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  1. #1
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    Another Black Hills Thread...

    I had posted something back in the winter about coming up to the Black Hills in May to ride, but can no longer find that thread...

    Well, we are headed up next weekend (the 18th-20th). Booked a group campsite at Sheridan Lake and looking to confirm the following:

    1. This is the best place to camp with 20 some males, looking to ride hard and drink beer by a campfire. Riding from our campground would be a plus, but not a necessity.

    2. Rides. We need three rides that are within reasonable driving distance of the campground. One kinda long ride on Friday, a really long ride for Saturday, and something short for Sunday (if we decide to ride at all). From what I gathered, the Saturday ride should be on the Centennial Trail from Lake Nemo to Alkalai Creek as an out and back (?) or shuttle (?)

    So that leaves two rides we still need to do...

    Any confirmation or additional suggestions are always appreciated.

    David

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    no dice?

  3. #3
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    That is all kind of vague.

    How far is reasonable driving distance to you?

    What type of riding are you after? Super tech stuff, or flowing mellow stuff, rocks?

    What is long? What is really long?

    I will take a stab at some trails that I like.

    Storm Mountain is at Rockerville. Not very far as the crow flies, but I have never driven from Sheridan Lake to Rockerville. I bet it is not over 20 miles. Not super long. I have no idea of the miles, but it is long enough to be a fun ride and a decent workout. It is a loop, so you can ride it again if your a stud, or ride the trial on the other side of the dirt road (I don't know if it has a name or if it is part of Storm). Fun singletrack, not real technical.

    Spearfish is about 50 miles away, give or take. Some good riding there. Get on the Dakota 50 web page and download the maps for a 50 miler.

    Not technical at all, but the Mickelson trail starts in Deadwood and runs South to Edgemont, about 105 miles. It is a rail trail, super nice country, some long climbs that are not steep, but not freebies, 4 tunnels. Nothing challenging except the distance, but I really love riding it.

    You should be camped about 10 ish miles from Pactola reservoir. For some fun, easy singletrack, ride the section of the Centennial Trail (#89) from the North boat launch road (park way up from the lake, near Hwy 385) of Pactola reservoir and all the way north to the point where the trail crosses the Hiway, or further if you want. This is a superb out and back for a mellow recovery day.

    My advise for an easy wind down ride on the Centennial trail up near Sturgus is the same section you are talking about, but I would start at the Alkali Creek trail head (near the little chapel at the Black Hills National Cemetery). Ride South until you get to the really steep downhill section. This is probably about 5 miles give or take. Turn around and head back to the trail head. This section is often called the Bulldog. Not real long and not real hard riding, but really fun.
    Last edited by 11 Bravo; 05-09-2012 at 08:05 PM. Reason: spelling
    I'm not very smart, but I can lift heavy things

  4. #4
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    Sheridan Lake is a great spot to base out of.
    Give a little description on how long you want to ride each day and I am sure there will be many options presented.

    For you big ride you could leave from the camp site South on the Centennial and go to Big Pine TH, ride the Old Hill City Road into Hill City, head North on the Mick, turn East on Trail 40 until hit the Centennial again, and finish by going South back to Sheridan Lake. This loop is 60+ if I remember correctly. Bring your big boy pants though because there are some very challenging sections on this loop. This will take all-the-doo-da-day to complete!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadman View Post
    Sheridan Lake is a great spot to base out of.
    Give a little description on how long you want to ride each day and I am sure there will be many options presented.

    For you big ride you could leave from the camp site South on the Centennial and go to Big Pine TH, ride the Old Hill City Road into Hill City, head North on the Mick, turn East on Trail 40 until hit the Centennial again, and finish by going South back to Sheridan Lake. This loop is 60+ if I remember correctly. Bring your big boy pants though because there are some very challenging sections on this loop. This will take all-the-doo-da-day to complete!
    We are a very strong group of riders, its just a matter of how hung over we are on Saturday. This loop sounds great. Of the 60 miles, how much would you say is singletrack vs. gravel road?

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    How do the trails hold up in the event of rain?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rontele View Post
    How do the trails hold up in the event of rain?
    Rain? It rains in the Black Hills? Not that often, actually. Depends on how dry or saturated the ground was before the rain hits.

