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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
 
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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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Camping
 - 
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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snow
 - 
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.

Thanks!

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scenery
 - 
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:
https://bikemickelson.com/talk.aspx?tid=11625&tonly=1

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
Brad

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Crazy Horse Memorial
 - 
Shellie from Bend, OR on 10/11/2021 02:17 PM
Given that the Mickelson Trail goes right past the Crazy Horse Memorial I am planning to stop and see it when I ride the trail in June. My question is regarding the Avenue of the Chiefs road that leads to the visitor center...is that road safe to cycle on? From what I can tell from Google Earth it looks very wide and may even have a bike lane or a shoulder to ride on?? Many thanks in advance for your insight.

 
JDM from ND on 10/11/2021 02:54 PM
I would say it is reasonably safe. It is 4 lanes, quite short, and slower speed limit as I recall. I don't remember if there is a shoulder, but I remember it being quite wide. We visited by vehicle, but I don't think I would have hesitated taking my family on that road. Here is a horrible, yet accurate video I found:
https://youtu.be/77FG8tjfDm8?t=158

The video should start you where the driver turns off the highway and onto Ave of Chiefs.

 
Shellie from Bend, OR on 10/11/2021 05:24 PM
Thank you so much! The video shows the road is indeed quite wide and there is what appears to be a nice shoulder to ride on.

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trail riding info, lodging
 - 
Ron Wood on 10/04/2021 10:50 AM
In September 2022, thinking about riding Edgemont to Custer, spend the night, then back to Custer. Pack up, do laundry, rest, go sightseeing, etc. Then travel by car to Deadwood, ride from Deadwood to Hill City, spend the night, then back to Deadwood. This would save carrying a lot of stuff, and we could see most of the trail. Need recommendations for affordable lodging that is close to trailhead in Edgemont and Deadwood. Does the make any sense?

 
JDM from ND on 10/04/2021 12:36 PM
Not sure it would help, but I know my wife and Sister-in-law looked for the most budget friendly places they could. That being said, we stayed at the Best Western in both Custer and Hill City. I believe both have coin operated laundry facilities.

After having been there just a few weeks ago, I might also dig a little deeper and search for cabin rentals. You might find something less expensive, but laundry might mean you look for a business in town to get that done. VRBO.com and Airbnb.com are also worth a try. You may be more flexible than we were as our party was 10 people.

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My Mickelson Experience
 - 
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.

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Bike tires
 - 
Scott from SE MN on 03/09/2021 07:19 PM
Planning a trip with friends for May, and wondering about the trail surface. We all primarily ride road bikes on asphalt and are set up for that, mostly running 25mm tires. Short of purchasing gravel bikes, what would folks think best if we just want to put on wider tires? My wife and I rode the Katy Trail in MO and found that trail surface very coarse and loose in places, really slow going w/o mt. Bike style setup. On the other hand, some crushed limestone trails in nearby WI are easily managed on road bikes with no change in tires. We’d appreciate any advice, thanks!

 
Scott from in SE MN on 03/12/2021 09:33 PM
Let's try it as multiple choice:
(a) hard-packed soil, (b) fine crushed limestone, (c) loose gravel, pea/bean size, (d) loose gravel, walnut size, (e) railroad ballast...
Could anyone who's ridden the trail comment on the trail surface they've experienced? Thanks!

 
Dandy Don from Fairfield on 03/13/2021 09:41 AM
I have done Katy, Mickelson, C&O, Gap, Cowboy, etc. Used 35 and 38mm on a hybrid, towing a Bob Trailer. Zero problems and good grip. Have also seen 25-28s bog down.

 
Bill from Central Illinois on 03/14/2021 05:36 PM
Hi Scott, my family stayed in Hill City two years ago and we started thinking about riding the trail then. I asked around wanting to know if my 700x25 tires would work. Virtually, everyone we met while we walked the trail were on 35-40 or higher. All said they didn't think a 700x25 set up would work. So I purchased a gravel bike with 700x40 tires and I'm looking forward to making the trip in May also. Of course, I guess anything is possible, but in May the trail could still be a little sloppy making 25s that much harder. Good luck!

 
Tim from Bismarck on 03/22/2021 10:01 AM
I would not advise 25's. The conditions are pretty variable. Most of the trail is pretty finely crushed rock, but there are some wet areas and the stretch on the north is no longer railroad grade and can be muddy and likewise is not "flat." I personally would not do anything less than 40's.

 
Anonymous on 04/18/2021 12:13 PM
May 2021 on Mickelson will have patches & areas of wet, mud and very soft gravel stretches. The tire needs to maneuver in that.

 
Chuckie from Denver on 09/15/2021 06:31 PM
I just rode from Edgemont to Custer on 32s. Cyclo-cross bike with loaded panniers. I fishtailed on numerous occasions. I wouldn't suggest anything smaller than a 32.

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Riding a tandem on trail
 - 
papa from SPRINGFIELD, MO on 04/21/2021 01:43 PM
Have ridden Katy from end to end on our tandem, can it be done on Michelson? Our tandem has 26 x1.25 tires, which worked well on Katy.

 
Dennis from Fort Collins CO on 05/23/2021 12:47 PM
we rode the Mick on a comotion speedster tandem in June 2017 on 700x35c tires. It was fine except a bit tricky in the sandy sections just before Edgemont. It may be more difficult if the trail gets very wet.
We also rode that tandem on the Allegeney and C&O.

 
Chuckie from Denver on 09/15/2021 06:24 PM
I just rode it on 32s and was fine except for the two times I slipped off the edge into the soft shoulder. The previous post is spot on. You will want more than 32s if it has recently rained. It all depends on how good of a bike handler you are.

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Pringle Trailhead in Pringle
 - 
Rosco 7 from Anthem on 06/05/2021 09:13 AM
Is there a place to camp for the night near the Pringle trailhead?

 
Ray (webmaster) on 06/08/2021 07:31 PM
If you go to AirBnB.com and search for Pringle SD, you'll find a log cabin and several campsites listed at "Plenty Star Ranch". The AirBnB maps makes it look like 2 or 3 miles north of Pringle.

 
Chuckie from Denver on 09/15/2021 06:17 PM
I rode past it today. It's a few miles north of Pringle. At $45 for a tent site it's a little too close to the highway for me.

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SMOKE
 - 
2MANDM from TULSA on 07/30/2021 12:24 PM
GETTING READY TO RIDE MICHELSON IN A COUPLE WEEKS. ANYONE ABLE TO GIVE INFO AS TO IF SMOKE FROM THE WILDFIRES IN SURROUNDING STATES IS IN THE AREA AND CAUSING CHALLENGES WITH BREATHING ON THE RIDE

 
AJ on 08/03/2021 06:18 PM
Was just in the Custer area this past weekend and there was significant smoke. Could definitely cause some challenges. I am biking the trail in a few weeks as well.

 
Chuckie from Denver on 09/15/2021 06:14 PM
I'm in Custer right now. Road up from Edgemont this morning. No smoke at all. Use www.purpleair.com for smoke readings

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Edgemont Trailhead in Edgemont
 - 
Glen Steliga from Redwood Valley, CA on 09/13/2021 02:55 PM
Is there tent camping in Edgemont near the Michelson trailhead? The only campground I see is an RV spot near the train tracks. Is that it for camping in Edgemont? looking forward to riding the trail in a couple weeks.

 
Chuckie from Denver on 09/15/2021 05:13 PM
Yes. It's $15 for a tent site. But be warned that the trains run by there all night long. Unless you are a really heavy sleeper, I would suggest a night at the Cowboy Inn instead.

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