There may be no more fitting place in the world for Sacred Rides to launch its first gravel tour, than the Black Hills of South Dakota. A small and isolated mountain range, the Black Hills rise from the Great Plains of North America and have been a sacred area to Native Americans dating back 12,000 years. The landscape is one of the most unique environmental features in the United States. The Black Hills continues to be a sacred area for ceremonies, vision quests and tribal meetings for over 60 tribes.
Thanks to an abundance of mining roads, timber roads, rural farm roads and an active OHV community, this 7‑day itinerary dives deep into the beautiful Black Hills. Incredible dirt and gravel routes are book-ended by the famous 100-mile Mickelson rails-to-trails route and the 100-mile Centennial Mountain Biking and Hiking Trail.
Is This Ride For You?
You love getting off-the-beaten track and riding on gravel roads and paved trails for up 100 km (62 miles) per day, especially if you have a comfortable bed and your favourite beverage waiting for you after each ride. You have an average fitness level and don’t mind riding multiple days in a row.
Day 1. Welcome to Rapid City!
Welcome to Rapid City, South Dakota! We’ll pick you up in the morning from any downtown Rapid City hotel. Once bikes are tuned and ready to go, we will load up and head to Sturgis, South Dakota — home of the famous annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. But, we’re here to earn our turns — no motorcycles for us!
Your guides will review the week’s itinerary, ensure bikes are fitted properly and then describe today’s route.
On today’s ride we’ll pedal from Sturgis to the historic town of Deadwood, known for its unique gold rush history. We’ll find a different kind of gold today, as we ride scenic trails with incredible views — if we’re lucky, we’ll experience a golden-sunset behind the Black Hills.
Tonight, we’ll stay in Deadwood and enjoy our first dinner together.
Day 2. Deadwood to Mt. Roosevelt
Rise and shine! Enjoy your morning coffee at the local glass-blowing studio in Deadwood and browse through beautiful local art. After breakfast, we’ll ride out of town towards Mt. Roosevelt.
We’ll stop by the Mt. Roosevelt tower. The tower was built in 1919 by the local sheriff, Seth Bullock, who dedicated the build to his best friend — President Theodore Roosevelt. The two shared a love for the Black Hills and this monument was created so everyone visiting the area could share in these sights. Bullock and Roosevelt played a very important role in many land conservation projects that now exist in the Black Hills.
After snapping a few photos and enjoying a snack break, we’ll drop down into the abandoned mining town of Maitland (abandoned in 1915 after the gold rush), and pedal onward to Savoy.
Our shuttle will be waiting for us in Savoy, and we’ll head to Spearfish Canyon tonight — a small town in the Black Hills that is an adventurer paradise.
Day 3. Cement Ridge Loop
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll shuttle to Savoy for the start of our morning ride. We’ll ride up Little Spearfish Canyon and take in beautiful Roughlock Falls — have your camera ready! After a quick break, we’ll start our ascent on the Wagon Canyon Trail into Wyoming.
We’ll hike up the Cement Ridge Fire Tower to take in panoramic views. The tower sits on the highest peak in Wyoming portion of the Black Hills. The area around Cement Ridge is rich in Minnekahta limestone, used in the manufacture of cement — which is probably how the peak was named!
After lunch at the top, we’ll loop back to Savoy via Iron Creek Lake. Anyone interested in a swim?
Tonight, we’ll head back to Spearfish Canyon and enjoy dinner together.
Day 4. Sylvan Lake
Today, we have a longer ride planned. We’ll load up our bikes and get ready for a combination of great road riding and riding on the famous Mickelson trail.
We’ll ride through old mining and timber towns including Rochford and Mystic, before we reach Hill City.
We’ll climb up to Sylvan Lake, where we will stay for the next two nights.
Day 5. Needles Highway & Mt. Rushmore
After breakfast at the hotel, we’ll saddle up and hit the road. Today, we are on pavement all day — but, it will be worth it — even the hardest gravel purest will know why! This is one of the best road rides you will ever do!
The Needles Highway weaves through narrow tunnels, and unique geological features. There are many opportunities to pull over at scenic look-outs for photos-ops. We’ll enjoy views of Mt. Rushmore, Custer State Park and impressive granite spires.
Day 6. Sylvan Lake to Hot Springs
After a delicious breakfast at the hotel, we’ll chase buffalo through beautiful Custer State Park — South Dakota’s largest and first state park. We’ll ride by impressive granite peaks and rolling plains are calling, and perhaps take a dip in the clear mountain waters.
We’ll ride along the wildlife loop on our way to Hot Springs, South Dakota. Watch out for buffalo in the distance!
Tonight, we’ll stay in the town of Hot Springs and enjoy our final dinner together.
Day 7. Red Canyon, Elbow Canyon and Rapid City
Before we head back to Rapid City, we have one last ride! We’ll enjoy a short morning ride through ranching country, enjoying views of Red Canyon and Elbow canyon along the way.
We’ll shuttle back to Rapid City, where we’ll high-five and cheers to a wonderful week together!