Exploring the Natural Beauty of South Dakota's Mickelson Trail

mickleson bicycle trail tunnel with cyclist riding
Here is another post in our series of Great Bicycle Trails in the USA. I have never been on this one but the tunnels and railroad trestles make me want to ride it someday. Have any of you been on it? Let me know by leaving a comment.

The Mickelson Trail in South Dakota is a breathtaking 109-mile-long trail that runs through the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is named after former South Dakota Governor George S. Mickelson, who played a key role in the trail's development. The trail was originally an abandoned rail bed that was transformed into a hiking and biking trail, and it has become a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

The Mickelson Trail offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the Black Hills in a way that is both relaxing and invigorating. The trail winds its way through forests, across bridges, and through tunnels, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape. Along the way, hikers and bikers will encounter a variety of wildlife, including deer, elk, and even the occasional mountain lion.

One of the most notable features of the Mickelson Trail is its tunnels. The trail passes through 100-year-old railroad tunnels, which add an element of excitement and adventure to the experience. These tunnels can be quite dark, so it is important to bring a flashlight or headlamp with you. The trail also features several historic railroad trestles, including the 1,100-foot-long high trestle bridge over the Cheyenne River.

The trail is open year-round, but it is most popular in the summer months when the weather is mild and the scenery is at its best. However, the fall season offers a unique experience with the changing colors of the leaves. The trail is also open to snowshoeing and cross-country skiing during the winter months.

In addition to the natural beauty of the trail, there are several towns along the way that offer amenities such as lodging, restaurants, and shops. These towns include Deadwood, Hill City, and Custer. These towns are also steeped in history, with several museums and historic sites that offer a glimpse into the area's rich past.

If you're planning a trip to South Dakota, the Mickelson Trail is definitely worth adding to your itinerary. Whether you're an experienced hiker or a casual biker, the trail offers something for everyone. The stunning scenery, unique tunnels and trestles, and the opportunity to encounter wildlife make the Mickelson Trail a truly unforgettable experience.

I hope you liked this post enough to check out more of my blog. Here is my next post:  Switching to Cycling: Why it's a Great Alternative to Running for Seniors


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