George S. Mickelson Trail

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Lead, South Dakota

George S. Mickelson Trail is a 106.3 mile point-to-point trail located near Lead, South Dakota that features beautiful wild flowers and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for walking, trail running, and mountain biking and is best used from April until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Distance: 106.3 miles Elevation Gain: 5,226 feet Route Type: Point to Point

dogs on leash

wheelchair friendly

kid friendly

stroller friendly

mountain biking

walking

running

partially paved

views

wild flowers

running
fee
3 days ago

I ran this entire trail over 5 days in June of 2018. Weather changes rapidly- plan ahead! The trailheads have vault toilets (pretty clean!) and cisterns for clean, cold water (yes, I drank it!). Smaller trailheads between just have shelters. Wildlife abounds!: possible mountain lions & rattle snakes. I only saw deer and cows. I brought pepper spray. The entire trail has: remote stretches, areas that run through towns, tree canopies, wide open spaces, drop-offs to your side, streams running next to you, and abandoned train tunnels. It’s one of the most beautiful places on earth. If you want a smaller “good” stretch of trail, that’s easy to get to, I recommend anything between Hill City & Custer, or Englewood to Deadwood. Spotty cell service throughout-plan for that too. It’s small crushed shale most of the time- but it can get rocky. Running shoes are fine, trail shoes if you prefer, but no barefooting.

road biking
3 months ago

Shuttled from Custer for a 30-some mile return ride. This Black Hills trail is loaded with stunning scenery. We had the “pleasure”of waiting to pass a large herd of cattle, blocking the trail. It actually was kinda cool ... but then it started to rain and the temps rapidly dropped, which made things quite uncomfortable.

bike touring
6 months ago

Drove from Texas to this two years ago. 45 miles continuous uphill grade from Edgemont better to start from Deadwood. However, there is a 17 mile uphill and a 10 mile uphill from that side. From Pringle to Edgemont very isolated

road biking
8 months ago

Actually did part of this on a hybrid. Is a fun trail - did 32 miles - took less than 3 hours total with numerous stops and lunch

hiking
8 months ago

Michelson trail to hmestake trail loop.

hiking
9 months ago

Nice gravel river walk with many opportunities to get in!

mountain biking
9 months ago

Rode the entire trail (Deadwood to Edgemont) on 8/17/19. Rode gravel bikes (road bikes with slightly beefier tires with better grip). Trail conditions were great this day. Even with numerous heavy rains and severe storms (unusual for this area, but historically high precipitation in 2019) the trail crew seems to be working constantly to repair and smooth the trail. Only a couple small washouts they hadn’t repaired yet, but several sections of the trail were the best I’ve ever seen in five years (likely due to the constant repair and gravel smoothing after each major storm!). A little loose gravel/large sand in some places, but not bad at all. We got started out of Deadwood at 6 am and rolled into Edgemont at 4 pm. Fantastic rail-trail, as always. Don’t miss a stop at Rochford’s Small of America to get a popsicle. No cell service on many portions of the trail, plenty of water stops to refill bottles, plenty of vault toilets on the route.

mountain biking
rocky
10 months ago

This is a rails to trails bike ride. Do Not use a road bike. We have hybrid bikes and they were great. We rode the trail from Deadwood to Edgemont which is 109 miles. We did it in three days. Our first day was 49 miles 32 miles were uphill at between a 3% and 4 % grade. This was a long day for us. We ride regularly in Colorado so the elevation was not an issue it was riding with 20lb saddle bags going uphill for most of the day that was brutal. The second day was shorter at 28 miles. The uphill was much less but there was less shade so an early start in the summer is advised. The third day was 32 miles and almost all down hill. It was glorious. The trail is full of wild life and beautiful scenery. There are few places to stop and get food but water is available at most of the trailheads. Lodging is tricky but there are several services that will transport you and your bikes. We used two that were very good and honest. They were Mickelson Trail Adventure ask for Dan and Christina from Highline Adventures.

mountain biking
11 months ago

mountain biking
11 months ago

Due to heavy rains the trail has places of soft sand. Washout ruts also cause bumpy rides in places. Not a trail for street tires .

no shade
private property
Mon Jun 03 2019

The Mickelson is hillier than alot of other Rail Trails. The views after ascending the 1st hill out of Edgemont are spectacular!

mountain biking
Fri Oct 20 2017

It has been a while but I loved this ride. I do not think I could do this ride now as it was rugged with a lot of elevation change. It took me 5 days but a rider in great shape should do it in two.

mountain biking
Wed Aug 30 2017

Beautiful trail! Very well kept and easy to ride in 3 to 4 days. I took 7 boy scouts (ages 11 to 16), all love biking. We started at the top and road down. The first two days they rode a little over 20 miles a day and on the last day they rode 60 miles to the end. The up hills provided enough of a challenge , but not enough to produce tears. They all supported each other and had a great time. We centered the group in Hill City, our day started around 8 am and we had enough time to put in a few miles in the morning and site see in the afternoon. After the last leg, we stopped by Crazy Horse (they rode by it that day) and was treated to the laser show. Everything went smoothly and we meet Dan an Jordan (trail riders that work for the trail). Both guys were extremely helpful and encouraged the boys to keep moving and enjoying the trail. The boys are already wanting to return to do it again.

running
Mon Apr 27 2015

We ran the trail from Englewood Trailhead to Kirk Trailhead this weekend in light rain. The gravel surface makes it perfect for running and walking even in wet weather, as the gravel provides a good tread surface and is not rutted by traffic during wet weather.

mountain biking
Thu Jun 26 2014

An absolutely beautiful trail! Intermittently came across people bike riding, hiking, walking and running on the trail. From Red Fern to Mystic, there is a 5 mile downhill 8% grade which you should account for if you are doing a round trip as it's quite a long climb! Scenery is breathtaking. You will have GPS Signal, but may not have Cell Phone Reception. Wear appropriate shoes and bring water although there are intermittent water stations. Also, make sure you wear sun screen. If you are doing the entire 109 mile trail, you should budget 12 hours of biking.

hiking
Sun Sep 02 2012

nice and perty

road biking
Fri Jul 27 2012

We biked 5 miles north (and returned) of the trail from the trailhead in Hill City, South Dakota. This is one of the nicest bike/hike trails we have encountered. Although it probably bothers folks that there is a daily fee to use the trail (or you can invest in the annual pass), it's evident that the money raised is used to keep this a top notch adventure. The old railway takes you through some spectacular scenery in the Black Hills; groves of Aspens, Ponderosa Pines, Birch, and other evergreen trees. As we biked we greeted families of wild turkeys, mule deer, birds, chipmunks, and squirrels. There are bench rest areas along the way as well as water stations. We headed north so we could enjoy 'downhill on the way home." Thanks, South Dakota, for this amazing gem hidden in the valley of these beautiful Black Hills.

hiking
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