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South Dakota
  • 6 days/5 nights
  • Next Departure: Sep 07, 2014
  • From $2,398 / person
  • ($580 single supplement)

South Dakota Vacation Packages

Follow the route of the 1890 Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad on the Mickelson Trail, keeping an eye out for wild turkeys along the way. Discover the enormity of the Crazy Horse Memorial, its past and present controversies, and the mountain carving’s historic significance. Visit a herd of the friendly wild begging burros in South Dakota’s first and largest state park, Custer State Park. Descend into the depths of Wind Cave. Revel in the inspirational and monumental Mount Rushmore on your South Dakota vacation.

  • Biking
  • Hiking
  • Snorkeling / Swimming

Activity Level: Moderate

About
This Tour

Mention the Black Hills of South Dakota and images of Sturgis, the world’s largest motorcycle rally come to mind. What many don’t imagine is an oasis of pine-clad mountains and prairie land, abundant wildlife, a world-class national park, and a host of dedicated Rails to Trails bike routes.

  • Pedal backroads through a sea of open prairie to the historic Old West town of Deadwood
  • Follow an abandoned railroad along the Mickelson Trail, traversing countless bridges and rock tunnels
  • Hike along the base of Mount Rushmore and visit the famed Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Explore the vast underground world of Wind Cave National Park
Biking trail at dawn
Photo: Biking trail at dawn

I've been to the Black Hills several times, always on a Harley going to or from Sturgis and the big motorcycle rally. Each and every time I go, I come home talking about what a great destination South Dakota would make for an adventure vacation. I finally decided to make it happen!

Dan Austin Austin Adventures Founder

Itinerary
& Map

Tour Itinerary

6 days/5 nights

Rapid City, South Dakota (RAP)

Day 1: Rapid City / Sturgis / Spearfish / Deadwood
Rapid City / Sturgis / Spearfish / Deadwood
Meals Included:  L, D

Begin your vacation by exploring Bear Butte State Park and summit the mountain trail yielding sweeping panoramic views for miles and miles, Experience the Old West and learn why Bear Butte is considered one of the most sacred lands by the Plains Indians.

After a short tour of the visitor’s center, we head over to the famous biker town of Sturgis for lunch at a local spot.

From there:

  1. Tour the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame
  2. Load up in the van to travel a short distance away to the town of Spearfish for a bike ride through a neat canyon

This evening, we arrive at Deadwood, our home for the night. We’ll walk the same sidewalks as the likes of Wild Bill Hickok, Calamity Jane, Wyatt Earp and Buffalo Bill, to name just a few!

Tonight’s dinner is at the fabulous Jake’s Restaurant, owned by Kevin Costner. Kevin fell in love with the area after filming Dances with Wolves and the restaurant is filled with his movie memorabilia.

About the Deadwood Mountain Grand Hotel
Deadwood’s Newest Boutique Hotel is perched on a hill overlooking Historic Deadwood. The new 98 room luxury hotel is a wonderful addition to a re-development from one of Deadwood’s most unique historic landmarks, the Homestake Mine Slime Plant, now home to Deadwood’s only Event Center.

As a guest, relax and enjoy lounging by the grand stone fireplace over 2 stories tall under vaulted ceilings or cozy up by the side seating fireplace both making the rustic interior and decorated lobby truly magnificent. You can look forward to the swimming pool with hot tub after a long day of biking.

Day 2: Mickelson Trail / Deadwood
Mickelson Trail / Deadwood
Meals Included:  B, L

After a hearty breakfast, we head up to the old gold town of Rochford to begin our first leg of the Mickelson Trail!

The trail follows the historic Deadwood to Edgemont Burlington northern rail line, which serviced gold country for nearly a century. From there, we ride the trail “backwards” as we make our way back towards Deadwood.

Early afternoon, you have a variety of activities to choose from, including:

  • Walk around the Mount Moriah Cemetery where Wild Bill and Calamity Jane were laid to rest
  • Visit one of several of Deadwood’s museums, highlighting life in the days of outlaws, gold panning, and Native American skirmishes
  • Take an “old-time,” black and white photo at Woody’s Wild West

We’ll meet up later in the afternoon for a Deadwood trolley tour, followed by dinner on your own tonight in Deadwood.

Day 3: Mickelson Trail / Keystone / Mount Rushmore
Mickelson Trail / Keystone / Mount Rushmore
Meals Included:  B, L, D

Today, eat a big breakfast because we have a big and exciting day ahead of us!

We’ll first transfer by van to Rochford where our continuing ride up and down the Mickelson Trail begins. You'll pass by the Mystic Trailhead as you make your way on to Hill City, the second oldest town in the Black Hills.

Near here, we’ll do lunch and perhaps even a bit of swimming.

We’ll then check into our accommodation for the next 3 nights, the Sylvan Lake Lodge, before we depart for a scenic tour of the Needles Highway and Iron Mountain Road.

Dinner tonight is in the historic town of Keystone, after which we’ll explore Mount Rushmore as the sun sets!

About the Sylvan Lake Lodge
Rich in history and natural beauty, Sylvan Lake Lodge holds the designation of Custer State Park's "crown jewel".

This property features beautifully renovated lodge rooms and cabins, a lounge, a restaurant and an outdoor veranda which offers breathtaking views. The location of Sylvan Lake Lodge can't be beat, thanks to the design inspired by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

When the original lakeshore resort burned down in 1935, Wright suggested the current location amidst a forest of pine and spruce trees. The recently renovated Sylvan Lake Dining Room features the best in steaks, seafood, and chef's specialties.

