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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
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What to take and how?
JDM on 08/09/2021 10:21 AM
My family and I are riding the trail for the first time this Sept. We are riding from Deadwood to Edgemont and breaking it up into 4 or 5 legs so we can all survive! We will have someone who picks us up at the rendezvous points and takes us to our nightly accommodations. I have a few questions:
1. How well is the trail marked and is there a good app you recommend to use to make sure we're on the right path?
2. What should we bring with us? We are planning on extra water, snacks, allen key set and spare tubes. Is there ways to refill waters along the path?
3. What is the easiest way to transport these items?

Anything else you'd like to share, I am all ears! Thanks!

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 08/11/2021 12:56 PM
Good Day - Here are my thoughts:

1. The trail is very well marked, with clear and consistent mile markers, as well as excellent signage at various trailheads. I am unaware of a Mickelson-specific phone app, however I use both MapMyRide and Cyclemeter on my rides - including when on the Mickelson. I recommend either, or any of the others readily available on the app store. You should not have any significant difficulty staying on the path. I do recommend studying the route beforehand, including the split near the 100.5 mile marker. While the reconnect at the Kirk Trailhead, one is steeper than the other.

2. The items listed are smart. Make sure you have a good phone charge as well, perhaps with an extra charger/cord. You will be going through some towns, and most of the trailheads should have water. I recommend a pannier for the items, either a rear one (you will need a rack for that), or one that will fit into the bike frame.

Also, mornings can be cool so layer work well.

I am heading out later this month and will revert back if I can think of anything else. It's a beautiful trail, and I think you all will love it.

JDM from ND on 08/23/2021 07:28 AM
Thanks so much PJN! I will look into the apps. Also glad to hear we can refill waters easily.

Sounds like some of us will be wearing backpacks, but I plan to install a rack on the rear of my bike.

We are very excited for this ride! Hope you enjoy your trip!

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Biking to Mt Rushmore from Rafter J near Custer
Tonya from Bangor on 06/21/2021 10:05 AM
Is it feasible to bike to Mount Rushmore, I understand there is a wide lane for bikers.

patty on 06/24/2021 08:18 AM
I am also wondering about biking to mt Rushmore from the Mickelson trail. once I heard that the road isn't safe for bikers ?

AJ on 08/03/2021 06:24 PM
No lane for bikers - it is a narrow and winding road. Seems dangerous on a bike as there is significant traffic this year.

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Trail conditions
Brandy from Spearfish on 07/29/2021 07:35 AM
Does anyone know of the trail conditions this morning?

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Tagged: Bavarian Inn

Ebikes me on Mickelson?
Bruce from Iowa on 07/24/2021 10:37 AM
Are Ebikes allowed on the Mickelson Trail?

Alan from Boulder on 07/24/2021 11:55 AM
apparently so. I and my rriend used them and saw many others. Saw nothing that prohibited them.

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electrical outlets
Bob Blakey from lewiston idaho on 04/30/2021 10:46 AM
do any of the trail heads have electrical outlets available to charge an ebike battery if necessary.

patty on 06/24/2021 08:33 AM
wondering the same thing...

Andi on 06/27/2021 01:02 PM
Yes. There are several parks along the trail with outlets.

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Jlybm on 06/14/2021 11:20 AM
Are there any local places to rent bikes in Mystic? Can’t find any on-line. Would like to bike with 3 kids (ages 14, 13 & 10) from dumont to mystic. All downhill and beautiful! (From what I read)

mark from MN on 06/22/2021 12:26 PM
We used - https://www.rabbitbike.com/ -- they were fantastic!

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Easy and scenic part of the trail?
Anonymous on 06/13/2021 11:03 AM
Would love some tips for the Mickelson trail. We'll be staying at the Rafter J RV park in Hill City July 18-21 and want to do a bike ride on the trail. It will be my wife and I (both in our 40s) and our boys aged 7 and 9. Which part of the trail would be best for scenery or most fun but not too strenuous for our boys?

Julie from Minneapolis on 06/14/2021 03:53 PM
Dumont or Engelwood to Deadwood is very scenic and almost all downhill!

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Return services
Hashslinger from Osakis Mn on 06/13/2021 02:53 PM
Does a service to return riders and bikes to their starting point exist?

DS on 06/14/2021 06:23 AM
Discovery tours out of Deadwood does. Highly recommend.

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Trail observations- first time rider
JD on 06/08/2021 07:20 PM
I enjoyed my 60 mile ride from Hill City to Edgemont. I was happy to pay the $4 fee.

I wanted to share a few observations.

South of Custard, the maintenance crew is loading sand on the trail. I question sand instead of gravel or pavement of some sort. I nearly crashed several times. I rode on the grass edge instead of the path.

