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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
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Jeff from Sheldon on 03/17/2023 09:33 AM
Every year my family enjoys visiting the area. We alwasy try one day of activities. Hiking, walking, biking etc. This year, I would like to ride the trail. I am in shape for my age! Can you ride the trail in one day? I would be on a trek mountain bike. I would have my wife n kids drop me off at the beginning and pick me up in Deadwood. So see roughly 106 miles give or take. Is this correct? I thought it was longer and thought of spending one night out out on the trail but not sure. Any and all thoughts would be great!

JDM from ND on 03/20/2023 09:29 AM
It is entirely possible to ride it in one day for very well prepared people. I was in descent shape when we did the trail, but we still split it up into 4 (3?) days. Memory a little fuzzy, but I know we powered thru the last day and finished a day earlier than planned.
Granted, we were 4 adults and 4 kids, so there were other limitations, but most days, I was ready to be done with it.

Being your first time, my recommendation is to ride the opposite way (Deadwood to Edgemont) as it predominantly downhill:

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Donna from Colorado springs on 03/14/2023 09:32 AM
Where is the safest place to leave your car overnight in Custer to ride the trail?

JDM from ND on 03/14/2023 10:03 AM
We stayed at Buffalo Ridge Best Western and it seems like a safe enough place to park and a very easy ride to the trail from there. Across the road are two other hotels that probably wouldn't notice an extra car in the parking lot for a night.

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Recumbent trike
Anonymous on 02/24/2023 01:31 AM
Can you ride a recumbent trike on the trail? I would like to do a 2 day or three day overnight trip on the trail. also looking for ideas where to leave my vehicle. my husband and I are planning a trip. Is there a shuttle service that would take us and the trikes back to our vehicle?

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Parked Car Safety
Ann on 02/18/2023 05:37 PM
How safe are vehicles when parked for a few days at the southern terminus trailhead?

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Snowshoe the mickelson trail
KS on 01/03/2023 02:50 PM
Is there a place to rent snowshoes to go snowshoeing in the deadwood lead area?

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New to this
Randy from Wakeeney on 09/30/2022 11:48 AM
I am new to this and the Michelson trail will be my first long ride. What is the recommendation for gear and how far to travel each day? I will be starting in Deadwood and i want to do the whole trail.
Thanks in advance for all your help,

Mike from Irvine, CA on 10/31/2022 10:11 AM
I would recommend a mountain bike or cx/gravel bike. I have done it twice on mountain bikes with XC tires. The surface is hard packed and very fast. I would say whatever distance you are comfortable with on the road would be similar on the trail. My first time I did it over 2 days (staying the night in Hill City). I was bored to tears. Got done riding before lunch, and there was NOTHING to do in Hill City. The next time I did it all in one day, and it wasn't bad at all. Both times I have gone north to south. If you can do a century on the road you'll be fine doing it all in one day. It's also easier to do in one day since you don't have to pack gear for overnights.

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Thru Hike
Rich Crim from Nemo, SD on 10/15/2022 08:38 PM
I just completed a solo 109 mile thru hike from Deadwood to Edgemont from 7-10 October. If you have any questions please let me know. My email is richcrim@hotmail.com.

JAM on 10/18/2022 10:11 AM
Hey question - I called the trails office and they informed me that the trail is closed from Minnekahta to Edgemont with no detour. Just wondering how you went through? It was closed October 3. I’d like to cycle it but don’t know if it’s possible.

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Thru Hike
Rich Crim from Nemo, SD on 10/15/2022 06:40 PM
I just completed a solo 109 mile thru hike from Deadwood to Edgemont from 7-10 October. If you have any questions please let me know. My email is richcrim@hotmail.com.

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non interactive trail map
isabel from PHILADELPHIA on 08/29/2022 11:35 AM
guidebook suggests cell service is slim to non-existant. looking for a good map of the trail that i don't have to access from the web. don't want to rely on resources that are unavailable while on the trail.

Ann from Rio Rico AZ on 09/15/2022 02:04 PM
When you pay fee at trailhead you can pick up Good maps

JDM from ND on 09/15/2022 02:32 PM
There are also downloadable ones I found somewhere?? But a paper map is always a good backup in case batteries die!

