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Mickelson Trail Forum

Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
 
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Walking
 - 
Happy on 10/08/2019 06:21 AM
How is walking this trail? Is it steep or relaxing? Thanks

 
Okiejuan from Sheridan, WY on 12/31/2019 06:55 AM
Given that it was originally a railroad line it will be easily walkable.


Camping allowed along the trail?
 - 
Trail Rider from San Antonio on 12/23/2019 10:16 AM
Planning a 4 day Deadwood to Edgmont ride with my wife. Will find a hotel in Hill City. Wondering if we can primitive camp along/near the trail in the Rochford and Pringle areas?


Edgemont Trailhead in Edgemont
 - 
The Norm from Riverbank Ca on 12/15/2019 12:36 AM
Is there a shuttle service from Edgemont to Deadwood? If so Contact info please. Planning to ride early Sept 2020


EBikes
 - 
Richard S. from Denver on 10/13/2019 09:37 AM
Are EBikes (Electric bikes) permitted on the trail? THANKS

 
Ray [webmaster] on 10/24/2019 08:33 PM
According to the SD Parks Dept website "Electric wheelchairs, electric scooters and select e-bikes are allowed on the trail." My understanding is if your bike is electric - not motorized (i.e. gas-burning) - then you are OK.


Mickelson to Cowboy
 - 
Kevin Meier from Huntsville, AL on 10/15/2019 12:43 PM
My wife are planning a trip that will start at the top of the Mickelson Trail and end at the eastern terminus of the Cowboy Trail. But we are unfamiliar with the dirt roads of South Dakota. (Which Google has us on from Edgemont to Oelrichs.) Are they traversable via bicycle or should we only stick to paved roads? Thanks!


Trail conditions
 - 
Anonymous on 08/25/2019 08:51 PM
My wife and I will be riding the trail in September and we were wondering what the condition of the trail is in with all the rain the "Hills" have been getting. Last year we rode it with bikes that had 32mm tires, and while struggling in some soft spots got through OK. We also have some older mountain bikes with 1.95" tires (26"). Any recommendations? We loved this trail and certainly want to do it again.

 
Flytyer from Hot Springs Village, AR on 08/26/2019 06:08 AM
I rode it week before last Aug 14-17. Thought the trail was in remarkably good condition considering the large rains. There are isolated spots of minor trail erosion and small amounts of sand. I cycled with 38mm and they were fine. Watch wind speed and direction! Great trail.

 
Anonymous on 08/26/2019 08:01 PM
Thanks a bunch!


Riding from Keystone to a trailhead
 - 
Jackie from Minneapolis on 07/08/2019 12:40 PM
Is there any reasonable way to (road) bike from the Keystone area to a trailhead?

 
Anonymous on 08/25/2019 09:02 PM
I'm not from there but I do know it is about 12 miles on 16west to Hills City. I've always wondered about whether they allowed bikes on the train....but I've never seen any. If you are not tied into Keystone as a starting spot, Custer, Hills City, and Deadwood are much easier access.


Easy scenic ten mile segment
 - 
Cyclenorfork from Arkansas on 08/25/2019 08:36 AM
Any recommendations for short scenic easy pedal


Is the trail open to biking during the lean horse ultra
 - 
Wade on 08/11/2019 05:26 PM
Is the trail open to biking during lean horse ultra


Tunnels - lights needed?
 - 
Colorado Joe from Longmont, Colorado on 07/02/2019 09:39 PM
I understand that there are 4 tunnels along the trail. Are lights required to safely navigate the tunnels, or are they short enough that bike lights / headlamps are not required?

 
Anonymous on 07/05/2019 10:33 PM
The tunnels are short. Take off your sunglasses and slow down. I never use a light in them.


parking at minnekahta
 - 
jane on 06/25/2019 02:58 PM
Can you park a car at Minnekahta trailhead?


Trail Condition
 - 
Anonymous on 06/15/2019 09:19 AM
Does anyone know if the trail from Hill City to Crazy Horse is in good condition or is it still soft?

 
SD vacationer on 06/22/2019 08:00 AM
Rode from Hill City to Crazy Horse 6/20/19 & 6/21/19. Rained every day this past week. Would say the trail was wet, not soft.


 - 
Peterplosy from Gliwice on 06/14/2019 10:37 PM




Bicycle Fees/Permit REquirements
 - 
Dan E from Evanston IL on 06/03/2019 05:52 PM
Can someone tell me if fees and a permit are required to ride my bicycle on the Mickelson Trail? If so, how do I go about paying the fees and getting the permit. I will be riding for two days on the Trail later this month. Thank you. Dan

 
Bearhoops from RC on 06/06/2019 10:22 AM
Pay at trailhead. $4/day or $15/year.


