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Share your comments, questions, opinions, and advice on the Mickelson Trail.
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Custer State Park
Reese from Lebanon PA on 09/06/2021 04:16 PM
I am trying to plan a trip for September 2022 from PA to Rapid City to visit Mt. Rushmore, and that general area. The Custer State Park looks interesting to me. I am interested in riding the Mickelson trail. I see that there is a spur from the State Park to the trail. I am a bike rider, primarily rail trails. I don't necessarily want to do a long distance, just a sample of the trail. My primary focus of this trip is sightseeing through that section of SD and drive through WY to Grand Teton National Park. How is the trail in the general area of the State Park?

patty from memphis on 09/06/2021 06:47 PM
Hi Reese. I am going there this week ! I plan to bike part of the Mickelson as well as stay in Custer SP. I didn't realize that there is a spur from the park over to the MT ?? Wonder where you can access it? Maybe I can ask a ranger. How did you find it?

Reese on 09/07/2021 04:50 AM
The spur is located at Gordon Stockade in Custer State Park according to Trail Link by the Rails to Trails Conservancy in the Custer State Park Spur Facts section

Todd from Saxton, Pa on 09/07/2021 05:12 AM
I did not see the trailhead in the park but it connects right in the town of Custer. From there it is an excellent 6 mile ride up to Crazy Horse.

patty from memphis on 09/07/2021 06:58 AM
thx! I'll try to find the spur while in the park

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Mickelson Trail Side Trips
Manny from Waitsfield VT on 01/18/2021 03:41 PM
My wife and I plan to ride the Mickelson Trail in September 2021. We are in our 70's but in good health. We would like to depart the trail to visit Mt Rushmore and Custer State Park. Our plan is to stay in Hill City and Custer. Any advice on routes to Mt Rushmore and Custer State Park that are not to demanding? Also advice on lodging will be appreciated.

ljk from New Castle Co on 02/19/2021 12:30 PM
My husband and I are planning a similar trip during late September as well. I would love to hear more about your plans. Thanks

Manny from Waitsfield, VT on 02/27/2021 02:30 PM
I have done Google searches and contacted the Hill City Chamber of Commerce, but have been unsuccessful in obtaining good information on the bike ride from the Mickelson Trail to Mt Rushmore. We are currently planning to visit Mt Rushmore before we start the ride from Deadwood.

Judi P from GRANTHAM, NH on 05/09/2021 02:22 PM
What I usually do is check out the routes that bike touring groups use. I believe Sojourner (from VT) has tours on the Mickelson. My husband and I (from NH) will be biking the Mickelson at the end of May (after the Cowboy Trail, Cardinal Greenway, KATY, Ohio-Erie Canal and Erie Canal Bike trails on way to MT).

Anonymous from Moab on 05/12/2021 06:00 PM
From just south of Hill city you can get on HWY 16 up to Mount Rushmore. Please understand there is no bike path along the road (busy) and it is uphill all the way to Mount Rushmore.

Ray from Bartlett - NH on 07/31/2021 02:39 PM

You have some wonderful riding in your future. I am heading to Custer in 10 days and will work my way home riding in 12 states. Will be starting with the Mickelson and then heading east to Heartland, Paul Bunyan, Central Lakes, Lake Wobegon, Root River, Bike 4 in Wisconsin, Fox River, Tunnel Hill, Nickle Plate, Cardinal Greenway, Little Miami,
Pine Creek, D&L, D&R, Hudson Valley/Dutchess/Maybrook, Farmington Canal, Central Massachusetts, and finishing with the Presidential Rail Trail. Nice to be back on trails after last year.

Brigitte from Cooperstown NY on 09/07/2021 06:39 AM
Hi, My husband and I are a week away from our self guided bike/hike trip. We will leave Cooperstown, drive to Madison, Wi for 3 days to bike and hike...on to Egan, MN to bike for a few days... A stop over in ND to hike the Roosevelt Park, and then the remainder of trip (7 days) split between Spearfish Canyon Lodge and Rapid City, to explore the Mickelson Trail, Badlands, Devils tower etc. We are in fairly good shape (60-70 years of age) and would like to ride 20-35 miles but hoping to do loops if possible. Obviously on the Mickelson Trail, a loop will not be possible but any thoughts on maybe 2 or 3 sections of the trail that are the most scenic that we might do an out and back and stay within the 25-35 mile range? Thank you so much, hopefully we meet up with some of you :)

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Water at Trailheads?
CT from Denver on 09/03/2021 08:19 AM
I'm looking at doing Edgemont to Deadwood in one shot. Is water still available at the trailheads with COVID? If so, this will make it a lot easier to keep hydrated this weekend.

