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The George S. Mickelson Trail is one of the premier rail-trails in the West, rich with boom-and-bust gold mining history, American history and the sublime scenery of the Black Hills. Bike to Mt. Rushmore. Explore Deadwood, onetime home of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, and Crazy Horse Memorial. Visit the world's largest cave and the country's biggest mammoth dig. Ride the whole of the Mickelson - along with a few fascinating side trips - on this 6-day bike tour. Perfect for those who prefer as little traffic as possible, eminently do-able routes and terrific scenery, this tour packs a lot of wallop for the buck!
Meet in Rapid City. Giant short-faced bears and woolly mammoths! Visit Mammoth Site today. Then ride onward to Hot Springs for a soak.
Meet in Rapid City; van to Edgemont, at the south end of the Mickelson Trail. Hop on the bikes to ride the trail north to Hot Springs. Surprise - there are 61 woolly mammoths right around the corner at Mammoth Site, an active paleontological dig right around the corner. Stay here in Hot Springs tonight, with time for a soak.
Bicycle the Mickelson Trail to the town of Pringle. Keep going to explore one of the world's biggest caves. Stay at Legion Lake tonight.
Onward to tiny Pringle (population 112). Tour Wind Cave, one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. The Lakota (Sioux), who live in the region, spoke of a hole that blew air, a place they consider sacred as the site where they first emerged from the underworld. In 1881, brothers Tom and Jesse Bingham heard wind rushing out from a 10-inch hole in the ground. According to the story, when Tom looked into the hole, the "wind" (exiting cave air) blew his hat off of his head. A mining company purchased the land but when it turned up no valuable mineral deposits the project turned to tourism. This was the first cave in the world to be designated a national park. Ride onward from here to Legion Lake Lodge for the night.
Ride to Crazy Horse Memorial, ride to Sylvan Lake Lodge.
This morning, ride the car-free trail to Crazy Horse Memorial, the world's largest mountain carving. Lakota leader Crazy Horse led a war party to victory against Federal Government troops at the Battle of Little Bighorn in 1876. This fascinating memorial has been under construction since 1948 and receives no government funding. It's so large that if Mt. Rushmore could be moved, it would fit inside Crazy Horse's shoulder! Ride onward to Hill City. Hop in the van for the transfer up the hill to Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Sylvan Lake Lodge, Custer State Park's 'Crown Jewel' and home for the next two nights.
Hike Black Elk Peak this morning. Visit Mt. Rushmore this afternoon.
Hike Black Elk Peak this morning. At 7,242 feet, Black Elk Peak stands prominently as the highest point in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Standing sentinel over the Black Hills, Black Elk Peak is topped by a stone fire tower that provides a magnificent view of the surrounding landscape. This afternoon, explore Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Gaze in awe at the 60-foot sculptures of four United States presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.
Ride from Hill City to the gold-rush-era town of Rochford.
Ride from Hill City, the first settlement established in conjunction with the discovery of Black Hills gold in French Creek to tiny Rochford (pop.: 26). It's home to the Montezuma Mine, the Moonshine Gulch Saloon and the 'Small of America.' After lunch, bike or van onward to Deadwood, onetime home of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Plan for time to explore! Stay at the Deadwood Mountain Grand tonight.
Ride the last section of the trail near Rochford. After lunch, it's time to head back to Rapid City. Head for home.
This morning, ride the last section of the trail near Rochford. Time for lunch and a celebration! Then it's back to Rapid City for your return journey.
As an optional extra, a person traveling solo on any inn-to-inn trip may reserve a room for his or her exclusive use. This will guarantee you a private room and private bath every night. Unlike other tour companies, if you're willing to share a room, there is no extra charge for coming solo, no matter when you sign up for the tour - even if you wind up with a private room by default.