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Oreville Campground
JB from Columbia MO on 08/22/2022 12:17 PM
How do you get to Oreville Campground from Mickelson Trail?

JDM from ND on 08/29/2022 11:54 AM
Seems there are gravel roads that intersect with hwy 385 and the trail both North and South of the campground, with the south being closer to the entrance to the CG, but uphill once on the highway to the CG. Whereas the North entrance appears to have a little down, transitioning to level and maybe slightly up? Hard to tell from Google Street view.

Ann from Rio Rico AZ on 09/15/2022 02:01 PM
Go left out of campground but stay on the very wide shoulder going against the traffic for about 1/4 mile. Look for road to your right and I think you can see the Oreville shelter. Carefully cross the highway to the trail. Not normal to go against traffic but you will see why this is safer. If you go with the traffic there is no shoulder on a fast downhill.

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bridges and caves
Carleigh from RhodeIsland on 09/14/2022 12:34 PM
I am interested in finding the bridges and caves that are supposed to be on the trail. How can I find these? We are going to be there in tow weeks for the Annual Buffalo roundup but want to take time on the trail too!

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Current Trail Conditions
Mike from Irvine, CA on 09/01/2022 08:39 AM
Planning to ride the Mickelson on September 13th. Can anyone tell me if there are any planned trail closures around that time?

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Thorns on trail?
Dougt from Onawa, Ia on 08/03/2022 02:18 PM
Are thorns an issue on the trail? I ask because I do the Cowboy Trail each year in Nebraska and goat head thorns are the scourge of that trail. Riding in a couple of weeks and want to be prepared if necessary. Thanks!!

JDM from ND on 08/03/2022 03:04 PM
While prepared for flats, our group of 8 didn't pick up any.

Martie from Rapid City on 08/31/2022 08:31 AM
No thorns like The Cowboy Trail. No thorns at all on Mickelson

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Pringle trailhead
Bob from Tennessee on 08/03/2022 04:12 PM

Does anyone have info about the Pringle trailhead? Water, outhouse or “regular” bathrooms, lights if there in wee hours.

I did find a shuttle service: 605-431-1200. Hope this helps someone.

JDM from ND on 08/29/2022 11:58 AM
Yes, IIRC, there is at least an outhouse here:
JC54+HR Pringle, South Dakota (copy/paste that into google maps), which is just south of the bicycle structure. Mind you, the structure is not technically on the trail so you will need to get back to the trail to see the facility.

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North to South ride report ;-)
Anna G from Fort Collins, CO on 06/20/2022 02:25 PM

We rode the trail from north to south on Sunday, June 19, 2022. We were on road bikes with smooth tires (25 & 28 mm), which we ran at 10-15 lbs less than we’d use on the road.

We were on Roubaixs, which do a good job of damping vibration, and our hands and wrists were getting a bit tired by the end of the ride. It would be a rough ride on a stiff bike…

Most of the trail was fine for us, although the section between Pringle and Minnekahta was pretty loose and “skittery,” and as a result we couldn’t really take advantage of the negative grade — we were probably going 12-14 mph, much slower than the 18-20 mph we could do on other descents.

We averaged 14 mph overall, in part due to 15-20 mph headwinds in several places. For comparison, we estimate we would have averaged 16.5-17 mph had we been on the road.

While it was great to have the resources from this site for planning purposes, I’d like to note three inaccuracies:

1. Our mileage from Deadwood to Rochford was about 26.5, not 33 as indicated; subsequent mileages were off (under) by 5-7 miles until we got to Minnekahta (at which point it was on track at 93).

2. Our total elevation gain was just shy of 4,000’ (3,925), which suggests the indicated 7,000’+ gain for the northbound route is overstated. I believe there is a net loss of about 1,100’ on the southbound route, but still…

3. The info provided on this site says there’s no water at Rochford or Minnekahta, when in fact there is — both locations have pumps, which are clearly not new.