At Pringle, the water pump does not work.

From mile marker 12ish to 7ish, there are several (4-6) wide gates closed/locked. It was tight for me to open the small gate and pass through without the gate hitting my bicycle.

At mile marker 1 and the nearby display, there is a definite lack of trail continuation to get to the city park in Edgemont. Eventually, I found my way.

JD on 06/12/2021 03:20 PM
More observations:

I rode the Deadwood to Hill City segment.

The route was well marked and thus easy to navigate.

I live in Kansas where everything is flat. The 2 major climbs gave me a tough challenge. The downhills afterward were a nice reward. The path is much firmer on this portion of the trail.

I was stopped on the trail near Rochford to verify that I paid the daily fee. I was asked to confirm payment, but not requested to show the paper.

On the path, I encountered maybe 20 riders throughout the day.

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Mickelson Trail closure in Lead
Ray (webmaster) on 06/08/2021 08:37 PM
A temporary trail closure will be in effect Monday, Jun 7 through July 1 on the Lead Spur of the Mickelson Trail in Lead.

Full news article:

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Parking for a week
melcooke from Winthrop, WA on 05/24/2021 10:28 PM
Does anyone know the parking arrangements for a vehicle that will be parked for a week while we are out riding?

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Sue from Traverse City, Mi on 05/07/2021 08:53 AM
Does anyone know if there are accomodations in Rochford or Pringle sling the Mickelson Trail? Thanks

Dennis from Fort Collins CO on 05/23/2021 12:52 PM
There’s a wonderful AirBnB in Pringle

Diane on 05/23/2021 07:31 PM
Do you have the name of the B&B in Pringle?

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Shuttle back to start?
Ds from Duluth, MN on 04/07/2021 11:30 PM
Is it possible to get a shuttle back to the starting point? Otherwise how do you get back to your car without doing the entire route again?

DLS from Indiana on 05/02/2021 05:29 PM
I am wondering the same thing. Have you learned if there is a shuttle?

Dennis from Fort Collins CO on 05/23/2021 12:54 PM
try Rabbit Bikes shuttle in Hill City. They are shuttling 9 of us from Edgemont to Lead. $38/ea

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Easy one day ride out of hill city
Mjm from Glenrock wy on 05/19/2021 07:20 AM
I’m looking for any ideas on accessing the trail a few miles out of hill city. I know there is a few mile climb heading towards deadwood. I road this part a few years back and remember getting to a rest station with water and. Shade. And if I remember correctly it was a pretty easy ride to mystic from there with a couple tunnels. The person I’m riding with is just getting his strength back after a big operation last year and don’t want to climb up any long hills yet. So I would like to access the trail near that water/ rest station if we can if anyone has information or helpful ideas please let me know. Plan on doing this 2nd weekend in June 2021
Thanks mjm

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One day ride
bigD on 01/23/2021 05:53 AM
Looking to do the trail in one day. Tips on food, directions to services at certain mileposts would be appreciated. Any must have lunch stops

CO72 on 02/10/2021 08:01 PM
I plan to give it a shot in one day, as well. Looking for same tips.

mike on 02/12/2021 06:03 PM
There are places to stop with food in Rochford, Hill City, and Custer. Not much after Custer until Edgemont except some water stops,

Anonymous from Moab on 05/12/2021 05:55 PM
Done the trail many times. Best from north to south, more downhill than uphill.

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Pringle Trailhead in Pringle
Neil P. from Oxford on 05/07/2021 12:39 PM
Can I leave a car parked at the Pringle parking lot for a week-long bike trip in the Black Hills?

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Maddigan Oshea from North Dakota on 12/29/2020 12:59 PM
I am allowed to camp anywhere along the trail, or just camping and hotel sites?

Bill from Central Illinois on 03/14/2021 05:27 PM
From everything I've read trying to plan a trip, you can only camp in a few designated areas along the trail. There are also some National Forests along the trail where you can camp. But I do think setting up camp just anywhere along the trail is prohibited.

Tim from Bismarck on 03/22/2021 10:34 AM
I agree with the above comment. It seems like the trail is not really designed with the camping in mind.

Chuck on 05/04/2021 01:06 PM
The trail passes through the Black Hills national forest. Dispersed camping is allowed in national forests as long as you follow the rules. There is a mix of private property and national forest along the trail. You can look on the USDA website to locate legal areas for dispersed camping. When in doubt, you can contact the local Ranger. There is an office in Spearfish, but they are closed to covid right now.

