Rapid Valley, SD Cross Country Skiing Trails and Maps

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George S. Mickelson Trail

109 mi
State: SD
Crushed Stone
Trail Image Trail Name States Length Surface Rating
Named in honor of the former South Dakota governor who crusaded for the trail before his death in a plane crash in 1993, the George S. Mickelson Trail runs through the heart of the Black Hills,...
SD 109 mi Crushed Stone

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Trails by activity

George S. Mickelson Trail

SD - 109 miles

Named in honor of the former South Dakota governor who crusaded for the trail before his death in a plane crash in 1993, the George S. Mickelson Trail runs through the heart of the Black Hills,...

George S. Mickelson Trail

SD - 109 miles

Named in honor of the former South Dakota governor who crusaded for the trail before his death in a plane crash in 1993, the George S. Mickelson Trail runs through the heart of the Black Hills,...

Recent Trail Reviews

Custer State Park Spur

Hilly but nice off-road option

September, 2020 by montygwooten

Biked from Custer State Park to the main trail. Nice wide asphalt surface for biking. Trail runs along the highway. There are a couple of climbs but both fairly short.

George S. Mickelson Trail

Sept 2020

September, 2020 by terri.hagmann

We rode the entire trail in 3 sections: Custer to Edgemont, Custer to Rocheford, then Rocheford to Deadwoood. The trail is even more amazing than we imagined. The terrain varies from high desert to forested hills and streams. Well maintained with multiple rest stops inc. toilets and water. Maps & trail passes available along the way. It is not just a trail but an opportunity to see the Black Hills in all its' splendor & beauty. The animals we saw along the trail were deer, snake, cattle, & birds. Some sections would be difficult to ride with narrow road tires as some sections of the gravel trail were quite loose. We have cross tires.
We stayed at the Mile Hi Motel in Custer. The owners were wonderful! Eric helped shuttle us to/from trail heads with only a gratuity needed. The motel is only a block from the trail.

George S. Mickelson Trail

7 day round trip leisure ride of the entire trail

September, 2020 by godsgalleon616

My new wife and I spent part of our honeymoon doing a complete round trip leisurely ride on this trail. We stopped tons of time for photos, snacks, deer, and had a most excellent time. Unlike some who ride and seem to do the entire trail as fast as possible, we took our sweet time and enjoyed everything the trail had to offer.

Prior to day 1 on the trail we stayed at the Cowboy Inn in Edgemont, and started our 3 day ride north to Deadwood around 8 AM the following morning. I am a bit of a 'planner', so we knew about the 1st day being all uphill. Most rail trails are pretty flat, and really so is this trail, but this trail is just a smidge more up and down hills. They say no more than 4% grade, which is easy enough, but it is uphill for like nearly the entire way, and that can wear you down over time. Find a comfortable pace, and you'll be fine tho. As we rode north we saw more deer than i can remember. The views were more hilly and prairie/valley than mountainous. Beautiful, but more rolling than hilly. The trailheads all had pretty nice bathrooms, and sheltered areas with water available. We found out that the Hitchrail bar in Pringle was normally closed on Mondays, but they had a local thing happening, so invited us in for food/drinks anyway. The people there are super nice. Actually everyone we encountered in all towns along the trail were super nice. They gave us meatballs, french fries, an couple beers, and time to sit and rest a bit. They were great people. We then headed north a bit more to our first night just north of Pringle.

The next morning we leisurely rode towards our next nightly stop in Hill City. We spent a while in Custer, firstly at Horatio's Homemade Ice Cream, right on main street, AWESOME homemade ice cream and waffle cones! Lost of touristy shops, markets, and street art to check out here. about 6 miles north of Hill City you can see Crazy Horse memorial. While you can see it, you are not very close. You can hop up on the road from the trail, and ride to it tho if you want tho. and geography that was starting to look more like short mtns rather than rolling hills and valleys, so the rest of the ride this day was more deer, slightly steeper trail sections, (still not hard tho...but long). We spent the night just outside of Hill City tonight.

