The geography of South Dakota is truly a mixture of the vast, the harsh, and the tranquil. The Black Hills provide an amazing plethora of opportunities for hikers and climbers alike. Another popular activity along the trails of the Black Hills is mountain biking. The scenic forest with steep slopes and twisting, winding trails are among some of the best in the Midwest.
The Black Hills National Forest includes lots of fun, single-track trails and dirt roads that roll through spruce groves and grassy meadows. Goldenrod and Echinacea grow wild everywhere, along with all kinds of sunflowers. Lose yourself among the trails that wind through the granite cliffs and a maze of pine trees.
Touring and road biking are popular in the Black Hills. The bike path in Rapid City is a 13.5-mile stretch that follows runs along Rapid Creek. However, most riding and touring is done on the wide-shouldered highways in the state. Some of the favorite and most scenic rides are Rapid City to Mount Rushmore; the Needles Highway; Iron Mountain Road; Spearfish Canyon; and the Badlands Scenic Byway.
Mountain biking is growing fast in the Black Hills, and it’s no wonder why. With almost 6,000 miles of fire trails, logging roads, and abandoned railroad grades that crisscross the back country ridges, wind down canyons and climb to mountain tops, the Black Hills is the perfect place to get your adrenaline pumping and your tires spinning. In fact, the 111-mile Centennial Trail is an acclaimed and challenging single-track ride in addition to being one of the most popular hiking trails in the Black Hills.
Another popular Black Hills trail that is simultaneously used for mountain biking and hiking is the 109-mile George S. Mickelson Trail. The trail, which stretches from Deadwood to Edgemont, contains 14 trailheads and parking areas along the way, which provide easy access to the 10-foot-wide, crushed limestone path. While this isn’t a difficult mountain biking trail, it certainly is a scenic one. This particular Black Hills trail traverses the back country through prairie and mountains along aspen-lined creeks, pine forests, and high-country meadows. Not only is this a fairly leisurely ride, you might even catch a glimpse of some native wildlife along the way.