    Storm Mountain is a must and not far at all from Sheridan Lake. I'm guessing 15-20 minutes tops for a drive.

    M-Hill in Rapid City on your way out of town Sunday for a nice IMBA built/designed bike park with a little of something for everyone.

    Like I said last time in this thread - too bad you were not coming the following weekend to the Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. Talk about a fun party with gobs and gobs of riding....

    BB

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    Go to Black Hills Mountain Bike Association | BHMBA forums and post there. You'll likely get more locals.

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    Thanks. I signed up at the forum. At this point, I am most concerned about the rain the forecast next weekend. Looking like a 30% chance of showers and T-storms, which isn't too bad.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rontele View Post
    Thanks. I signed up at the forum. At this point, I am most concerned about the rain the forecast next weekend. Looking like a 30% chance of showers and T-storms, which isn't too bad.
    Having grown up in the Black Hills, I've come to the realization that they are "always" optimistic about their chances of rain.

    30% chance of rain could be anything from a sunny day to a droplet or two that might hit ground before it evaporates. But you never know. A little mountain thunderstorm could roll through late on Saturday, but it has been so dry that it shouldn't ruin your entire trip. You can always ride the Big Mick on a rainy day while you wait for the wind and sun to dry the singletrack out. Not sure I would trust a forecast that far out and the way it stands now - you'll be fine for a big ride on Friday, and a big ride on Saturday before isolated thunderstorms build up late on Saturday. And you mentioned, based on the amount of bevs consumed, riding on Sunday may be a no-go anyway.

    If the storms are isolated, there are plenty of trails in the Black Hills which runs pretty far north and south, and east and west to find dry trails to ride.

    BB

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    Having grown up in the Black Hills, I've come to the realization that they are "always" optimistic about their chances of rain.

    30% chance of rain could be anything from a sunny day to a droplet or two that might hit ground before it evaporates. But you never know. A little mountain thunderstorm could roll through late on Saturday, but it has been so dry that it shouldn't ruin your entire trip. You can always ride the Big Mick on a rainy day while you wait for the wind and sun to dry the singletrack out. Not sure I would trust a forecast that far out and the way it stands now - you'll be fine for a big ride on Friday, and a big ride on Saturday before isolated thunderstorms build up late on Saturday. And you mentioned, based on the amount of bevs consumed, riding on Sunday may be a no-go anyway.

    If the storms are isolated, there are plenty of trails in the Black Hills which runs pretty far north and south, and east and west to find dry trails to ride.

    BB
    Thanks, Bruce. I think the weather is pretty similar to what we have here in Colorado. So long as it isn't a total wash out, we'll be riding fine. At this point, I am thinking we are going to do Victoria Lake Friday when we get into camp (or Storm Mountain), and then on Saturday decide between the 60 mile loop from camp described above, the Centennial from Dalton to Alkali Creek or a larger loop in the Victoria Lake region and Sunday perhaps ride Centennial to Pilot Butte and back or bail and go to Mt. Rushmore and do other touristy things.

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    I would not worry about the rain. I lived in CO (Snowmass Village) for a while and the weather is very similar. 30% chance means sunny all day then 3-4 o'clock, pop up thunderstorms that last about 20 minutes. Also the trails, Storm, Victoria, and the centennial all hold up very well in the rain. Sheridan lake area can be ridden right after a heavy rain.

  13. #13
    CJH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rontele View Post
    Thanks, Bruce. I think the weather is pretty similar to what we have here in Colorado. So long as it isn't a total wash out, we'll be riding fine. At this point, I am thinking we are going to do Victoria Lake Friday when we get into camp (or Storm Mountain), and then on Saturday decide between the 60 mile loop from camp described above, the Centennial from Dalton to Alkali Creek or a larger loop in the Victoria Lake region and Sunday perhaps ride Centennial to Pilot Butte and back or bail and go to Mt. Rushmore and do other touristy things.
    Instead of doing that 60 mile loop you could also consider combining Storm with Victoria's Secret and Loop 15. You could even ride north bound on the Centennial Trail from your campsite and get on Loop 15 a few different ways.