The next morning/trail day 3, we rode about 50 miles to Deadwood, the northern endpoint on the trail. The trail started to really get more 'mountiany' looking at this point, with vistas, long bendy creeks, and also steeper trails...both up and down. About 25 miles north of Hill City is a tiny town of Rochford. Everyone said to eat lunch there at the Moonshine Gulch Saloon, but currently they are closed on the weekdays so we could not. Luckily, there is a "small of America" souvenir shop/snack place right next door. We got 2 beers, a yummy pizza, a t shirt, and then a couple sodas and took a nice long lunch. To get to downtown Rochford (less than 1 block long) get off on the Rochford trailhead, then ride the city street for a few hundred feet. You can't miss it. This northern half of the trail is where the tunnels are also, which are super cool. 4 of them. More rest stops to. The bathrooms only seem to be at the main Trailheads on this trail, but there are sheltered picnic areas roughly every 10 miles thru ought the entirety of the Mickelson, so you are never too far from a break. We spent a lot of time today riding uphill, but the last several miles into Deadwood were a nice downhill ride.

We spent a day in Deadwood relaxing, off the bikes and sightseeing. On the way back, we took another 3 days to make the trip, but stayed in different locations.

Some things to remember i suppose, are that the southern half of the trail has more uphill than downhill, and has less of the 'black hills' hilly look than the northern half, so the trail is a bit less steep going up or down. We saw more deer on the southern half, but more cows and bulls loos on the trail in the northern half, as well and deer turkey, and even a coyote on the trail up north. We were surprised by the lack of colorful birds in the area, but an abundance of Birch trees up in the hills. (with all the pine trees of course). Water was available at every trail head, along with bathrooms (fancy outhouses, but nice). There is no bike shop in Deadwood. Closest one is 10 miles further north, in Spearfish. The southern part of the trail seems to be looser gravel than the northern section.

We had a slow paced super fun week, but yes, travel light and if you don't stop for all the things the trail has to offer and you can go faster. GREAT trail maps are available at all trailheads, that show mileage, elevation and more to each stop along the trail....all the trailheads and the rest stops also.

Accordion

George S. Mickelson Trail

2 Days Traveling North; 1 Day Traveling South

August, 2020 by jimmy35

Day 1 - I spent the night in Edgemont (Cowboy Inn), then rode to Hill City. This 60 mile stretch is not for the faint of heart. It's a slow, relentless grind for the first 50 miles, then 10 miles downhill into Deadwood. I read lots and lots of posts trying to determine if people actually ride the entire distance going South to North, but couldn't find anyone that posted about it. Given the lack of info, the uphill grade and the gravel terrain, I decided it would be safest if I broke the North bound ride into two days. And honestly, I'm glad I did. I was on a steel Surly single speed, riding solo and carrying two panniers. I could have carried on to Deadwood if I had to, but I'm honestly glad I had a hotel reservation in Hill City (Super 8). NOTE - I did stop (just outside of Hill City) to help two riders in their early 20s that were planning to ride the entire distance from Edgemont to Deadwood, after having to stop in Rochford due to darkness two weeks earlier. Assuming they didn't have any additional mechanical issues, I'd bet they made it since there were no thunderstorms that afternoon. They started, in the dark, in Edgemont at 5am.

On Day 2, I rode from Hill City to Deadwood and over-nighted at the Spring Hill Suites. Comparatively, the terrain on Day 1 and the terrain on Day 2 were completely different. From Edgemont to Hill City, the terrain was open, exposed and occasionally forested. From Hill City to Deadwood, the terrain was almost completely forested and incredibly beautiful. If you only have time to do one section of the trail, I'd unequivocally recommend the section between Hill City and Deadwood (ridden in either direction).

On Day 3, I rode all the way from Deadwood to Edgemont, stopping in Hill City for a burger with fries on the rooftop patio at the Bumpin Buffalo Bar & Grill. If you're capable of riding a century on a road bike, riding the entire distance is very doable because of the net elevation loss and the final 50 miles of downhill into Edgemont. Be warned though... the South Dakota wind popped up and sometimes negated the joy of rolling downhill between Crazy Horse and Edgemont.

George S. Mickelson Trail

Scenic ride

June, 2020 by mpickner77

We rode Hill City to Dumont one day and HillCity to Custer another with the Stockade Lake Spur. Beautiful sights. We chose to ride the fat tire bikes - a mistake on this trail. Inclined were tough with the wide tires.