For riders heading north to south, I’d advise taking a good look at Google maps to make sure you know where to go when the trail ends. It isn’t obvious or well-signed, but you have to ride a mile on pavement (with a few turns) to get to the “trailhead,” which is just a sign at a park, with no obvious water (?).

The only options for food at 5:30 pm on a Sunday were a couple of gas stations about a mile from the end of the gravel, and maybe half a mile from the trailhead. The Sinclair Yes Mart is well-stocked and even has fresh produce and wine.

Biker on 07/14/2022 05:35 PM
Thats odd! My Garmin Edge 520 was right on mileage and elevation.

Mike from Irvine, CA on 07/19/2022 09:11 AM
My Garmin watch was pretty much dead on the mileage stated here. One thing that trips people up is the Y outside of Deadwood. One way is shorter than the other by several miles.

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Leaving Car
SLH from Douglas, WY on 05/12/2022 10:19 AM
I am trying to plan an anniversary trip for my husband and I. Since there is just two of us does anyone have suggestions on leaving a car on either starting point? Is there a shuttle that can take you all the way back? I only want to ride one way this year since it will be my first long bike ride.

Thank you.

JDM from ND on 05/12/2022 10:46 AM
Do you want to ride predominantly uphill or down? You could probably leave a car at a local hotel. Deadwood would have many more options. I don't know that there is really any type of lodging in Edgemont. I stand corrected. Google says there are two.

In my mind, your car will be less likely to be messed with in Edgemont due to it's lower population and remoteness. But it would probably be safe in Deadwood too.

However, the hurdle of getting a ride back is difficult. We're talking 95 miles by car. I do not recall a shuttle, but perhaps someone else knows something I don't. Uber? Lyft?

Have you considered breaking the trip up? Do some shorter out and backs on the prettier sections of the trail and just moving lodging accordingly?

BikerChick from Topeka, KS on 05/12/2022 12:11 PM
I've been told that Rabbit Bikes in Hill City will shuttle - no idea on the cost though

BikerChick from Topeka, KS on 05/12/2022 12:12 PM
I've been told that Rabbit Bikes in Hill City will shuttle - no idea on the cost though

Denise from Colorado Springs on 06/06/2022 09:52 PM
There are two shuttles that I know of. Rabbit Bike and Rental and Black Hills Discovery Tours. I have a group of 5 and Rabbit can accommodate us and our bikes in one vehicle. Black Hills Discovery Tours can only take a max of 4 per vehicle. So we would have had to pay for two vehicles.. With Rabbit you get a significant discount by paying cash.

MathMan from Wyoming on 06/06/2022 11:50 PM
I would read the reviews on the shuttle before going with Rabbit. There are plenty of reviews that make them seem a little shady. Just FYI, do some research before you put money down. Also, check out the Mickelson Trail FaceBook page for more help.

Mike from Irvine, CA on 06/17/2022 03:42 PM
I parked at the trailhead in Edgemont (plenty of safe parking) and used Discovery Tours for the shuttle to Deadwood. They were great. On time and professional.

McGuirk on 07/12/2022 01:39 PM
Nothing shady about Rabbit Cycles at all. Chris and his partner were very helpful and kind to me. They helped me with a mechanical issue and shuttled us from Edgemount to Deadwood.

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Side trips out of Custer
BikerChick from Topeka, KS on 05/02/2022 10:48 AM
We will be riding the trail in July over 4 days. I'd like to do 3 but can't seem to get the mileage right with over nights. Anyway, we will probably stay in Custer one night after only a 14 mile ride from Hill City. Are there any nice side trips out of either Hill City or Custer that would be fun to explore?

Also, if anyone has a good 3 day/2 night itinerary they have used please share.

Anonymous from Silver City SD on 05/10/2022 08:43 PM
You could ride east to Stockade lake and ride the road around the lake. Not too long. Or ride south on Lower Frenchman's creek. Nice gravel.

BikerChick from Topeka, KS on 05/11/2022 02:11 PM
Thanks for those suggestions. Any thoughts on how to split this into a 3 day/2 night trip with camping?

Michael Terry from Reading, MA on 07/10/2022 02:42 PM
Custer to Mount Rushmore is 22 miles, but the app says it is steep. So one would be slow, the other fast -- all paved.