DeadWheels Bike Rentals in Deadwood
 - 
Tin Fish from Somerville on 05/18/2019 10:16 AM
looking to do the Mickelson trail, on bike, over a 4 or 5 day period. looking for rental and shuttle to and from way-points on the trail. starting on Aug 15th or 16th, maybe taking a day or two off between trail segments


Any problems getting campsites or places to stay?
 - 
Chris T. from Kansas City on 04/20/2019 01:40 PM
We are planning to ride the trail one way in June with camping gear. Do we need to make campsite (or other accomadations) reservations ahead of time or are we likely to be able to get campsites? It is nice to leave it open unless we are likely to have trouble finding a place to stay.

Thanks

 
Brad J from Denver on 04/30/2019 08:52 PM
I'm in exactly the same position and was wondering the same thing. The trail runs through National Forest and per the NF Website, disperse camping is allowed, so long as the area isn't developed. I'm kind of wondering if I run into an issue getting a campsite if it's reasonable to assume I could disperse camp off the trail a ways. If you find out anything, please post, as I'm looking for this info too.

 
I love the Mickelson from Sturgis, SD on 05/15/2019 09:13 PM
Assuming you are starting in Deadwood and riding to Edgemont. Most peopoe who do the trail in two days ride to Hill CIty the first day. There are private campgrounds literally right along the trail, with tent camping. And dispersed camping is allowed away from the trail on forest land. In JUne you should be ok even in the campgrounds to get a tent spot.
You are in for a treat - this trail is the best!!


Dumont
 - 
John from Wood dale il on 10/17/2018 10:00 PM
I just wanted to mention that my wife and I rode from DuPont to hill city today and trail is soggy in many parts. Had to go over snow and ice many times. Probably should wait until Saturday or Sunday before riding.


Elevation
 - 
Carl MacKay from Choctaw, OK on 08/12/2018 06:06 PM
What is the elevation gain for the ride? Is it extremely hilly?

 
Bcov on 08/12/2018 08:17 PM
Total elevation north to south is about 4,500 feet. I would assume that the south to north route would be about 5,500 feet. Not hilly, as much as long 3-6 mile uphill sections followed by equally long down hill sections.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 08/13/2018 08:37 AM
Here is a web page with an elevation chart: https://www.mapmyride.com/us/hot-springs-sd/mickelson-trail-route-43717916

 
Jeff from Fort Worth on 09/19/2018 05:20 PM
The grade on the Mickelson is very reasonable, never over 5%. The climbs can be long and monotonous on a hot day, but a cyclist in only fair shape can handle them. I saw people very out of shape on all parts of the trail, every day, with little issue.

 
Ray (webmaster) on 09/22/2018 10:28 AM
Here's an elevation chart of the Mickelson Trail that I put together: elevation.aspx

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. :-)

Happy trails!


How late is too late?
 - 
K Wombat from Northern Colorado on 08/19/2018 01:35 PM
We are considering riding the trail in mid-October and would welcome any comments about typical weather, trail conditions, color, and water availability at that time. Thanks!

 
baconboy from Bismarck, ND on 09/10/2018 07:19 PM
We have the exact same questions! A few families with many small children (2-9 yrs old) are planning to come down from ND mid-late Oct for a couple days of kid friendly (downhill) rides. Are we crazy for planning so late in the season?

We were planning to self shuttle a couple North sections unless the time of year warrants a different approach.


Tire size
 - 
Ovsa on 06/04/2018 06:47 AM
Plan on cycling the trail with the 38mm Trigger Sport tires that came with my hybrid.
Will these be suitable for the trail or should I look at getting something wider? Thanks

 
Rod Woten from Stuart,IA on 06/08/2018 11:31 AM
Those should be perfect! I run the Schwalbe G-One 4omm's which are very similar.

 
Anonymous on 06/10/2018 09:27 PM
Ok thanks


Sharing a shuttle
 - 
Ovsa on 06/04/2018 06:51 AM
Looking for someone to share a shuttle with from Edgemont to Hill City on Thursday, June 14 in the AM.


Lodging
 - 
SueB from Potland, OR on 05/09/2018 02:35 PM
4 or 5 of us are looking for lodging and ideally food, between Deadwood and Hill City as we were going to carry our gear and didn't want to do a 48 mile first day. Our literature said that Rockford would be an option, but in fact the only lodging I can find for Rockford is Carsten Cabins which I believe is at Lead. Is there any other lodging at Rockford? Anyone got a porch we could sleep on?