Chuck on 05/04/2021 01:06 PM
The trail passes through the Black Hills national forest. Dispersed camping is allowed in national forests as long as you follow the rules. There is a mix of private property and national forest along the trail. You can look on the USDA website to locate legal areas for dispersed camping. When in doubt, you can contact the local Ranger. There is an office in Spearfish, but they are closed to covid right now.

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Pringle Trailhead in Pringle
Steve Willams from Oak Creek, Colorado on 04/27/2021 03:06 PM
Hello. Wondering if one could leave vehicles parked in Pringle for a 7 days period while we ride up and back to Deadwood?
Thanks, -Steve

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Trail Conditions
Brad from Thornton on 04/19/2021 11:06 AM
I know its snowing right know but any thoughts on the trail being passable for this Saturday?

Ed from Rapid City on 04/22/2021 10:48 AM
I am wondering this too. I am almost willing to bet that there are parts that have snow over the trail. we have had a dry spring but IDK. Been anxious to ride the trail.

Brad from Thornton, Co on 04/22/2021 11:07 AM
Thanks Ed for info. We are planning to ride it this Saturday unless I here there is to much snow from Hill City to Deadwood. I like to ride it from Edgemont to Deadwood.

Brad from Thornton, Co on 04/22/2021 11:29 AM
Thanks Ed for info. We are planning to ride it this Saturday unless I here there is to much snow from Hill City to Deadwood. I like to ride it from Edgemont to Deadwood.

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Bicycles in Hotel Rooms
Ed from Rapid City on 04/22/2021 10:54 AM
What hotels in deadwood allow you to bring a couple of bicycles into the rooms?

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grade from Deadwood?
Alan from Boulder on 04/13/2021 01:40 PM
What is the grade of the climb out of Deadwood?

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Transportation from Edgemont to Valentine Ne?
SushiSeeker from Melbourne, FL on 03/27/2021 09:03 AM
Looking for a fast way to get to the Cowboy Trail. My friend and I are planning a self-supported ride along the Mickelson & Cowboy trails, and looking for a way to get between Edgemont SD and Valentine NE without riding the 200+ miles with little in-between. Any ideas? Thanks!

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Edgemont Trailhead in Edgemont
dawn danyluk from ORCHARD PARK on 01/27/2021 09:00 AM
is there overnight parking at the Edgemont trail head?

Tim from Bismarck on 03/22/2021 10:32 AM
There is parking in the town of Edgemont. We left a vehicle there and everyone in town seemed really appreciative of the commerce we brought.

Dandy Don from Fairfield on 03/22/2021 04:49 PM
Similar to Tim's experience, two years ago we parked 3 vehicles for several days, right on main street, (Ohio tags), and had no problems.
Super friendly folks all along the way east.

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trail info
mickey on 01/27/2021 09:19 AM
Is there ever an answer to all the questions?

CO72 on 02/10/2021 08:03 PM
Doesn't seem to be.

Scott from in SE MN on 03/12/2021 09:26 PM
LOL Just as in real life...more questions than answers. But seriously, it would certainly be helpful if a few more folks with Mikelson Trail experience & expertise would chime in with answers and opinions!

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DeadWheels Bike Rentals in Deadwood
edge from Backus, MN on 01/12/2021 10:20 AM
Planning a trip for fall -- Do you rent electric bikes? Are you selling the business or just the domain name?

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Granite Sports in Hill City
edge from Backus, MN on 01/12/2021 10:14 AM
Planning a trip -- Does Granite Sports rent electric bikes?

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National Forest Camping
Rob from Central New York on 11/27/2020 11:22 AM
Does anyone have any experience camping (front country or, preferably dispersed) in the Black Hills National Forest who biked the Trail during the day and camped at night?

Also open to experiences camping at Custer State Park or Windy Cave NP or even a KOA who biked during the day.

Please include personal experience rather than reference a place that you have not personally used.

Looking for ideas. Thank you.

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Fly fishing near Mickelson Trail
Brad from Colorado from Glenwood Springs on 07/28/2020 12:26 AM
I noticed on the Mickelson Trail map it says fly fishing opportunities. Anyone know which section of the trail has good fly fishing?

Rob from Central New York on 11/27/2020 11:17 AM
I would be interested in this as well. We travelled along a pretty brook around the Mystic Trailhead. I presume it holds fish, but not sure if it is all private property with no fishing easements.

Might be a good question for the National Forest Service.

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which way is better
mr_smith26 from Yankton on 11/24/2020 01:58 PM
Hey everyone, I rode this trail years ago and did about 65 miles both directions. I am looking at doing this in 2021, which way do you guys prefer and why. I looked at the map and it looks like North to South is the way to go, however I see the annual bike ride they go South to North. When I go for a bike ride, I am usually going 10-15 miles in a 1 1/2 with some hills.

