The George S. Mickelson Rail Trail in the Black hills of South Dakota is a great place to ride bicycles, walk and run. The trail is operated by the South Dakota State Parks and is kept in great condition. Trailheads are spaced along the trail with water and a shelter at many of them. The Mickelson Trail in the Rail Trail Hall of Fame.
This trail requires a trail pass which is available at all trail heads. There is a daily pass and an annual pass. The trail is so wonderful it is well worth the small price to ride it.
I have ridden this 114 mile long trail many times. Riding North to South gives the best experience since it is mostly down hill over the entire length. The trail starts is Deadwood (yes the same Deadwood as the HBO series) and continues through the hills and onto the prairie to Edgemont. During your ride you will come across many old trestle bridges and tunnels. Most of the Tunnels and the biggest trestle bridge are between Dumont and Hill City trail heads. This area includes Mystic which is one of the heavier used trail heads and busiest section of the trail. Between mystic and Rochford is a beautiful ride by a stream.
There are four long hills along the trail. The first is the climb out of Deadwood which has two routes. The shortcut goes past an old mine before steeply climbing back to the railroad bed. The second hill is the mystic to Hill City climb. This is a long gentle hill with many views and tunnels along the way. The third is the climb from Hill City to Crazy Horse Memorial. Finally the last is right outside Edgemont which you have to climb over to get a grand view of the town.
Many people have ridden the entire trail in one day and some have done out and back rides in one day. The average rider can expect to go 30 to 40 miles in a day. Expert riders can do the whole trail with the many water stops along the way a support vehicle or people is not needed. The trail winds through four towns so you can get food and drinks along the way.
The Mickelson Trail is a perfect place to ride for both beginners and for experts. You can find out more about the trail from the links below.