 
BCov from Salt Lake City on 05/10/2018 04:54 PM
From the research I have done, the Carstens Cottages are near Dumont which is about 15 miles out of Deadwood and about 31 miles from Hill City. My plan is to just do the 15 miles on the first day, because it is mostly uphill (1,700 elevation increase) and I am riding the trail with my family (wife and 3 kids). The second day will be the 31 miles into Hill City.

All of this information is just from my research, as we leave for the trip in a few weeks. I hope I'm not wrong!

 
BCov from Sandy on 06/01/2018 11:48 AM
Carstens Cottages worked out perfectly for us. The first day out of Deadwood is a long uphill ride and Carstens Cottages is about 2 miles south of the Dumont Trailhead. The cottages are well appointed with everything you could need but food. We had brought dinner with us and warmed it in the microwave. My kids really enjoyed playing frisbee in the open field and watching some of the animals that are around (horses, llamas, donkeys and a peacock).


Which Way?
 - 
KACH from Kansas City on 02/25/2018 07:18 PM
We are hoping to do the Mickelson trail this summer. Should we go Deadwood to Edgemont and catch a shuttle back to Deadwood? OR, should we go North from Edgemont to Deadwood and shuttle back south?

Thanks for any advice!


 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh, PA. on 03/01/2018 12:27 PM
If you are just going to do the trail in one direction I would recommend Deadwood to Edgemont then do the shuttle back. This would get the big hills and elevation done at the beginning of your trip. I would recommend taking a look at the elevation chart also. Have a great trip.

 
ovsa from CALGARY on 03/21/2018 09:42 AM
what shuttle is available from Edgemont back to Deadwood? Haven't been able to find anything

 
Mac McPherson from Mesquite on 03/21/2018 10:42 AM
Ovsa, Heres shuttle info
Mickelson Shuttle: Deadwheels. 605-484-6592 (Stacey)

 
Bill on 03/21/2018 12:10 PM
http://www.mickelsontrailadventures.com/shuttle-service.html

This link is the only one I could find that could get you from and to any part of the trail - all from Hill City. But the downside is it states that there is a 4-person minimum.
I'm still looking for a shuttle for just one person. Good luck.

 
Cindy from Longmont CO on 05/21/2018 04:57 PM
Same situation here - I'll be solo, and not sure how to shuttle back...perhaps as the season develops they'll add on to an existing reservation??

 
KACH on 05/28/2018 03:09 PM
Cindy - As far as a shuttle service, we plan to use http://blackhillsdiscoverytours.com/mickelson-trail-bike-shuttle.html

They do groups smaller than four and they claim to do pickup from any point on the trail.

 
BCov from Sandy on 06/01/2018 11:44 AM
We just finished the trail on Wednesday. We rode from Deadwood to Edgemont and used Deadwheels for the shuttle for 2 of us. Stacey was great, we were running a little late on the day of our reservation and I called her that morning and I was able to push it back an hour without any issues. We used the shuttle on the front end of the trip so when we got to Edgemont we just loaded our bikes up and were able to depart immediately rather than having to time the shuttle on the last day and have people wait at the park for a few hours while I went to get the vehicle from the starting point.
We had so much fun on the trip, even my kids ages 9 & 11 had a great time and want to do it again.


parking
 - 
ovsa on 04/26/2018 05:36 PM
any suggestions as to where a park a vehicle for a few days in Deadwood while cycling the trail?
Dont mind paying a bit as long as i know it is safe.
thanks


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 - 
Jassondiula on 04/23/2018 04:48 PM
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Road riding.
 - 
Ovsa from CALGARY on 04/02/2018 07:01 PM
Instead of worrying about a shuttle from Edgemont back to Deadwood, I was thinking taking the secondary roads back up through Hot Springs, Wind Cave and Mount Rushmore back to Hill City. Namely Hwys 18, 385, 87 and 16A.
Just wondering what those roads are like for cycling. Are the wide enough for cycling and is there lots of traffic that might not make it too enjoyable?

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh on 04/19/2018 02:46 PM
You should go onto the satellite view on Google Map to check it out. Some roads look wide enough but remember there will be a lot of motor homes driving on some of the roads and always people in a hurry. If it was not working out for you on the road you could always call a shuttle or get back on the trail. You always see things differently going the opposite direction.

