Road Scholar : Home
Biking in the Black Hills of South Dakota

Program Number: 4904RJ
Start and End Dates:
8/25/2013 - 8/30/2013;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Custer, South Dakota
Price starting at: $795.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Bicycling Activity Level: n (see description)
Meals: 14; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 5 Dinners    
Meal Options: Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt; Vegetarian    

Bike through the heart of the beautiful and mystical Black Hills on the hard-packed, limestone Mickelson Trail following the historic Burlington Northern rail line. Choose to bike the entire 110 miles of trail if you like. Along the way study natural and historic features. Evening speakers bring local color to the natural and human history of the Black Hills.




Highlights

• Bike different sections of the scenic Mickelson Trail each day, enjoying a great variety of terrain including pine forests, rock cliffs, streams and prairies.
• Experience field trips to Deadwood, the Needles Highway, and Crazy Horse Memorial.
• At Mt. Rushmore, attend an inspirational ranger program and the lighting of the monument.



Activity Particulars

Cycle 20-30 miles daily (one day 44 miles); long gradual uphills and downhills; maximum elevation 6,200 feet. Sag wagon, 21-speed mountain bikes and helmets provided.



Coordinated by Outlaw Ranch.




Custer

Conveniently located near major attractions such as Jewel Cave National Monument, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, Mount Rushmore National Monument, and its own Crazy Horse Memorial, Custer is the gateway to the Black Hills region and the area’s historic, cultural and natural sites, including hot springs, ice age fossils and bison.



Accommodations
Retreat center/camp overlooking meadow, stream and the peaks of the Black Hills. Choice of lodge room with sink and connecting bath, or retreat center with double-occupancy room and shared baths. No alcohol.
Meals and Lodgings
   Outlaw Ranch
  Custer, South Dakota 5 nights
 Outlaw Ranch
Type: Lodge
  Description: Comfortable facilities at beautiful site in the forests of the Black Hills. Overlooking horse pastures and a nearby lake and hills. Delicious homemade meals.
  Contact info: 12703 Outlaw Ranch Rd.
Custer, SD 57730 USA
phone: 605-673-4040
web: www.losd.org/outlaw/outlaw_ranch_accommodations.html
  Room amenities: Linens, towels provided. Wireless Internet available.
  Facility amenities: Comfortable lounge room, beautiful site to walk and enjoy the views. Gorgeous sunny skies and starry nights. View wildlife at the camp and on drives. Wireless internet.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Bathroom: Rooms in Lodge have a sink in each room; some rooms share toilet/shower room with one other room. Retreat center has shared bath facilities (with 2 toilets, 2 showers, 2 sinks) on each floor, shared by three rooms (up to 6 people).
  Check in time: 4:00 PM
  Check out time: 9:00 AM


Travel Details
  Start of Program:
4:00 PM Sunday at Outlaw Ranch. Registration is from 4:00 - 5:30 pm. Dinner is served at 5:30 pm. You will be staying at Outlaw Ranch that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends with 8 AM breakfast on Friday. Van shuttle to airport at 9:00 am., with arrival at airport about 10:10 am. Plan flights after 11:00 am. You will be staying at Outlaw Ranch the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. Waiver if planning on taking a horse trail ride.
  Parking availability:
Free.
Transportation
To Start of Program
  Location:  Custer, South Dakota
  Nearest city or town:  Custer, SD, and Rapid City, SD
  Nearest highway: 16 / 16A
  Nearest airport:  Rapid City, SD
  From End of Program
  Location: Custer, South Dakota
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details
 

Rapid City, SD

 

From Bus Terminal

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Outlaw Ranch van
phone: 605-673-4040
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$27
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

55 miles

   

Outlaw Ranch will provide transportation to and from the airport or bus station in its own vans. Included in this mailing is a form to request transportation from Outlaw Ranch. Transportation will only be available on the days the program begins and ends. Pay on arrival at Outlaw Ranch.

 

Rapid City, SD

 

From Airport

 
 

Service:

 

Hotel Shuttle
Outlaw Ranch van
phone: 605-673-4040
Advanced Reservations Required

 

Per Person/One Way:

 

$27
Prices are subject to change.

 

Travel Time:

 

1 hour 15 minutes 

 

Distance:

 

55 miles

   

Outlaw Ranch will provide transportation to and from the airport or bus station in its own vans. Included in this mailing is a form to request transportation from Outlaw Ranch. Transportation will only be available on the days the program begins and ends. Pay on arrival at Outlaw Ranch.