    The Black Hills Back 40 is an upcoming race that will be combining Storm, Loop 15 and Victoria's Secret. I don't know how well it's marked and you might need some local knowledge to stay on track where the trails meet up. In particular it might be tough to get off Loop 15 and ride through the Bighorn Sheep area to get to Storm.

    I'm not sure how many miles it would add to take Centennial from your campsite to somewhere on Loop 15. Again, I think you'd need more local knowledge than what I can give you in writing. Maybe somebody on BHMBA can give you more specific info.

    As far as rain, things are very dry here right now. I'd be very surprised if we got enough rain to affect the trails much.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJH View Post
    Instead of doing that 60 mile loop you could also consider combining Storm with Victoria's Secret and Loop 15. You could even ride north bound on the Centennial Trail from your campsite and get on Loop 15 a few different ways.

    The Black Hills Back 40 is an upcoming race that will be combining Storm, Loop 15 and Victoria's Secret. I don't know how well it's marked and you might need some local knowledge to stay on track where the trails meet up. In particular it might be tough to get off Loop 15 and ride through the Bighorn Sheep area to get to Storm.

    I'm not sure how many miles it would add to take Centennial from your campsite to somewhere on Loop 15. Again, I think you'd need more local knowledge than what I can give you in writing. Maybe somebody on BHMBA can give you more specific info.

    As far as rain, things are very dry here right now. I'd be very surprised if we got enough rain to affect the trails much.
    My membership has been approved yet. Was looking at the Black Hills 40 course map and that looks like an option. I presume you are recommending that over the 60 mile loop above because of more singletrack?

  15. #15
    CJH
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rontele View Post
    My membership has been approved yet. Was looking at the Black Hills 40 course map and that looks like an option. I presume you are recommending that over the 60 mile loop above because of more singletrack?
    Lol, I wouldn't know.

    Way more singletrack. I'd have to go back and look at what he/she recommended but I think part of the ride in the 60 mile loop was actually going to be on paved road and part on a rails-to-trail conversion (Mickelson).

    The 40 mile loop of all three trail systems would be almost entirely singletrack. The ATV climb on loop 15 is a rutted out road and you'd be on a FS road to connect Victoria to Storm.

    If I were you I'd look into that. Personally I'd skip the ride up Centennial (89) from your campsite. You'd be starting an already tough ride with a steady long climb. Over 1500 ft. I'd guess to hook up with Loop 15 plus the additiona miles.

    In defense of the 60 mile loop recommended, it would take you through a lot of different parts of the hills, you'd be able to stop for food and water and it will likely be easier to follow. I'll go take a look at what was written and post back later if I have anything to add.

    The route I'm recommending would be zero water unless you parked cars at a few key points on the route. But that seems like too much work and would cut into beer time.

    Is there any way you guys could do a shuttle ride from Nemo and down to your campsite on the Centennial?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJH View Post
    Lol, I wouldn't know.

    Way more singletrack. I'd have to go back and look at what he/she recommended but I think part of the ride in the 60 mile loop was actually going to be on paved road and part on a rails-to-trail conversion (Mickelson).

    The 40 mile loop of all three trail systems would be almost entirely singletrack. The ATV climb on loop 15 is a rutted out road and you'd be on a FS road to connect Victoria to Storm.

    If I were you I'd look into that. Personally I'd skip the ride up Centennial (89) from your campsite. You'd be starting an already tough ride with a steady long climb. Over 1500 ft. I'd guess to hook up with Loop 15 plus the additiona miles.

    In defense of the 60 mile loop recommended, it would take you through a lot of different parts of the hills, you'd be able to stop for food and water and it will likely be easier to follow. I'll go take a look at what was written and post back later if I have anything to add.

    The route I'm recommending would be zero water unless you parked cars at a few key points on the route. But that seems like too much work and would cut into beer time.

    Is there any way you guys could do a shuttle ride from Nemo and down to your campsite on the Centennial?
    Shuttling is definitely an option. We had heard that Dalton to Alkali would be the preferred shuttle.