 
Anonymous on 04/22/2018 09:31 PM
will do, thanks


Weather in Mid June.
 - 
ovsa from CALGARY on 03/30/2018 07:10 PM
Anybody give me an idea of what kind of weather to expect in Mid June along the trail. Plan on doing the whole thing and camping 3 or 4 nights. Hoping there is not too much rain.
Thanks

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh, PA. on 03/31/2018 10:56 AM
You will be looking at mid to high 70's with a day or two in the low 80's and mid 50'5 at night. Depending on which area and altitude you are riding at the time.I did the trail last June and only hit one rain shower. My video of the trail is further down the list of comments if you want to see how beautiful the trail looks. Hope this helps.


campng
 - 
ovsa from CALGARY on 03/21/2018 09:45 AM
doesn't seen to be a lot of camping options along the trail or close by.
is there more than are listed on this interactive map?

 
Anonymous on 03/21/2018 02:39 PM
If your schedule permits consider the Trail Trek in early September.


Trail condition
 - 
Billy Bob from Western Wyoming on 03/18/2018 01:17 PM
Hi. Heading to the Black Hills on March 31st and I'd like to ride some of the trail. Maybe just ride two, 20-30 mile round trip on portions of the trail over a two day period. Is the trail open? What might be the best sections to ride that aren't high gradient? Is there such a thing as typical early April weather? Any information would be helpful. Thanks


Family Ride - End of May
 - 
bcov from Salt Lake City, UT on 02/12/2018 11:06 AM
Looking to do the trail with my family in late May (ending around Memorial Day). Thoughts on conditions of the trail at that time?

 
Stillriding@comcast.net from Pittsburgh on 02/12/2018 03:32 PM
Hi, I did my trip starting June 7th last year and the trail was in great shape then. Only hit rain 1 day. Hope that helps.


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does the goat head thorn live in the Black Hills?
 - 
Allen from Ft. Collins on 01/20/2018 12:18 PM
These goat head or puncturevine has spoiled some trips on soft-surfaced trails on the Colorado front range for us. Does it grow in that part of South Dakota?


 - 
William from Columbus on 12/26/2017 08:55 AM
I do not see any information on the trail surface is it pavement?

 
Stillriding from Pgh. on 12/29/2017 03:00 PM
I would say 95% Crushed Stone. Well maintained.


 - 
MPH from St Louis on 08/13/2017 05:04 PM
Elevation chart for the trail? I have been trying to find one but have had no luck.

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh on 08/15/2017 04:46 PM
Hi MPH. Check out this web page and then put your arrow on any part of the map down below to see the elevation of that part of the trail. Just copy and paste.
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/350568

 
Karen from Kansas on 10/25/2017 10:32 PM
This is a great map, with elevation for the whole trail on the left side.

http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/mickelson-trail/map.aspx


water is off
 - 
Ray (webmaster) on 10/12/2017 08:58 PM
The water at trailheads has been shut off for the winter.


Questions: Tires, Best Route
 - 
Tonya from Center of the U.S. on 08/08/2017 08:23 AM
We will be heading to SD the end of this week. We are planning to ride the Mickelson. We turned 50 this year and it is our goal to ride 50 miles of Mickelson. I have been reading people's comments, but haven't gotten a clear answer. Is the trail too soft for a hybrid bike? Do I need knobby tires for this ride? What is the easiest 50 mile trip? Deadwood to Hill City, or the other direction? I would appreciate any comments.

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh on 08/08/2017 09:33 AM
The trail is not too soft for a Hybrid and you can get by without Knobby tires. There are a few soft spots but not many and you can see the few spots before you get to them so you have time to ride along the edge. I did Deadwood to Hill City in both directions and they are both challenging with up grades and nice down grades. In my opinion Deadwood to Hill City is the way to go. Hope that helps and have a great trip. You will be stopping lots to take pictures. Last...Remember when starting in Deadwood you then going up the trail and at 3.6 miles you will come to the beginning of the loop. You can go right or left. Going to the right is longer but great views from the top of the hill. Go 4.7 miles and you will see a sign to continue on to Dumont or take the loop back to Deadwood.

 
WBM from Springfield, IL on 08/31/2017 05:03 PM
Is it possible to do the trail with a traditional road bike using 700x28mm tires. I've read that a road bike with thin tires is not recommended, but I've heard others dispute that. Thank you.

 
Stillriding from Pittsburgh on 09/01/2017 10:29 AM
Hi. I did the trail in both directions with 700x38c tires but I don't know how much skinnier 28s are but for 98% of the trail I had no problem. That's the best answer I can give you. If I where you I would find a bike with my tire size so you can see the different side by side then make a decision.

 
WBM on 09/01/2017 08:53 PM
Thanks...I think I'm going to rent a bike for the trail instead of bringing my road bike...and leave the 28s on my road bike.

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