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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
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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 ?

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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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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.

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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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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

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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?

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Interactive map accuracy
Robert Bruce Warden Laubach from Williamsburg on 05/06/2022 10:14 AM
I was trying to follow the interactive map and between miles 20 and 30, the blue line that shows the trail does not match the dotted line of the trail. is there a more accurate map available?

JDM from ND on 05/06/2022 01:15 PM
Robert - I assume you are meaning the section between roughly Pringle and south of Argyle? Are you riding the trail north or south?

Google Maps is pretty accurate, and you can turn on the Bicycle layer so it is more clear. From my memory, the trail is very easy to follow in that area. We rode south and this was our final day of riding, so our group of 8 was pretty spread out, including kids between 8 & 11, and no one got lost. I am pretty sure my son was in the lead for most of our last push from Custer.

I wonder if something happened to the interactive map as I don't recall there being such a discrepancy before.

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May weather
Bubba Barron from St Louis on 04/14/2022 07:02 PM
Last minute trip being planned for mid May. Anyone have knowledge of what the weather might be? Would like to ride the trail but without frostbite.
It's ALL Good!

Wendy on 04/22/2022 01:47 PM
Plan for all weather conditions when riding the Mick. I'll be there mid May as well. It's amazing. Enjoy!

Wendy on 04/22/2022 01:52 PM
Are you by the chance "the Bubba"?

Bubba on 04/22/2022 03:07 PM
Well, perhaps I am.

Anonymous on 04/24/2022 07:36 AM
In the cycling world, there's only one Bubba. I drive 11 hours, each way, from Kansas just to ride it multiple times a year. For some reason, I can't get enough of it.

Bubba Barron from St Louis on 04/24/2022 08:32 AM
Thank you. Yes, I am THAT Bubba. Hope to be able to add a week long tour in and around the Mick.
After all
It's ALL Good

Wendy Mc on 04/25/2022 08:25 AM
Friends always give you raving reviews! I hope to ride the Trace with you this fall. If not, then next. Bubbafest has been on my list forever so I'll eventually make it.

I've only "officially" ridden in 21 states. My criteria is a meaningful amount of miles, so that's usually a week long tour. South Dakota, specifically the Black Hills, is the one place that just keeps calling me back. When you ride the Mick make a stop at the Rochford Mall, known as the "Small of America". From the trailhead it's less then a .5 mile in to town.

I hope you enjoy the Hills as much as I do!

Bubba Barron from St Louis on 04/25/2022 09:08 AM
Thank you for the suggestion. I am excited for finally be able to make this trip.
Natchez Trace Tour is filling fast. Actually had to add a second week since the first week filled quickly. BubbaFest is amazing.
It's ALL Good!

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Leaving a car in Deadwood?
Donna B. from Fort Collins, CO on 03/21/2022 04:10 AM
We are planning to ride the Mickelson trail over Memorial Day weekend with another couple. We planned to leave one car in Deadwood and the other in Edgemont so we can coordinate our own shuttle back to Deadwood. I am wondering about parking on both ends of the trail to leave a car? Thanks for any ideas!

Brad from Thornton on 04/02/2022 03:58 PM
We tend to stay in Deadwood or Lead. Drive down in the morning and ride back to Deadwood. We usually have a sag driver or someone move vehicle to Deadwood durning the day.

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Distance question
DonS from Denver on 04/02/2022 03:38 PM
What is the actual distance from Deadwood to Carston Cottages. The trip planner says its 25.3 miles but other sources, RidewithGPS & Google Maps say 15.8 miles?

Brad from Thornton on 04/02/2022 03:55 PM
We have road it a few times. I have 15 miles from deadwood to Michelson crest B at 15 miles. That should be pretty close

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Love2BikeTour on 03/26/2022 04:25 AM
A small group of us are planning to bike out and back on the Mickelson in early to mid-June, camping along the way (leaving car in Deadwood). We travel only 30-40 miles/day. I'm wondering about camping opportunities in the Edgemont area that are quiet and safe, other than the one in town. Read about frequent trains making lots of noise at the town campground. Has anyone wild-camped near Edgemont and the bike trail? If so, did you have to fill up water ahead of time? Thanks!

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Weather/Trail Question
Bill from Springfield, IL on 02/27/2022 08:44 AM
Realizing each spring is different, when does the trail USUALLY become suitable for gravel-bike riding each year? Late April, mid-May? First of June? Thanks.

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blocke from Okla on 01/18/2022 12:20 PM
Planning on riding the trail the last part of May. Starting in Deadwood and heading south. My question is do I need to worry about snow? Thanks,

JDM from ND on 02/14/2022 10:13 AM
I would say it's not likely, but certainly possible. I use accuweather.com which seems to be fairly accurate a month out. Just keep checking weather regularly before your departure.

blocke from Okla on 02/14/2022 01:40 PM
Thanks will do

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Camping, Riding Mickeson and visiting tourist attractions
Vonnie from Indiana on 02/03/2022 07:02 AM
I'm planning camping road trip Northwest in July, I'd like to incorporate Riding the Mickelson Trail, in addition to all the other points of interest...Mt. Rushmore, Wind Cave, Badlands National Park, everything. I'm travelling SOLO so have no SAG support. I had thought I'd camp somewhere mid-point on the trail (custer?) , ride in one direction and overnight at B&B, then ride back to Campground for 1 night, then ride the other direction and overnight, then back to Campground.