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Elevation of Mickelson Trail
Cactus Wren from PHX on 10/03/2020 12:41 PM
What is the elevation of the Mickelson Trail. Just returned from the Black Hills & would like to bike the trail next year. Not sure how many miles a day to ride?

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Elevation of Mickelson Trail
Cactus Wren from PHX on 10/03/2020 12:40 PM
What is the elevation of the Mickelson Trail. Just returned from the Black Hills & would like to bike the trail next year. Not sure how many miles a day to ride?

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Beth B from Nebraska on 08/05/2020 08:57 AM
I am looking to ride 2-4 hours out but wondering how to get back? Is there a shuttle? Do I need to make an appointment? How does that work?

RJ from MINNEAPOLIS on 09/29/2020 09:10 AM
there is not a shuttle unless you are renting bikes from a service

RJ from MINNEAPOLIS on 09/29/2020 09:13 AM
oops see comments further down about shuttle service out of Hill City

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RJ from MINNEAPOLIS on 09/29/2020 08:07 AM

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Goat Heads
Steve from Salida, Co on 09/13/2020 03:35 PM
Any problems with goat heads? Is water available along the way during the pandemic? If so do they shut them off for the winter? I’m looking to ride both ways at the end of September. Thanks

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rmw from grand rapids, michigan on 08/25/2020 10:47 AM
Lots of questions. What type of bike, mountain, crossover, hybrid? How many days should be allow, allowing appx 30-40 miles per day. Best time of year to go? Is hotel, cabin lodging expensive? thinking about riding this with my wife in 2021. She'll be 64, I'll be 70, but both in pretty good shape. Any feedback, thoughts, suggestions would be helpful. Thanks.

Kathy from Omaha on 08/30/2020 04:05 PM
I have the same questions. My husband and I would like to bike the trail in 2021. Are there places to camp or stay in hotels along the way? Is there a recommended itinerary? Is there a shuttle that can trans port us and our bikes back to the start?

Jenny from Colorado on 09/08/2020 11:28 AM
All the lodging options, services etc are on the website ( https://bikemickelson.com/default.aspx). Just click on Towns & Services or use the map legend diagram and click on a CITY.

Rail trails : A mountain bike, hybrid bike or road bike with treaded tires (ex. Schwalbe) will be most comfortable. Your mileage / day varies due to ability, but rail trails will be slower than road travel. ANY TRIP: Prepare for all weather, bring rain gear. Protect your clothing etc. in 1 gallon ziplocs and/or weather-proof paniers (like Ortlieb). Carry water.
SHUTTLES: yes. Google found many companies to transport people, bikes, or move cars.
HOTELS: Look at SERVICES page. The BED symbol is a hotel. The TENT symbol is for camping. Reserve ahead during peak travel times (summer) especially.

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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!

CK Smith from Amarillo TX on 08/28/2020 12:07 PM
THX Very helpful visual of elevation changes. Plan to do this trail in 2021. Can't wait!

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Riding alone
Siebs from Ohio on 08/18/2020 07:30 PM
How crowded is the trail in September? I would like to do part of the trail not the whole trail maybe 20 miles or so would it be safe for a woman to ride alone?

Anonymous from Custer on 08/27/2020 10:01 PM
I would consider to the Mickelson to be a very safe trail for a woman riding alone. The bigger issue is if you have a problem of any sort there is sometimes no cell service. Especially in the mid-northern sections of the trail. But I have never felt unsafe on the trail nor have I ever heard of any incidents. There are usually some amount of people riding or walking sections of the trail. But the trail is never crowded. The busiest it gets is when they have the trail trek and I think that got cancelled this year. Even then it isn't crowded.

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Edgemont Trailhead in Edgemont
Eugene from Boulder co on 08/14/2020 04:15 PM
Locating at Google maps.
Where is the overnight parking at the Edgemont trail head.

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Ned from California on 07/29/2020 12:39 AM
We'll be in the area top of the week. We won't have bikes but would like to ride a mellow scenic stretch of the trail for 2-4 hours, would need to rent bikes. Would love some suggestions on what leg, where to get bikes. Also is it possible to ride a few hours in one direction, then get a shuttle back? Thank you.

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Deadwood Trailhead in Deadwood
Isabel from Mahomet IL on 07/26/2020 04:34 PM
Is it allowed and safe to leave your car at the trailhead if we will be riding the trail for 4 days (Deadwood to Edgemont and back)?

michael from milliken, co on 07/28/2020 07:23 PM
Left car in Edgemont for 4 days, there were several others cars there. It was fine. I didn't see any issues with the other cars. Cars that I saw left at other trailheads all seemed to be fine as we rode through.

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