing through five lakes along the way. Scattered cottages are the only signs of civilization. 10K race participants start at Halfmoon Lake Beach, swim to the start of the 5K (where their “special needs” bags will be available), then turn around to head back to the shores of Halfmoon Lake Beach. Both the half-mile and the 1.2-mile swim start at Halfmoon Lake Beach. All events finish at the state beach on the east shore of Halfmoon Lake.

Please note that Swim to the Moon is for individual athletes. If you have a group, consider entering our team division!  High School Coaches/Captains: Please contact for a special group discount for your team!

This race is sanctioned by USMS. The USMS $20 one-event fee is built into the price.  If you are an annual member of USMS, $20 will be deducted from your race entry.


NOTE: This information is from 2023. 2024 information will be posted as soon as it's available.

This race is sanctioned by U.S. Masters Swimming (USMS). Therefore, all participants must have an annual membership or purchase a one-event membership. Here is the link for the USMS annual membership. The one-event membership is available through the event registration process. The 2023 annual membership fee is $65 until Dec. 31, 2022 and $70 starting Jan. 1, 2023. The one-event fee is $20. Click here to learn more about USMS membership benefits.

Click here to see U.S. Masters Swimming competition rules.

Because our triathlons are sanctioned by U.S. Masters Swimming, we follow their wetsuit rules. Competitors in the wetsuit division may wear wetsuits if the water temperature is 78 degrees or lower. U.S Masters Swimming rules also state that if the water temperature is between 78.1 – 83.9 degrees, competitors may wear wetsuits but will not be eligible for awards if awards are an option for the particular event.

Click here to see the U.S. Masters Swimming approved skinsuits.


NOTE: These maps are from 2023, and are left here for reference. Updated maps for 2024 will be added as they become available.

Please note that in the interest of safety, all courses are subject to change at any time at the discretion of the race director.

10K — The 10K swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach, keeping the buoys on the left all the way to Patterson Lake and the beach of North Star Reach. At North Star Reach, 10K swimmers exit the water, receive their “special needs” bag if they so desire, and return to swimming again, keeping the buoys on their left all the way to Halfmoon Lake Beach for the finish.

5K — The 5K swim course begins at Patterson Lake on the beach of North Star Reach, keeping the buoys on the left all the way to Halfmoon Lake Beach for the finish.


1.2 Mile — The 1.2-mile swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach and follows a loop in Halfmoon Lake, returning to Halfmoon Lake Beach.

Half-Mile — The half-mile swim course starts at Halfmoon Lake Beach and follows a loop in Halfmoon Lake, returning to Halfmoon Lake Beach.


There is parking available at the race site. Vehicles with a Recreation Passport will not need an additional fee.  Vehicles without Recreation Passports will need to pay when entering the park.  If you arrive so early that nobody is at the gate to pay, you may find something that looks like a ticket when you return to your car.  No need to fret, it is not a ticket, just a notice asking you to pay the regular fee.  For details and pricing for both in-state and out-of-state Recreation Passports CLICK HERE.

Zero Waste

The event is a Leave No Trace event. Learn more about our race-day recycling and composting efforts here. Want more information about running a great race and leaving no trace? Click here to visit Happy Planet Running!

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.



Halfmoon Lake Day Use Facility is part of the Pinckney Recreation Area, located at 8725 Hankerd Rd. in Gregory, MI. The park is enveloped in verdant green grass and has many tall trees providing shade. The tranquil blue waters of the lake beckon you to get in and swim!

MapMyRun Map


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