That would make it a 4 day ride.

Then should like to spend an additional 4 days to do all the other tourist stuff.

Question: Is Custer State Park a good choice for camping in order to do the Trail and also all the other tourist stuff? The Oreville State Forest looks nice, but no electricity (so no A/C in July).

I have a small rig....only 16', so don't need a huge site...but do appreciate hookups.

Ron Wood on 02/09/2022 09:20 AM
We are riding from Custer, maybe Hill City, to Deadwood, then shuttleing back to trailhead. Camping in Custer at Big Pine Campground. On another day, possibly ride from Custer to Edgemont, spend the night, then back to Custer

Ron Wood on 02/09/2022 09:25 AM
Check out the Mickleson Trail Trip Planner. That might help

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Nearby good routes
Wade from Eden Prairie on 12/30/2021 09:19 AM
Sarting to plan for 2022. Planning on bike packing. I feel we can do the full trail in 2 days, Deadwood to Edgemont.

Any suggestions for nearby routes (near Deadwood or Edgemont) that we could add a 3rd day? Even an out and back to the trail head could be cool, especially if there are sites to see. Looking for something in the 40 - 65 mile range.


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Ron Wood on 11/15/2021 03:03 PM
Planning on riding The Mick Sept, 2022. I've read that the scenery is much better between Deadwood and Custer than it is Custer to Edgemont.
Comments/thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

JDM from ND on 12/06/2021 09:53 AM
Read here:

And there are several others to glean from.

Mike from Irvine, CA on 12/28/2021 04:47 PM
I rode it Sept 2021. The scenery from Deadwood to Custer is greener, more mountainous, with more creeks and streams etc. Beautiful for sure. Custer to Edgemont has some of the least scenic areas (large flat fields of weeds etc), but also had some of the best scenery (canyons and spines). The whole thing is worth doing, but the northern half is more mountainous and green, and the southern half a bit more flat and dry.

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Gold Rush E-Bikes in Deadwood
Ben from Lyons, Co. on 12/05/2021 05:16 PM
Are ebikes allowed on the Mickelson Trail ?

Patty on 12/05/2021 09:31 PM
I rode my ebike there.

JDM from ND on 12/06/2021 09:52 AM
They are indeed. But you may get some funny looks from traditional bike riders who are busting their rears to climb hills as you zoom past... I know I did! LOL!

Joe from Carlsbad Ca on 12/25/2021 01:38 PM
E-bikes are definitely OK, even some of the Rangers/ trail ambassadors ride them. Just like anything else ride responsibly.

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Trail Management Plan
Mark from Northampton, MA on 12/20/2021 07:54 AM
Does the Mickelson Trail have a Trail Maintenance/Management Plan online?

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Trail Conditions Oct. 22 & 23
Brad from Iowa on 10/20/2021 07:51 AM
Would like to drive the seven hours to the Hills and ride the trail Fri. and Sat. I see reports of some snow recently in the Hills. Would appreciate opinions on if the trail will be a decent ride on Fri. and Sat. this week before making the long trip out there. Thanks!

Jenny Lee from Casper, WY on 10/22/2021 06:26 AM
Following this question. I’m also hoping to ride the trail this weekend, but I heard snow now iOS likely be a factor.

Brad Anderson from Thornton Co on 10/22/2021 06:45 AM
We are in Lead now. Looked like some snow in the trail but planning to check it out this morning. I have a trail report this afternoon. We are riding from Edgemont to Denver tomorrow morning. I think we will be able to ride trail Edgemont to Custer then take road if need be. At Hill City we can take gravel roads to Deadwood if we need to.

Anonymous on 10/22/2021 05:26 PM
10/22 - Hill City to Mountaintop snow covered in all shaded areas and all bridges. Had to walk the bikes maybe three or 4 miles. Mountaintop to Custer was fine. If the temp hold up the snow may be gone in a few more days.

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Trail condition on 10/15/21?
Decker from Rapid city on 10/14/2021 05:44 PM
How is the trail for biking after the snow storm we just received?

Kurt from Fort Collins on 10/17/2021 03:18 PM
Just finished a ride from Custer to Edgemont. Leaving Custer the trail was under 2" of crusty snow, still left from the storm this week. Unrideable. Rode the highway to White Elephant trailhead. The rest of the ride was lovely.

Except for the locked gates at Sheep Canyon. WTH. The south gate even has barbed wire. Good luck getting a 70 lb. ebike through there (not my case).

Kurt from Fort Collins on 10/17/2021 03:18 PM
Just finished a ride from Custer to Edgemont. Leaving Custer the trail was under 2" of crusty snow, still left from the storm this week. Unrideable. Rode the highway to White Elephant trailhead. The rest of the ride was lovely.

Except for the locked gates at Sheep Canyon. WTH. The south gate even has barbed wire. Good luck getting a 70 lb. ebike through there (not my case).

Kurt from Fort Collins on 10/17/2021 08:55 PM
Talked to another rider after my previous post, and he said that the locked gates weren't actually locked to the post, and you can fit a bike through them. Guess I didn't study it hard enough.

Brad Anderson from Thornton on 10/18/2021 06:09 AM
Just wondering how snow conditions from Deadwood to Custer. Looking to ride Edgemont to Deadwood this coming Saturday. I think Tuesday is a chance for some moisture but hoping trail opens up by Saturday.

Thanks for any info

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