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South Dakota, Mount Rushmore

Cycle South Dakota: Mount Rushmore & Badlands

Example 5 Day Tour
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Join this 5-day cycling adventure through South Dakota and tour some of the USA’s most magnificent roads, walk in the footsteps of Wild West outlaws, and come face to face with one of the world’s most recognized monuments. Badlands National Park, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and Black Hills National Forest deliver in otherworldly scenery while the fabled towns you pedal to serve up a side of American history. The towering carvings of past presidents on the side of Mount Rushmore are must be seen and to be believed, and traveling with a local leader ensures you’ll hear the stories behind all the sights you uncover along the way.
Cycling in South DakotaMt RushmoreCuster State ParkDowntown Deadwood, South DakotaIron Mountain, South DakotaCuster State Park, South DakotaDevils Tower, South DakotaSpearfish Canyon, South DakotaSouth Dakota, Mount Rushmore
  • Take a wild ride along the famed Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park
  • Discover Wind Cave National Park on foot and admire its unique formations
  • Cycle through the most spectacular roads of Iron Mountain
  • Park your bike at iconic Mount Rushmore and follow the Presidential Trail
Places Visited
Activity Level: Moderate

Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Rapid City | Badlands National Park

Welcome to Rapid City, gateway to South Dakota’s the Black Hills and the iconic Mount Rushmore. If you arrive early, there is plenty to see and do here – perhaps stroll through the Historic District and the City of Presidents, a street dotted with bronze statues of past presidents beyond the four you’ll meet at Mount Rushmore. You may like to get to know the creatures at the acclaimed Reptile Gardens or just kick back at one of the many local breweries in and around town. Meet your fellow cyclists and guide at midday (12 pm) then, drive to Hot Springs (approximately 1 hour), your base for exploring the wonders of the Badlands National Park. After a group meeting, get fitted to your bike and take a short introductory test ride around town and up to Cold Brook Lake before returning to your hotel. This afternoon, pay a visit to the Mammoth Site museum for a fascinating and up-close view of an active dig site that boasts the largest concentration of mammoth remains in the world! After returning to the hotel, the evening is free for you to explore or relax. Soothe your muscles at the Evans Plunge or Moccasin Mineral Springs or head into town for dinner with your new riding buddies. If you wish for additional excursions during your time in Rapid City and Badlands, pick from the following optional activities and contact us for current excursion pricing.

Included Activities:
    • Badlands National Park Guided and vehicle-supported Cycling
    Optional Activities:
    • Reptile Gardens
      Biking Distance: Approximately 10km/6 miles with an elevation gain of 160m/500ft.

      Day 2: Wind Cave National Park | Custer State Park

      After breakfast, leave Hot Springs and cycle north along straight roads that cut through rolling green hills before arriving at Wind Cave National Park, an extraordinary landscape home to one of the world’s largest caves. Step into a hidden world as you tour a section of the Wind Cave. Learn about this intriguing environment as you pass by unique box work, cave popcorn, and flowstone formations. From here, board the vehicle and take a short drive north to the western entrance of the Custer State Park (approximately 30 minutes), then enjoy a scenic 30km/19-mile ride along the famed Wildlife Loop in the southern section of the park. Keep a keen eye out along the road and the nearby hills are for the bison, elk, antelope, mountain goat, and deer that inhabit this pristine environment.

      Included Activities:
          • Wind Cave/Garden of Eden Cave Tour
          • Custer State Park Wildlife Loop Guided and vehicle-supported Cycling
          Biking Distance: Wind Cave is approximately 17km/11 miles with an elevation gain of 310m/1000ft. The second ride in Custer State Park is approximately 30km/19 miles with an elevation gain of 420m/1375ft.

          Day 3: Iron Mountain Road | Mt Rushmore

          Today is short and, at times challenging rides, but one you’ll remember for a lifetime. Leaving Custer State Park behind, make your way north up the sublime Iron Mountain Road. This architectural masterpiece carves its way through the forests, valleys, and mountains of South Dakota as it winds up the Black Hills, each of its 314 curves revealing a different view. While the journey is inspiring, the destination is just as remarkable as you emerge from the trees to the spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. Park your bike and take a stroll up the Presidential Trail for a close-up view of sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s colossal masterpiece as the granite-hewn faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln stare out across the Black Hills. Grab lunch and take your time to soak it all in before a final drive to Hill City and an afternoon relaxing those leg muscles.

          Included Activities:
                • Mount Rushmore National Memorial
                • Iron Mountain Road Guided and vehicle-supported Cycling
                Biking Distance: Approximately 16km/10 miles with an elevation gain of 295m/970ft.

                Day 4: George S. Mickelson Trail | Deadwood

                A longer but far flatter ride awaits you today as you cycle the excellent George S. Mickelson Trail through the heart of the beautiful Black Hills. The trail runs for 109 miles, but you’ll only cover a fraction of that as you cycle the traffic-free path through spruce and ponderosa pine forests across countless converted railroad bridges and the occasional rock tunnels. Start the day with a short drive (approximately 45 minutes) before joining the trail at Rochford. Riding a gentle uphill to the high point of the Dumont trail, then enjoying a gradual 21-kilometer descent into the legendary town of Deadwood. For those looking for an extra challenge, you are welcome to ride the entire trail section and its two long but not overly steep climbs from Hill City to Deadwood. For an extra challenge, you’re welcome to ride the entire trail section and its two long but not overly steep climbs (and descents!) from Hill City to all the way to Deadwood.

                This afternoon is free for you to explore the fabled city of Deadwood, home to Wild West luminaries such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The streets are paved with history and, there are plenty of restaurants and cafes nearby to soak up the atmosphere.

                Included Activities:
                • George S. Mickelson Trail Guided Cycling
                Biking Distance: Approximately 40km/25miles with an elevation gain of 305m/1000ft, with the option to take on a long ride of approximately 76km/47 miles with an elevation gain of 660m/2170ft.

                Day 5: Spearfish Canyon | Rapid City | Return Home

                • 1 Breakfast
                After an early breakfast, take a short vehicle transfer to Savoy (approximately 30 minutes) and begin your last day of cycling. This ride is short but certainly, memorable as you pedal mostly downhill along the stunning Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. Named by Bicycling magazine as one of the country’s most scenic bike paths, smooth road through vibrant foliage, past gorgeous waterfalls, and beneath towering 1000-foot-high cliffs are a cyclist’s paradise and a perfect final ride. Hop back aboard the support vehicle and make the short drive back to Deadwood, where you’ll have some time to freshen up before driving back to Rapid City (approximately 1 hour), where your cycling adventure will come to an end.

                Biking Distance: Approximately 21km/13miles with an elevation gain of 10m/30ft.


                Holiday Inn Rapid City - Rushmore Plaza

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                Holiday Inn Rapid City
                Holiday Inn Rapid City

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                • 4 Breakfasts
                • 5 Nights Accommodations
                • 5 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
                • Accommodations as listed
                • Ground transportation as listed
                • Excursions and activities as listed
                • Meals as listed
                • Gratuities
                • Travel Insurance
                • Personal Expenses
                • Flight costs (please request a quote)
                • Additional excursions during free time
                • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)


                When to Go

                Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
                Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.
                Typically not offered during this period because of weather conditions.

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                The trip might have been the absolute best of our lifetime (thus far). We particularly want to commend our guide Peter in the Guilin area-he was so incredibly attentive, energetic, enthusiastic-and absolutely dedicated to ensuring that our meals were 100% vegetarian.
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