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Horse trailer parking at Kirk th
Melissa from Kaycee Wy on 07/02/2022 04:23 PM
Just wondering if there is room to park a truck and horse trailer so we can ride the loop?

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half day ride
Anonymous on 06/30/2022 10:20 AM
My husband, 15 year old son, and myself are planning to rent bikes for a half day. Wondering if we should rent at Deadwood or Hill City? In 4 hours which location has the best ride for scenery, bridges, tunnels?

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jak from Salina KS on 05/08/2022 06:35 AM
I'm planning a 3 day, 2 night bikepacking trip in early June. Is there dispersed camping on the trail?

BikerChick from Topeka, KS on 05/11/2022 02:10 PM
I would actually like to know this too - I'd rather ride the trail in 3 days with 2 nights camping so we would have time to explore other areas. When are you planning to be there? We're from Topeka.

jak from Salina KS on 05/15/2022 12:07 PM
We are planning sometime between June 6 and 10. Still trying to solidify the details. I think we will end up putting our heads down and doing it in 2 days, staying overnight in Hill City.

BikerChick from Topeka on 06/23/2022 01:47 PM
Could you provide an update on your trip - how you did it, services used, etc. thanks

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My Mickelson Experience (Deadwood to Edgemont)
Mike from Irvine, CA on 10/08/2021 03:02 PM
I rode the Mickelson from Deadwood to Edgemont in the middle of September 2021. I decided to do it over 2 days, as doing the 109 miles in one day seemed daunting. I can do those miles on the road, but was unsure how it would be in the gravel. I am an active 50 year old, but not a high level athlete.

I started by dropping my truck off at the trailhead in Edgemont. There is plenty of parking at the trailhead, and the locals say it is safe to park there. I got a shuttle from there to Deadwood where I checked into a hotel.

The next morning I got started at 8am with the plan to make it to Hill City where I had a hotel room booked. The gravel is immaculately maintained, and the crushed limestone is like concrete. I was doing this on my hardtail mountain bike, and my XC tires rolled very fast on it. considerably faster than I was expecting. The climb out of Deadwood is long (around 15 miles), but the grade is not bad at all. I guess it all depends on the terrain you are used to, but I found it much easier than expected and pushed hard up that climb. The second long climb into Hill city is where I felt the effects of pushing so hard out of Deadwood. Next time I'll pace myself a little better there.

I got to Hill City at 11:30am (51 miles in on my Garmin which included miles getting to/from trailheads). This left me with way too much time on my hands in a city with little to do with nothing but my bike and bike clothes. Hotel check in time wasn't until 3pm and they were not too happy when I asked to check in early. In hindsight, I would have just kept pedaling and finished the trail in one day.

The next morning I got an earlier start at 7am, as I was itching to get riding again. There is a bit of a climb from Hill City to Custer, but after that it is pretty much flat or downhill with small little rises here and there. You make time very quickly from Custer to Edgemont. This leg was 61 miles on my Garmin (Hill City to Edgemeont) and took me 4 hours.

The scenery on the trail was exactly what I was hoping for. Big variety of ecosystems/wildlife etc. Absolutely beautiful. Overall great experience, but next time I would definitely do it all in one day.

Jenn Thomas from Boulder, CO on 05/21/2022 11:00 AM
What shuttle company did you use ?

Mike from Irvine, CA on 06/17/2022 03:55 PM
I used Discovery Tours. They were great. No issues

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David H. from Colorado Springs on 06/10/2022 04:21 AM
Can we use our road bikes on the trail? Currently using a 32CM wide street tire. Will this work or do I need wider tires? David H

Mike from Irvine, CA on 06/17/2022 03:39 PM
You could do it on road bikes with 32c tires no problem. I rode the whole thing in September, and it was very hardpack and fast. No loose conditions, and only 1 mud puddle.

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Hill City Trailhead
Brenda from Kansas City on 06/16/2022 06:03 PM
Any suggestions for overnight parking in Hill City?

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Deadwood trailhead parking
Ken from HurricaneUT, on 05/30/2022 02:25 PM
We are wondering about parking at the trailhead in Deadwood. We want to ride the trail with at least one over night stay during the ride and don't want to worry about the vehicle. Can anyone comment?