 
Driving Directions
  From Denver OUTLAW RANCH is located in the southern Black Hills. From Denver, take I-25 north to exit 126 in Wyoming, just south of Douglas, WY. Follow Hwy 18 east to Lusk, WY, then continue on Hwy 18 to Edgemont, SD. Follow Hwy 18 for 11 more miles, then Hwy 89 north for 17 miles to Pringle, SD. Take Hwy 385 north to Custer, SD. From the center of Custer, travel east on Hwy 16A for three miles. At the "Outlaw Ranch" sign, turn left onto America Center Road. After 1/4 mile, take the left fork. Follow America Center Road for one mile to the entrance to Outlaw Ranch on the right. At the top of the hill, take the right fork into the ranch. The drive from Edgemont, SD, to Outlaw Ranch is about one hour. NOTE: Those who use Google Maps, Map Quest or a GPS unit often do not end up at Outlaw Ranch, so please follow these directions from Custer to Outlaw Ranch.
  From Rapid City, SD OUTLAW RANCH is located approximately 50 miles southwest of Rapid City, SD. Follow Hwy 16, then 16/385 south to Custer. From the center of Custer, travel east on Hwy 16A for three miles. At the "Outlaw Ranch" sign, turn left onto America Center Road. After 1/4 mile, take the left fork. Follow America Center Road for one mile to the entrance to Outlaw Ranch on the right. At the top of the hill, take the right fork into the ranch. Outlaw Ranch is about one hour from Rapid City. NOTE: Those who use Google Maps, Map Quest or a GPS unit often do not end up at Outlaw Ranch, so please follow these directions from Custer to Outlaw Ranch.
Elevation Note: Outlaw Ranch is at 5,320 ft. Biking up to 6,400 ft. Elevation changes 1,000 to 1,500 ft each day.

Equipment Requirements: Bikes and helmets provided or you may bring your own.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.


Daily Schedule

Day 1: Welcome to Outlaw Ranch
(Sunday, August 25)
   
 Arrive To: Arrival time from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Move in, meet staff, select your bicycle and try it out.
 Dinner: All meals at Outlaw Ranch are home-cooked and served buffet style in the Outlaw Ranch dining hall. Dinners include main dish, vegetable, salad, fresh bread, and dessert. Vegetarian, low salt, low fat, low sugar, and gluten free options are available. Please request special diets ahead of time.
 Evening: The evening will include finishing checking out bicycles, getting acquainted, and orientation to the week.
   
Accommodations: Outlaw Ranch
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: First day of biking, afternoon free time to spend at Outlaw Ranch or in nearby towns.
(Monday, August 26)

Note: Biking 16 miles



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast entrees will vary each day, but can include eggs, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, yogurt, fresh muffins or scones, fresh fruit, toast, coffee, and juice.
 Morning: Biking on the Mickelson Trail this first day is approximately 16 miles to help you get adjusted to the trail and the elevation of the Black Hills. The group is dropped off at a trailhead each morning and picked up at another trailhead in the afternoon. There is also time for taking pictures and enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way. Throughout the week, we will bike on the George S. Mickelson Trail, named in honor of a favorite governor of South Dakota. The trail, most of which passes through Black Hills National Forest land, was completed in 1998 and follows the historic Deadwood to Edgemont Burlington Northern rail line. There are more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four hardrock tunnels along the trail, which is 112 miles long. You will have the opportunity to bike the entire trail if you would like. The trail surface is hard-packed crushed limestone. The trail consists of long, gradual slopes such as a railroad follows, so we bike for several miles of gradual uphill, then several miles of downhill. A van will meet us several times during the day, so you can choose to ride a portion of the trail in the van if you need a rest.
 Lunch: You will pack your own lunch and snacks each day from a variety of choices. Lunch is eaten alongside the bike trail, often at a shelter house.
 Afternoon: Monday afternoon will be back at Outlaw Ranch with a choice of horseback trail ride, canoeing, or hiking at Outlaw Ranch, or visiting shops in Custer or sightseeing on your own.
 Dinner: Dinner is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Evening: A trip to Mt. Rushmore National Memorial. Enjoy time to visit the Memorial and see the evening Ranger presentation and lighting of the monument. You will treasure this informative and moving presentation.
   
