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Old 01-27-11, 08:25 PM   #1
Roland Owens
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Michelson Trail Info

Looks like I'm going to have about a month long window from mid-May through mid-June to take some trips on the Fargo. I'm definitely planning on doing some short tours out of my front door, but I was also thinking about making a road trip to South Dakota to do an out and back on the Michelson Trail. So I had a few questions:

-What's the weather like in that time period?

-What condition is the trail going to be in after the winter? I'm not to worried about it on my Fargo, other than it can obviously slow me down, but my brother may fly out to meet me and we'll need to find him a bike.

-Anywhere to rent a bike for a week or so, preferably with a rear rack so I don't have to play sherpa for all of my brother's stuff.

-Does it matter which end you start from? Either end better to leave a car for several days?

-What side trips off the trail are not to be missed?

-Anything else?

Thanks for any info,

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Old 01-27-11, 09:16 PM   #2
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Roland, I rode half the Michelson in early fall, north-south, after a rain. No problem at all, other than wet grit clinging to the bicycle. Link to CG article here. Link to good map here. Link to excellent bike shop in Hill City.

The major exit for me was at Crazy Horse Memorial. Strangley, that is not an official exit, but it's an easy push up the embankment to the entry. Several service exits, least on the top half, and water/rest areas. There are a number of gates, none of which will be locked, in spit of how they appear(long story.)

No solid answers to your other questions.
The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me
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Old 01-28-11, 08:43 AM   #3
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Check out this previous thread here.

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Old 01-28-11, 09:51 AM   #4
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I did it starting from Deadwood in the 2nd week of June 2007. There had been rain before we started and there were some muddy sections along the grade out of Deadwood. It is gradual but a steady climb for the first few miles from Deadwood. We also hit sections of new gravel that were soft but that probably doesn't happen that often. I had 38c tires and they worked well for the trail. I wouldn't go any narrower than 32c.

Prepare for a wide range in temps and changeable weather. We had some mornings of 40 degrees F or less and lost a day of riding because of 30-40 mph headwind and a high temp in the low 40's.
We didn't make it past Pringle and it was mostly open prairie in that area and not as nice. Custer and north seemed the most scenic. A loop up Spearfish canyon and back to Deadwood was a nice day ride and I would recommend it. We biked back on roads instead of the trail and it was a nice change. Needles Hwy was avoided - scenic but very narrow with a lot of climbs and dangerous on a bike.

Definitely a nice ride and the valleys and hills are very pretty and green in June. It is someplace I would ride again.
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Old 01-28-11, 10:35 AM   #5
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I started in Edgemont, went to Lead and and back. If you start in Edgemont, the first day is a long steady uphill for many miles with no shade. But after that every day is great. If you leave your car in Edgemont, it is a long downhill to your car on the last day so I suggest starting and ending in Edgemont.

We did not find a good place to camp near Lead, instead stayed at a very low cost motel, I think it was called Palace Express?

Nice campground but no showers, in 2009 it was $15/night.
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