Day 4: Mickelson Trail / Crazy Horse / Pringle / Wildlife Loop
Mickelson Trail / Crazy Horse / Pringle / Wildlife Loop
Meals Included:  B, L, D

Another amazing day awaits you on Day 4!

Heading back to Hill City this morning, we’ll resume our Mickelson Trail bike ride, pedaling up towards Crazy Horse.

Still in progress, the Memorial is destined to be some 10 times the size of Mt Rushmore. This is more than just carvings in stone; it is a compound that will eventually pay tribute to the American Indians and the great Indian Chief, Crazy Horse, housing the Indian Museum of North America, Indian University of North America and a host of other properties.

After your tour, pedal back down to the town of Custer where a picnic lunch awaits
This afternoon, we’ll begin our ride where we left off to pedal to the tiny town of Pringle

After some downtime at the hotel, we’ll drive the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park on the lookout for bison, antelope and wild burros on our way to dinner at the State Game Lodge.

Day 5: Mickelson Trail / Edgemont / Wind Cave
Mickelson Trail / Edgemont / Wind Cave
Meals Included:  B, L, D

Brace yourself. Today we'll continue our journey south on the Mickelson Trail, completing the final section of our 110 mile journey!

This easygoing section of trail passes through rolling foothills, expansive private ranches, and “as-far-as-the-eye-can-see” prairies.

Lunch is at the City Park in Edgemont, the official end of the trail, where we will celebrate our last day of biking with a toast! Afterward, we load up the bikes and shuttle a short distance to Wind Cave, where a tour of the world’s first cave designated as a national park will be undertaken.

At tonight’s dinner, toast to a great week spent exploring the Black Hills!

Day 6: Sylvan Lake Lodge / Rapid City
Sylvan Lake Lodge / Rapid City
Meals Included:  B

For your final morning, you have the option to sleep in and enjoy the lodge or head out on one last group hike before we load up, say goodbye to the Black Hills and head back to Rapid City for our farewells.

We hope you'll join us again soon!

** Trip itineraries are subject to change without notice due to road, weather, wildlife, and other factors outside of our control, for the safety and enjoyment of our guests, as deemed necessary and appropriate by Austin Adventures.

Dates, Rates
& Details

Start planning your next adventure now. See the information below for the rates and selection of available dates. For additional information on dates and availability, please contact our travel specialists.

  • 6 days/5 nights
  • Next Departure: Sep 07, 2014
  • From $2,398 / person
  • ($580 single supplement)

Departure Dates

  • Sep 07 2014
  • Sep 14 2014
  • Jun 21, 2015
  • Aug 30, 2015
  • Sep 6, 2015
  • Sep 13, 2015

Additional Trip Information

Departure

Please plan on arriving at least one day prior to your trip departure. Day one of your itinerary starts at 8:00 or 8:20 am, depending on your hotel. Your trip ends with a drop-off at either the Rapid City airport (12:00 pm) or your Rapid City hotel (12:30 pm).

Activities
  • Biking: 15 to 32 miles per ride, easy to moderate terrain on paved roads and Mickelson Trail (packed gravel).
  • Hiking: 2 to 5 miles, easy to moderate terrain.

About the Mickelson Trail
Imagine a path where the ghosts of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane still roam; where bicyclists, hikers and horseback riders can explore spruce and ponderosa pine forests; and the very young, the very old and people of all abilities can enjoy.

The George S. Mickelson Trail, in the heart of the beautiful Black Hills, was completed in September of 1998. Its gentle slopes and easy access allow people of all ages and abilities to enjoy the beauty of the Black Hills. Much of the trail passes through National Forest Land, but there are parts of the trail that pass through privately owned land, where trail use is restricted to the trail only.

The trail is 109 miles long and contains more than 100 converted railroad bridges and 4 rock tunnels. The trail surface is primarily crushed limestone and gravel. There are 15 trailheads, all of which offer parking, self-sale trail pass stations, vault toilets, and tables.

Meals

The hallmark of an Austin Adventures vacation is our exceptional dining. All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions – except one dinner on your own – are included as indicated by itinerary. (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner). Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities are not included in the trip price.

Included in Trip Price
  • Double occupancy rooms with private baths.
  • All meals: breakfasts, lunches, snacks, dinners, refreshments and receptions, except one dinner on your own.
  • Fully trained, first-aid certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners.
  • Bikes, helmets and other necessary equipment – all safe and well maintained.
  • Vehicle support and land transportation during the trip.
  • Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service.
  • Pre-departure and packing information.
  • Incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.
Not Included in Trip Price
  • Gratuities to Austin Adventures guides.
  • One dinner on your own.
  • Alcoholic beverages and related gratuities.
  • Pre-and post-trip accommodations and associated expenses.
  • Air and land transportation to/from host cities.
  • All types of personal insurance.
  • Personal expenses.
Photos

A few more reasons why you've gotta go…

  • 1. Deadwood: Explore the historic gambling town where legendary outlaws of the wild west once roamed.
  • 2. Mount Rushmore: Pictures do not do this US landmark justice! See it for yourself and marvel at its magnificence.
  • 3. The Mickelson Trail: The meandering hills, rock tunnels and railroad bridges of this trail make it a biking delight for people of all ages!
  • 4. Wind Cave National Park: At nearly 140 miles long, this cave is now marked as the sixth longest cave in the world!
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