Black Hills of South Dakota Cycling Tour
|Tour Cost: $2,395
(includes all lodging, breakfasts and dinners, van shuttle to and from Rapid City, support van, park entrance fees, leaders, tour maps & narratives)
The Black Hills of South Dakota Cycling Tour stand as sentinels announcing to westbound travelers that they at last have reached the threshold of the Great American West. The heavily forested, rugged hills present a dramatic contrast with the vast expanse of the plains to the east.
The natural beauty of the Black Hills is remarkable. Rugged mountains and shimmering high country lakes, Custer State Park with its enormous bison herd and famous wild burros, Needles Highway, Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Memorial are only a few of the reasons why we are once again headed to the Black Hills of South Dakota in the season ahead.
Our 7-day Black Hlls of South Dakota Cycling Tour assembles in Spearfish (we’ll provide a mid-afternoon shuttle from Rapid City on assembly day) and we will head south through the spectacular Spearfish Canyon in time to enjoy the fall colors as the Aspen and Birch trees turn to golden yellow. The next day, we’ll head south through Deadwood Gulch and the legendary mining camps of Lead and Mystic on our way to Hill City. Much of this cycling tour is planned for the Mickelson Trail, whose hard-packed crushed limestone surface provides a beautiful off-road experience totally appropriate for road-bike tires. Early morning of Day 3, we’re headed to Mt. Rushmore National Monument and then on to Custer State Park, where we’ll spend the evening at the State Game Lodge, a favorite summer retreat of former presidents Coolidge and Eisenhower.
We’ll continue our exploration of Custer Park throughout Day 4. We’ll bike the Wildlife Loop, home to a free-ranging herd of bison as well as the surprising wild burros. Later in the day, we’ll cycle the awesome Needles Highway through its corridor of towering granite spires. We’re headed for the Sylvan Lake Resort on the shores of Sylvan Lake, where we’ll spend our next two nights. A layover day presents the opportunity to hike nearby Harney Peak in the Black Elk Wilderness. A beautiful 6-mile trail leads to Harney’s 7,242-foot summit, the highest peak east of the Rockies. Later that afternoon, we’ll visit the Crazy Horse Memorial, the massive granite sculpture still in progress that honors the great Lakota warrior.
We’ll cycle from Sylvan Lake on Day 6 to Jewel Cave National Monument and explore this massive cavern in the context of a Ranger-led program. We’ll return to Custer for our final overnight and ride to Sheridan Lake the following morning before launching into an amazing descent from the Hills to Rapid City where the Blackhills of South Dakota Cycling Tour concludes.
|Day 1||Spearfish—Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway—Lead—Deadwood||32 miles|
|Day 2||Deadwood-Lead-Dumont-Rochford-Mickelson Trail-Mystic-Hill City||43 miles|
|Day 3||Hill City-Mt. Rushmore-Custer State Park||38 miles|
|Day 4||Tour of Custer State Park: State Game Lodge-Wildlife Loop-Legion Lake-Needles Hwy-Sylvan Lake||45 miles|
|Day 5||Sylvan Lake—layover day; hiking option to summit of Harney Peak
afternoon: tour Crazy Horse Memorial
|Day 6||Sylvan Lake --Jewel Cave--Custer||52 miles|
|Day 7||Custer- Mickelson Trail—Hill City--Pactola Lake—Rapid City||46 miles|
Total Cycling Mileage 256
Total Hiking Mileage 7