Accommodations: Outlaw Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Bike the northern section of the trail, visit and have supper in Deadwood.
(Tuesday, August 27)

Note: Biking 26 miles including over the highest point on the Mickelson Trail at over 6,200 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Morning: This day will be spent biking on the northernmost section of the Mickelson Trail in the northern Black Hills. The mileage for the day is 26 miles.
 Lunch: A packed lunch will be eaten at a shelter alongside the bike trail.
 Afternoon: Continue biking to the northern end of the trail and end up in Deadwood, SD. There is time, usually about one to two hours, to visit the town of Deadwood before dinner. Places to see include a history museum, Boot Hill Cemetery, historic buildings, mining history, casinos, and gift shops.
 Dinner: Supper will be eaten as a group in Deadwood at a prime rib buffet.
   
Accommodations: Outlaw Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Bike the southern section of the trail and enjoy an evening speaker.
(Wednesday, August 28)

Note: Biking 44 miles, with more downhill than up. End at an elevation of about 3,500 feet.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Morning: Today we are biking on the southern part of the Mickelson Trail in the southern Black Hills. The mileage for the day is 44.5 miles. You have the option of riding part of the day's ride in the sag wagon if you do not want to bike the entire 44.5 miles.
 Lunch: A packed lunch will be eaten at a shelter alongside the bike trail.
 Afternoon: Complete the bike ride to the southern end of the trail in Edgemont, SD. We will return to Outlaw Ranch in the late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Evening: The evening program will be a speaker on a Black Hills regional topic.
   
Accommodations: Outlaw Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Bike through forests, past meandering streams, and through hardrock tunnels. Choice of afternoon drive through the Needles Highway or a visit to Crazy Horse Memorial. Listen to an evening speaker.
(Thursday, August 29)

Note: Biking 23 miles with one of the harder uphill sections, and a beautiful 8 mile downhill to complete the entire trail.



   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Morning: Today we will bike our final section of the Mickelson Trail. The ride will be in the central Black Hills next to a beautiful creek and through pine and spruce forests. Today's ride is 22.5 miles.
 Lunch: A packed lunch will be eaten alongside the bike trail.
 Afternoon: We will finish biking the final nine miles of the trail. To complete the afternoon, there will be a choice of a drive through the unique and beautiful rock formations of the Needles Highway in Custer State Park or a trip to Crazy Horse Memorial to see the mountain carving of Crazy Horse and the Indian Museum of North America.
 Dinner: Dinner is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall.
 Evening: The evening program will be a speaker on a Black Hills regional topic.
   
Accommodations: Outlaw Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Saying goodbyes and departure.
(Friday, August 30)
   
 Breakfast: Breakfast is at the Outlaw Ranch dining hall at 8:00 a.m.
 Morning: Farewells and departure after breakfast. Van shuttle to airport will leave at 9:00 a.m. and arrive at the airport approximately 10:10 a.m. Plan flights after 11:00 a.m.
   
Meals Included: Breakfast

Free Time Opportunities
 
  Custer, South Dakota General Overview
Horseback trail rides, canoeing, hiking offered at Outlaw Ranch on Monday afternoon. Can also visit Custer on own. Many art galleries, craft shops, quilt shops in the area.
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List


Black Elk Speaks


Author: John G. Neihardt


Description: A legendary 'Book of Visions' of an American Indian for whom the Black Hills were a sacred place.



Crazy Horse and Custer


Author: Stephen E. Ambrose


Description: The Parallel lives of Two American Warriors.



Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee


Author: Dee Brown


Description: An Indian Hostory of the American West



Natural History of the Black Hills and Badlands


Author: Sven G. Froiland


Description: An overview of the geographical, biological, environmental, and historical aspects of the region.



Dakota - A Spiritual Geography


Author: Kathleen Norris


Description: An evocation of the Great Plains and its influence on the human spirit.



Roadside History of South Dakota


Author: Linda Hasselstrom


Description: This work is an easy reading of pertinent tidbits of South Dakota history.



Sun and Saddle Leather


Author: Badger Clark


Description: A book of cowboy poems and Badger Clark's life story. Clark was named the first Poet Laureate of South Dakota in 1937.



The Carving of Mt. Rushmore


Author: Rex Allen Smith


Description: This work tells the story of the spectacular artistic and engineering project of carving the American presidents' portraits on Mount Rushmore. It describes how it was conceived and carried out. The author was brought up in sight of Mount Rushmore and witnessed the work in progress.



Wildflowers, Grasses, and Other Plants of the Northern Plains and Black Hills


Author: Theodore Van Bruggen


Description: This book is a description and small field guide to wildflowers, grasses,and other plants in the Black Hills area.





You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.


As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.



Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:


© Road Scholar 2014 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768