The Mickelson Trail 109 Miles of Beautiful Scenery and History
Rails-to-trails projects are one of the best modern advancements that are available to today’s cyclists. But few rails-to-trails experiences can match the George S. Mickelson Trail and the wealth of riches that it boasts. Cycling the Mickelson Trail gives riders the opportunity to appreciate nature, history and cycling in ways that are hard for most trails to match.
Nature is usually a key component of any rails-to-trails project, but when it comes to the Mickelson Trail you will be blown away by the vast scenery you’ll pass through. Consider that in one day you can experience all of the following: Vast, curved and twisting bridges that span valleys and waterways. Old train tunnels that take you through the mountains that make up the Black Hills. Soaring mountains of stone and boulders. Plummeting valleys of vegetation and water. Dense forests of birch and pine. Wide open, classic western farmlands and ranches. And much, much more.
Rails-to-trails projects are always, in their own way, a reminder of the history of our country since they commonly allow you to pass through the country sides and forests of our nation on converted railroad routes. The Mickelson Trail, however, includes additional spots rich with history and sightseeing options. The city of Custer was the spot where gold was discovered to launch the Black Hills Gold Rush in the 1870s. Deadwood was the sight of so many “wild west” tales, many of which centered around characters like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. And a short 10 mile off-trail ride from Hill City will bring you face to face with Mount Rushmore.
And finally, of course we can’t forget about the cycling aspect. Not all rails-to-trails are created equal and this is certainly the case with the Mickelson Trail. Stretching for more than 100 miles, the trail includes enough elevation changes to gives cyclists the ability to challenge themselves while still enjoying a traffic-free ride. But don’t worry, these challenging sections come and go, giving way to milder grades and there’s always places to stop for a break to enjoy the scenery and catch your breath.
- Hill City
- Hot Springs
- Hill City
- Surface: Crushed Limestone
- Distance: 109 miles
- 15 Trailheads
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