Weekend Wheeling in Rapid City

A Gateway City of Great Way Biking
  |  Gorp.com
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Rapid City is the only city of any size for hundreds of miles in any direction and so offers all the urban amenities that travelers might want after a journey across the plains. Situated on the western fringes of the northern Great Plains, Rapid City is the gateway to a unique world of granite peaks, forested hillsides, and windswept prairies.

From the Black Hills immediately west to the Badlands on the east, there are well over a dozen national and state parks, forests, and recreation areas offering outdoor leisure and adventure. In fact, for quick getaways to the outdoors, not many cities are so close to such a variety of opportunities. Plus, the Black Hills area climate is far enough west to avoid the worst of the Midwestern summer humidity season, but rain showers and thunderstorms are always a possibility. Expect warm to hot days, with pleasantly cool evenings.

Abundant accommodations, a variety of shopping areas, family attractions, brew pubs and other nightlife, and several good museums highlight South Dakota's second largest city. There is also an active bicycling community and several good bike shops. Bicyclists of all persuasions and skills will find riding experiences here that are the equal of anywhere in North America.

Serious road bicyclists will find many options in the Rapid City region. The off-road riding possibilities in the Rapid City/Black Hills area are also too numerous to list here, so let's focus on the two mega-trails that form the backbone of the local trail biking scene. The George S. Mickelson Trail is a 110-mile converted railroad grade offering easy to moderate grades for bikers of all abilities. The Centennial Trail, built primarily as a hiking trail for the South Dakota centennial in 1989, provides challenging intermediate to advanced riding through the heart of the Black Hills. Both of these two trails qualify as candidates in their respective categories for the "top ten" trails in the country.

These suggestions just scratch the surface of what the Rapid City region has to offer. Plan on spending a few extra days in the area and follow your whims. You won't regret the time you spend here. Pedal hard, but tread lightly.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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