JDM from ND on 09/27/2021 06:59 PM
We just completed our journey from Deadwood to Edgemont and I wanted to put some information out there that may help others as well as some of my own comments. First, it was amazing to be in the mountains again. They are certainly my happy place! Our group was 4 adults and 4 children ranging in age of 7-11 and none of us are expert riders. Our plan was to split the journey up into 5 days. We planned to ride from Deadwood to Rochford, then to Hill City, onto Custer, then Hot Springs and finally Edgemont. We decided to power thru the 4th day and ride the 44 miles from Custer to Edgemont. Logistics worked wonderfully with my in-laws being our pit-crew. I modified an enclosed trailer with bike racks so we had my rig and that of my in-laws to shuffle equipment and bodies to and from. This setup was certainly the keystone of our trip!
We all did what we could to get ourselves ready for this trip, but there were certainly some shortcomings. I think you need to be an avid rider or dedicate yourself to several long-distance rides prior to the trip to be more prepared. But aside from sore saddles and other muscles, we had a wonderful time! Collectively we felt our favorite parts of the ride where between Deadwood and Hill city because the trail is far enough from the highway that it's peaceful with less human interference. Seemed we had good Verizon cell service for most of the trail with the exception of an approx. 20 mile radius around Rockford. Once leaving Rochford, my GPS wanted to take me out to hwy 385 to get to Hill city, but that was a 2hr loop from there. So we forced it to take us South on Rochford Road enduring the 20ish miles of dirt road thru very scenic valleys.
As you leave Hill City, the scenery changes to more of a high desert; coupled with the trail paralleling the highway for most of it; this became our least favorite section. At Pringle the trail diverges again from the highway and back into more beautiful valleys. From here, there is far less traffic on hwy 89, so when it does parallel the main roads, it’s not nearly as intrusive. As you continue south, the scenery changes to open spaces with buttes, which some may find more appealing than Alpine forests, but at this point, we were ready to be done.
In Edgemont, you have to watch for signs for the end of the trail. The map on this site is accurate in that the trail ends where it meets Hwy 185 NE of town. From there you jog east and then immediately south to catch Old Hwy 18. Ride that into town looking to turn south on 2nd street. Then less than ½ mile from there, you will see the city park and the end of the trail.
We stayed our last night in Hot Springs, hoping it to be more touristy than it was. If you stay at the Baymont, set your standards low. In fact, my immediate family had planned to stay an extra night there but cancelled our reservations in favor of something in Spearfish instead. That worked out MUCH better. Nicer place to be, back in the mountains, and then somewhat closer for our journey home.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. We spent 9 days in the area splitting touristy stuff with biking and enjoying as many of the local breweries as we could. If you are researching this trail, it is very fun and we had great weather the last couple weeks in Sept. The trade off is that fewer restaurants are open, making it hard to find dinner places without crazy wait times. But we made due.