Mountain - Plains - Gillette, WY
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Anyone have any info on riding in or around this area? It appears that I will be spending 4-5 weeks in the area, possibly beginning within the next week or so. My company will pay for me to ship my bike so thats a plus!
04-17-08, 05:27 PM
I'm not local, but... I would bring the bike if it was me, if that's what you are asking.
I rode through there on a tour, up past Devil's Tower, that was nice. The whole area to the east - Belle Fourche, Spearfish Canyon, Black Hills - was worth riding in, and probably a reasonable distance if you have a car there too. Custer/Mt. Rushmore had heavy traffic in many areas, but there were a few roads with nice hills and less traffic, too.
Hope that helps.
04-18-08, 07:52 AM
Thanks valygrl, I too was wondering how the riding was around Gillette. We are going to be there in June for an RV rally (Escapees Escapade). Looking forward to it although I have really enjoyed riding here in Mesa, AZ this winter.
04-18-08, 09:20 AM
When will you be there? If it anywhere around the time of the Sturgis motorcycle rally watch out for all the Harleys on the roads (yes they stay as far away as Gillette). And in the Black Hills they travel in packs of up to 100. Nice folks I'm sure, but makes for a bit of a traffic mess.
It can also get very hot and very dry up there in the summer so make sure you hydrate well. Distances can be deceiving out here. While the riding around Devil's Tower and in the Black Hills is nice, those spots are over 60 miles (one way) from Gillette. The intervening country side is, shall we say, stark.
Finally, as pointed out above, summer tourist traffic around Mt Rushmore (where I have biked) can be very heavy (although with the price of gas this year who knows) and many of the roads have narrow or no shoulder. And when they say Black Hills they mean it. Up and down - no flat terrain over there. Custer South Dakota (closest spot to Mt Rushmore, Crazy Horse Memorial, Wind Cave and Custer state park) is 114 miles from Gillette. If anyone is a Mtn or off pavement rider , there is a great rails to trails ride in the Black Hills - the George S. Mickelson Tra
Hope that helps.
edit - if only I would read more carefully - op did say soon so let me add:
Spring snow can still fall in that part of Wyoming (actually well into May). And it can be very windy this time of year. On the 16th they had gusts up to 30 and supposed to be that way tomorrow. To the other poster - I have also seen pretty good snow in June in Wyoming (not just in the mountains either). Conversely it can get hot (easily up into the upper 90's in June in Gillette).
Find all the weather data you need here http://www.wrcc.dri.edu/cgi-bin/cliMAIN.pl?wy3865 for Gillette.
Finally here is link to WYDOT with a map that shows traffic load on Wyoming roads http://dot.state.wy.us/Default.jsp?sCode=homqu click on the pdf link at the bottom of the page.
Thanks for the replies! It looks like I will be making multiple trips instead of one trip. I will be coming in for two weeks starting the 28th of this month and then probably again in Sept.
05-18-08, 01:13 AM
Well, I have good news and bad news....
Bad news, Gillette is not good for cycling. I lived there for 18 years. It's in the middle of the prairie and is full of rednecks in diesel pickups who aren't super fond of cyclists. I would probably not ride much if I still lived in Gillette.
Good news, both the Big Horn mountains to the west 60 miles and the Black Hills to the east have some excellent riding. The Black Hills have some of the best road riding in the country in my opinion. The Wyoming Black Hills near Sundance, WY are only 60 miles east of Gillette on I90 and have some good riding. As was stated earlier, around Devils Tower over there is nice too. The South Dakota Black Hills are where the best riding is in my opinion though. Spearfish, SD is just another 30 miles east of Sundance. Spearfish Canyon starts from there and is a great ride with a good shoulder. My favorite rides are in Custer State Park: Needles Highway and Iron Mt. road.
Let me know if you want specific route suggestions or more info. Maybe we could even hook up a ride if you are over this way. We do group rides most weekends. Here is a link to the Black Hills MS ride video that gives you some idea of the roads and scenery:
05-18-08, 07:23 PM
I was on Needles Hiway Friday (driving though). I am very sure I would not ride that route in tourist season. Very narrow road, no shoulder, lots of blind corners due to trees and very sharp corners, lots of lookie loo drivers. If you do ride it, be VERY careful.
05-18-08, 10:00 PM
I actually ride it quit a bit in the summer and have never had a problem on it. Usually the traffic is going slow enough thats it's not an issue. If you are descending the Needles Highway there is not a problem with drivers trying to go around you because a bike can go way faster down it than a car anyhow. The problem is more with being able to get around slow cars that are taking in the sights. From the bottom of the descent you can go left on Playhouse Road and you will hardly see a car. Still, everyone has to find their own comfort level for sure. Early morning is better than latter on in the day, just like everyplace.
05-19-08, 11:28 AM
Good points all.
05-19-08, 02:38 PM
So you're in Laramie? 2 years ago I got to ride from Saratoga over the Snowies and into Laramie as part of a Cycle America tour. One of the best days I've ever had on the bike! What a stunning (and challenging) ride! The next day we went from Laramie to Loveland by a mix of back roads, which was also a great ride.
05-23-08, 01:12 PM
Yep. Good old Laramie. Greatcycling for five or six months of the year (unless you like really cold windy rides then good year round). The Snowy Range is beautiful. Pine beetle is moving in though and much of the Saratoga side of the mountains has dead or dying trees. VERY sad to see.
My brother in law lives in Custer.
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