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    That's the hard part about riding out here. I can think of about 10 different 40 mile rides around the hills, all would be epic. Many of them are not marked and some include roads and atv trails. Coming from out of town I would stick to the marked trails otherwise you might spend your trip looking for that trail. If your looking for a 60 miler I would just drive up to alkali creek trailhead on the centennial and ride back to your campsite. 90% single track and an awesome ride. The trail is well marked. This route was the fat tire festival's epic 2 day ride the last couple of years. The Mick route would be fun but a lot of road and rail to trail riding. Not sure on locals guiding too much, many of us are spending the weekend getting the trails ready for the festival the following weekend. Don't stress too much about what to ride, just ride your bike, have a few beers, and live it up. Storm Friday, 60 mile cent. ride sat, (plan most of the day for this) and ride anywhere Sunday and you will have ridden some great rides in the hills. Have fun!

    Ross

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    Have to agree with Ross on the Centenial. I have not ridden the complete section all at once, but have been on most of it in smaller bites, and it is a great ride. The section from Pactola basin to Dakota Point trailhead is a great ride and just as you hit Sheridan Lake road, you can cut to the right off the trail and go right to the group camping area. This would be a great ride, and as Ross said it is all marked. We rode the last section just a couple weeks ago and it's in great shape.
    The weather for Saturday may have a thunderstorm in it, as is always a good possibility here, so pack a thin jacket. Most of our storms here are fast moving and you can take a break under some trees to get out of the worst of it.
    Another great trail that is about a 30 minute drive from Sheridan Lake is the Deerfield Lake loop trail. It is also well marked. It is right at 12 miles, and a reasonable pace it can be done in about 2 1/2 hours. If you need directions or guidance check with Rabbit Bicycles in Hill City, Eddie can help you out, or I'll be there 9 - 1 Fri and Sat. Rabbit bikes is just across the street from the 1880's train station. (can't miss the train)
    Who knows, I may be bored and stop by your campsite for a beer Fri night and answer any questions you may have. I live off Sheridan Lake Rd.
    Have Fun.

    Bob

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    The more I think about it the more I think your big ride should be a shuttle down Centennial. I'm glad Bob chimed in about how to get to your campground. There are a few spurs off of 89 around Sheridan Lake and I don't know the one that goes through the campground at all.

    I think riding the Victoria area Friday night before the trail work starts this weekend is a good idea. There are two areas where Loop 15 and Sport Loop hook up and split which can be a bit confusing but I think they're well marked right now. I've been out there recently but just haven't paid attention. I suggest riding counter-clockwise as it's easier to follow in that direction.

    Back to the 89 shuttle, I understand it's a bit hard to follow south of the Bald Hills (which is south-bound of the Brush Creek Trailhead). ATV riders can still get to that part of the trail and they seem to like to shoot up or move signs. A lot of trail markers were added a few years ago but I understand it's gone downhill since.

    It's mostly two track once you get past the Bald Hills but I really like that area of the Hills a lot. And it goes right down to your camground. Can't beat that.

  20. #20
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    We are actually now staying on the South Sheridan Lake Campground (we opted for spots on the lake vs. group campground). Does that change any of the considerations for riding? I don't think so, but would be curious. Really excited to get out and ride the Black Hills. Weather looks nice and cool, which we will certainly not complain about.

    Really appreciate everyone's help and advice. If you all EVER decide to make the drive south and ride in Colorado, please feel free to hit me up and I would gladly provide the same level of support and advice.

    Thank you.

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    The only difference is if you do the Centenial ride you come out on the opposite side of the lake from the South campground. You'd have to ride the road around to the south campground. This is actually several miles. You'd go south on Sheridan Lk road to hwy 385, then left on 385 to the campground entrance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BobR549 View Post
    The only difference is if you do the Centenial ride you come out on the opposite side of the lake from the South campground. You'd have to ride the road around to the south campground. This is actually several miles. You'd go south on Sheridan Lk road to hwy 385, then left on 385 to the campground entrance.
    Thanks. So the Centennial Trail doesn't circumnavigate the lake?

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    I'm pretty sure it does. From Dakota point can't you ride across the dam and pop out at the flume/ centennial trailhead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by slickrockross View Post
    I'm pretty sure it does. From Dakota point can't you ride across the dam and pop out at the flume/ centennial trailhead?
    You may be able to, I've never done that so I can't say for sure.

  25. #25
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    Just checked the map, you can continue on the trail past Dakota point, across the dam and it brings you to the south boat ramp/trail head which is right near the campground. Here is a link to the map.
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5194547.pdf

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