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Cycle South Dakota: Mount Rushmore & Badlands

Cycle 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 recognised monuments on a six-day cycling adventure through South Dakota. The 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 must be seen to be believed, and travelling with a local leader ensures you’ll hear the stories behind all the sights you uncover along the way.

6 days, from


per person


12 people max


Trip code: SSXD
Style: Original
Print itinerary


Countries Visited:  United States Of America
Accommodation: Simple Hotel/Motel (5 nights)
Transportation: Bicycle (e-bike option available , subject to availability) , Support vehicle
Meals: dinners, 5 breakfasts
Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Take a wild ride along the famed Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park, searching for bison, elk, antelope, mountain goat, and deer as you pedal.

  • When you’re not on two wheels, there’s plenty to discover on foot – tour a section of one of the world’s longest caves in Wind Cave National Park and admire its unique formations.

  • Cycle one of the USA’s most spectacular roads – the Iron Mountain Road weaves through South Dakota’s Black Hills, revealing a different view with each of its curves.

  • Park your bike at the iconic Mount Rushmore and follow the Presidential Trail for a close-up view of the granite-hewn faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt, and Lincoln.

  • Scenic rides lead you to storied towns – explore legendary Deadwood and learn about its Wild West past, and visit the settlement of Sundance, known for one particularly infamous former resident.


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Day 1: Rapid City & Hot Springs

Welcome to Rapid City, gateway to South Dakota’s 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 (12pm) 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 then 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 which 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.

Day 2: Hot Springs to 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 boxwork, 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.

Day 3: Iron Mountain Road & Mt Rushmore

Today is short and at times challenging ride, but definitely one you’ll remember for a lifetime. Leaving Custer State Park behind, make you 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 just as remarkable as you emerge from the trees to the spectacular view of Mount Rushmore. Park your bike and take a leisurely 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.

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 though 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 trail at Dumont, then enjoying a gradual 21-kilometre descent into the legendary town of Deadwood. For those looking 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.

Day 5: Cycle Sundance to Devils Tower

After breakfast, hit the road and make the 1-hour drive across state lines into Wyoming to the tiny town of Sundance, named after the nearby mountain where Native Americans performed their sacred Sun Dances, and the same town where legendary outlaw Harry Longbaugh earned his moniker “The Sundance Kid”. Start cycling along the quiet old state road, flanked by the Black Hills National Forest, passing through rolling hills and green pastoral land before arriving to the Devils Tower National Monument. Designated as America’s first national monument in 1906, made famous by the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a sacred place to the Northern Plains Indian Tribes, this natural rock formation is a truly awe-inspiring site. After taking it all in, jump back into the support vehicle for the 1.5-hour drive back to Deadwood.

Day 6: Cycle Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway & Rapid City

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, the smooth road through vibrant foliage, past gorgeous waterfalls and beneath towering 1000-foot-high cliffs is 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 upon arrival your cycling adventure will come to and end.

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