George S. Mickelson Trail

steep but beautiful

June, 2020 by abigator22

Started the trail off In deadwood and was completely shocked at how steep of a climb it was. Being that we were more used to flatter rail trails, we ended up driving to a different part of the trail and riding from the Mystic to the Rockford trailhead and back. Don’t let the hill scare you away, just pay close attention to the gradient on the map. The trail surface worked great for our hybrid bikes. Saw beautiful nature and local cows. Lost cell reception at times.

George S. Mickelson Trail

Dumont to Hill City

July, 2019 by marley69

My wife and I rode this section at the end of June and it was absolutely gorgeous. We caught a shuttle out of Hill City and the first 10 miles from Dumont were amazing as we watched a small brook slowly grow to become a gorgeous river over the next 10-15 miles. The first 20 miles were downhill but then we had a 7 mile 650 foot climb that taxed us asphalt loving Midwest flatlanders . I rode a 28 tire with no problem. Done 80 plus trails in 33 states (Hiawatha, Katy. GAP, e.g), and this was justifiably a top 5 American trail.

George S. Mickelson Trail

Summer 2018

July, 2019 by danaduran1974

Went with the family. Left car in Edgemont and got a shuttle to Deadwood to start. (Tried the other direction but it was harder we went in 23 miles it started to rain and we got stuck in the shelter over night, had to ride out through thick mud) anyway we went back shuttled to Deadwood and it was a bit easier. So much fun, and everyone is very accommodating to the bike crowd. We camped twice and stayed in a hotel once. We will do it again 👍 but go both ways to make it last longer😃

George S. Mickelson Trail

Michelson Trail, South Dakota

July, 2019 by jmerdic

Wonderful scenic experience!

George S. Mickelson Trail

Great Trail!

June, 2019 by lamcfarlin

Our group of 4 had a wonderful time biking the Mickelson last week! It was a little cooler than we expected for June and we did ride in pouring rain on one day. But the scenery and the experience was well worth it!

The trail is very well maintained. It's probably the best non paved trail we have biked over the past 5 years. There are covered picnic tables to stop and rest as needed. There are restrooms and water at most of these stops.

We loved the little towns where we stayed the night. We plan to explore these more when we return hopefully next year. One of our favorites was the 1899 Inn in Deadwood. The Alex Johnson was also a neat place to stay as it is a historic hotel in Rapid City.

The Black Hills Touring Company planned and executed our tour making sure each one of us had everything we needed. Kevin, the owner, was very knowledgeable about the area and its vast history. He carted our luggage for Inn to Inn every day. Some of those days he carted our luggage, our bikes and us to the next destination. I highly recommend him and the Black Hills Touring Company!

There were some hills on the trail. They were long, but not steep. We rented e-bikes allowing us to climb the long hills without difficulty. I was very thankful for them this trip.

We had so much fun we are already planning our next trip to the Mickelson! So much to see and do!

George S. Mickelson Trail

Wonderful trail!

April, 2019 by twlghtzne

I loved this trail. My wife, daughter, and I took a summer camping trip to Custer and the Black Hills.
I was very interested in the trail after watching videos, seeing pictures, and reading about it.
It was even better in person!

My wife was unable to ride bikes due to some injury so I studied the elevation chart and had her drop me off at the higher trail heads and pick me up at the low ones. If you are a wana-be bike rider that is all for the coasting and none of the labor of going up hill, I highly recommend this method - if you have someone that is not up for riding. OR like we did once my sister joined us, have two cars with one at each end. Then just coast from one to the other.

Some of the most beautiful scenery ever. Bison at a few points beside the trail and other wildlife to see.

There are several places the trail passes through ranches and sometimes there were cows on the trail. It was never a problem. The cows didn't pay much mind to us. There were gates to open and close, but again, not a problem.

Loads of history with nice trail heads and rest stops that give in-depth descriptions of the history.

It was almost enough to make me want to move to the Black Hills of South Dakota.

George S. Mickelson Trail

LOVED IT

December, 2018 by danaduran1974

From Texas-Went to trail twice last summer- due to weather issues. Started at Edgemont the first time. Did not like the constant incline for 43 miles. So when we went back the seecond time, we left our car in Edgemont, bought a ride to Deadwood and started from there. It was 17 miles uphill to start but than a 10 mile decent. Up and down like this until last 43 miles where it mostly descends until one last big uphill at the 5-6 mile marker. I will go back again. Husband said he would love to get electric bikes and do it. Took our tent and camped were we could.

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