Amy from Spearfish on 09/03/2021 09:05 AM
Yes! There's still water. Also, there's a well at the Dumont Trailhead across the road from the trail. The maps don't show that, but it's a handy one to know about since Dumont is at the top of a super-long hill. Sheep Canyon also has a well. I rode the bottom third of the trail last weekend without even touching my second water bottle.

Amy from Spearfish on 09/03/2021 09:06 AM
Yes! There's still water. Also, there's a well at the Dumont Trailhead across the road from the trail. The maps don't show that, but it's a handy one to know about since Dumont is at the top of a super-long hill. Sheep Canyon also has a well. I rode the bottom third of the trail last weekend without even touching my second water bottle.

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 09/05/2021 05:27 AM
Trail head water pumps were working on 8/29 all along the trail

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patty from memphis on 08/28/2021 03:14 PM
I will be riding from Deadwood in mid Sept. I'm wondering if you can see Crazy Horse from the Trail and about where would that be? I'd like to ride that far in one day and stay at a hotel in that area. any recommendations ? then turn around and back to Deadwood.

patty from memphis on 08/30/2021 06:54 AM
also, I'm wondering if the Needles Hwy is a place to bike? it looks pretty narrow.

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 09/01/2021 12:07 PM
Yes, you can see Crazy Horse from the trail. It is not a great, up-close view, however there is signage next to a vantage point. Crazy Horse is located at the crest of the hill between Hill City and Custer. If your goal is to see Crazy Horse, then I would immediately turn around and return the (approximately) 9 miles downhill to Hill City and stay there. Several lodging options, just google and you will find a number of selections. The other option would be to continue downhill about 6 miles to Custer and stay there. Just be aware it's over 60 miles each way from Deadwood to Custer - thus my recommendation about staying in Hill City.

I recommend not bicycling Needles. Very curvy and narrow indeed.


patty from memphis on 09/01/2021 03:42 PM
thank you so much !

patty from memphis on 09/01/2021 03:59 PM
please forgive me is this has already been asked and answered, but are there areas along the trail to plug in and recharge an Ebike?

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 09/02/2021 07:59 AM
I am not aware of charging stations at the trail heads, however there are restaurants in Hill City and Custer that could conceivably allow you to re-charge (especially if you are a paying customer). Not sure about Pringle - it's pretty small.

If you are riding an e-bike, I highly recommend turning your assist completely off during the downhill stretches so that you can conserve for the ascents.

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Pringle to Edgemont?
Katy from Atlanta on 07/25/2021 04:27 PM
After looking at the elevation chart, I’m wondering if the Pringle to Edgemont route is nice? We live in the Piedmont and ride hills regularly and would like a little break, if possible.

AJ on 08/03/2021 06:22 PM
Yes, this is a nice downhill ride. Been a few years since I've biked the trail - but recall that once we were past Pringle it was a nice downward grade, which is pretty fantastic when your legs are about done! I only remember 1 short climb a couple miles outside of Edgemont - but nothing crazy - and the view in that area is amazing!

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 08/25/2021 02:29 PM
It's a nice stretch, with the exception of the last 2-3 miles into Edgemont - which is next to the highway. The area before descending into that section, however (Sheep Canyon, I believe) is wonderful

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Day one Deadwood to Rochford
Ranger from Boulder on 08/22/2021 05:19 PM
I see the perfect Day 1 distance......Deadwood to Rochford. But once again, there are no places to stay in Rochford (or anywhere close). Where do people stay once they've left Deadwood, Day 1?

PJN from Overland Park, KS on 08/25/2021 02:27 PM
Usually they go all the way to Hill City. It is downhill from Rochford to Mystic, but then uphill for a few miles thru the tunnels. The last few miles into Hill City are downhill.

No real lodging options otherwise - unless you can find a Airbnb close to 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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