JDM from ND on 05/31/2022 08:28 AM
I can't comment regarding overnight parking, but there is a large lot at the trailhead. Deadwood seems like a reasonably safe town, but there is always risk.

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Lodging/stops between Custer and Edgemont?
Ranger from Boulder on 08/22/2021 04:55 PM
Looking on the map, it looks like there are no places to stay after Custer, making it a 43 mile ride from Custer to Edgemont. I've heard rumors of a place to stay in Pringle, but not really making any headway finding it. Surely not everyone can ride the 43 miles between Custer and Edgemont in a day???? What do people do/recommend?

AJ on 08/25/2021 06:32 AM
You can easily do the 43 mile ride from Custer to Edgemont in a day. It's mostly all downhill. I remember certain chunks of it we were cruising at 20 mph, hardly peddling. We did Hill City to Edgemont in about 6-7 hours. We were not avid bikers at the time, so if you are in decent physical shape - it shouldn't be a problem.

Mike from Irvine, CA on 10/08/2021 03:40 PM
I agree with AJ. I did the Mickelson in 2 days (Deadwood to Hill City in 3.5hrs and then Hill City to Edgemont in 4hrs), and it was far easier than it looked on paper. Next time I'll do it in one day, and I'm not a particularly strong rider. North to South, there is a lot of downhill.

JDM from ND on 10/08/2021 04:44 PM
If it makes you feel any different, my group did it. We consisted of 4 adults who are not avid riders, and 4 kids ranging from 7-11.

It wasn't a cake walk, and I would say it seems mostly flat with some downhills and the occasional uphill thrown in.

Here is the elevation map:

The Forest service has one as well.

Anonymous from Denver on 05/26/2022 08:48 PM
The Plenty Star Ranch is just north of Pringle, so that would save a few miles. They have a couple nice cabins, plus camping shoes.

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Condition of the Trail on May 26, 2022?
Bill from Springfield, IL on 05/26/2022 01:04 PM
Does anyone have any updates on current trail and weather conditions for the next 7-10 days? Thank you.

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most scenic sections?
rocco from timnath on 05/14/2022 10:47 AM
Planning a couple "out and backs".
What are the most scenic sections?

JDM from ND on 05/16/2022 08:41 AM
I'd say anything north of the Minnekahta Trailhead is the prettiest sections. I think the most beautiful sections are from Deadwood to Custer. I particularly liked the sections near Hill City, which is the sections that are the most remote.

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LBG from Durango CO on 05/15/2022 04:31 PM
Is this route for non motorized only?

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LBG from Durango CO on 05/15/2022 02:31 PM
Is this route for non motorized only?

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Too much crown and too much new gravel makes the trail hazardous.
Anonymous from Silver City SD on 05/10/2022 08:57 PM
Why did they belly dump so much gravel on the trail and leave it so crowned?? You can not ride safely side by side(when traffic allows) and the crown makes it dangerous if you get on the side of it.
The new gravel is nice but I hope they get it graded out to more natural terrain. It is so humped up it is scary in spots.
I wouldn't want young children or anyone with balance issues riding it.
It also has huge ruts down the center on the stretch to Custer?
I know it's early but last year when they were grading they left it very crowned then?

Bill from Springfield, IL on 05/12/2022 05:44 PM
I'm trying to envision this crown you are talking about. Any pictures? It does sound unsafe. Thanks.

JDM from ND on 05/12/2022 06:53 PM
I recall there being a section in the southern half of the trail that was quite crowned, but it was packed enough that traction wasn't an issue. I could see it being dangerous if the gravel was loose. Hopefully they have plans to drag it flat.

rocco from timnath on 05/14/2022 10:39 AM
"crown" means it is mounded down the center and slopes to the sides.

Bill from Springfield, IL on 05/14/2022 11:37 AM
Yes, I know what "crown" means. I was actually asking if anyone had any pictures to show how "bad" the crown is. If it's such a crown that's it's unsafe for children to ride, I'd have to wait until they level it out.

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