Biking the Mickelson Trail | Black Hills Travel Blog

Biking the Mickelson Trail

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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George S. Mickelson Trail

The 109 miles of the George S. Mickelson Trail pass through the best the Black Hills has to offer in scenic wonder. It's no wonder Bicycling Magazine just named it their number one pick for the "Best Car-Free Bike Paths in the USA."

How is it that the area’s early railway entrepreneurs had the foresight to build their lines through some of the Black Hills’ most diverse and beautiful landscapes?

Of course, it is likely they were just trying to get from Point A to Point B by the easiest path possible, but when it’s Black Hills landscapes you are working with, almost any path will lead you through a wondrous world of nature ranging from flower-filled meadows to craggy granite cliffs.

George S. Mickelson Trail near Hill City, South Dakota (Photo provided by Synergy 79 Studios LLC)

Quick Facts:

  • Self-sale trail pass stations are located at 15 trailheads, along with parking, vault toilets and picnic tables. Cost is $3 daily per person or $15 annually per person.
  • There are 35 interpretive signs along the 109 miles of the Mickelson Trail.

Be Prepared:

  • Thin-tire road bikes are not recommended on the gravel trail surface. Carry simple repair items and tools.
  • Travel with a buddy or in a group. Keep children near.
  • Telephone service is sparse; cell phone service is poor.
  • Carry plenty of water and snacks, extra layers of clothing and rain gear, sunscreen and a hat. During summer, water cisterns are located along the trail.
  • Avoid poison ivy and rattlesnakes.
  • Stay on the trail.


  • All trail users age 12 and older must have a trail pass, except where the trail passes through city limits.
  • No motorized vehicles are allowed on the trail, except for snowmobiles as permitted.
  • No camping is allowed on trail right-of-ways or at the trailheads.
  • No smoking is allowed on the trail.
  • The trail is closed from one-half hour after sunset to one-half hour before sunrise.
  • Bicycles must yield to pedestrians and all users must yield to horses.
  • Stay to the right except to pass. Stay on the trail and respect adjacent landowners.
  • All pets must be on a leash no more than 10 feet long.


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