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Ride Rating System

The BAC has a Ride Rating system that can tell you what to expect while on one of our rides. Learn more...

The Black Hills of South Dakota

  • Arrival
  • 6/8/2019
  • Departure
  • 6/22/2019
  • Ride Director
  • John McCoy
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Linda Stewart
  • Driver
  • Warner Griswold
  • Starting Location
  • Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Finishing Location
  • Rapid City, South Dakota
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $2400
  • Deposit
  • $1000
  • Number of Riders
  • 24 (min. 20 /max. 24)
  • Space Available
  • 0
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

3B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

This tour is repeat of a successful June 2016 “The Black Hills of South Dakota” tour led by Warner Griswold. Warner is the driver on this trip. Yes, it is beautiful in South Dakota!  "Great Faces, Great Places" is what is says on the license plates. This bike tour will reward you with an intimate look at the Black Hills, including magnificent granite rock spires, buffalo herds and other wildlife, Custer State Park, several National Monuments, Wind Cave National Park, a Hall of Fame Rail Trail, and a chance to climb the highest peak East of the Rockies and West of the Pyrenees! This "monumental" bicycle tour is a combination of spectacular scenery and historically significant events.  The National Monuments include Mt Rushmore, Jewel Cave National Monument and Devil's Tower. Some of the colorful western towns along the route are Deadwood, Custer, Sundance, Hill City, Spearfish and Keystone. You'll enjoy visits to the infamous Saloon #10 where Wild Bill Hickok was killed playing poker, plus the Moonshine Gulch and Mangy Moose saloons. We will ride the famous George S. Mickelson Trail, which follows the historic Deadwood to Edgemont Burlington Northern rail line and is one of the premier rail trails in America. Come join us on this Wild West Adventure!

There are three days that exceed the 3B rating in elevation or distance.  (See itinerary for details.)  Participants should also be aware that there are a few short pitches with grades in excess of 8%.

Temperature ranges:  Average lows are 59 degree and average highs are 78 degrees.  Precipitation is between 2.5’’- 3.0” for the month of June depending on the location.

Lodging will vary depending on the location from small, modest motels to some very nice hotels.  Luggage is limited to two pieces.  The larger piece is limited to 35 pounds with total linear inches not exceeding 54.  One additional bag will be allowed that meets airline carry on size.

Trip fees will cover the first and last night’s dinner, a “pizza night”, all lunches, 12 breakfasts, and “Happy Hour” each day.
* Note:  Although the food and supplies for lunches and Happy Hours will be provided by the ride leader, all participants will be asked to assist with preparing the lunch buffet area, laying out the lunch supplies and clean up. This will be done on a rotational basis in teams of four.  The same procedure will be used for Happy Hours.

The ride will start and end at the Holiday Inn in Rapid City, SD.  Airlines flying into Rapid City are American, Delta, United, and Allegiant.  The hotel has a shuttle to and from the airport. Vehicles may be left at the hotel parking lot at no extra cost.  Bike boxes may also be left at the hotel.  


  • June 8, 2019 - Saturday arrival - We'll start this tour at 5:00 pm with the traditional orientation meeting and happy hour, followed by a group dinner.  Lodging - Holiday Inn in Rapid City, SD.

  • June 9th, Sunday – 46 miles 4,115’ - Rapid City to Hill City, SD - We will pass the gateway to Mount Rushmore. Lodging: Holiday Inn Express.

  • June 10th, Monday – Rest day or optional 47 miles 4,268’ ride on the Sylvan/Legend Lake Loop.  This ride takes us into Custer State Park where we will pass many lakes, see a variety of wildlife and the unique Cathedral Granite Spires located in the Needles Mountains.

  • June 11th, Tuesday – 33 miles 3,368’ - Hill City to Custer State Park.  Today we visit Mount Rushmore where Gutzon Borglum carved a memorial to the history of America.  As we continue on the route we ride the famous Pigtail Bridge before ending up at the State game lodge built in 1920, which was considered the second White House during the summer and Calvin Coolidge’s presidency.  Lodging:  State Game Lodge.

  • June 12th, Wednesday – 49 miles 4,292’ - Custer State Park to Custer via the Wildlife Game Route. Today we have the opportunity to once again see many types of wildlife and visit Wind Cave National Park. Lodging: Holiday Inn Express.

  • June 13th, Thursday – Rest Day in Custer – For those who like to hike, there is an optional short hike up Harney Peak (7,244’) which is the highest peak east of the Rockies and west of the Pyrenees.

  • June 14th, Friday – 39 miles 1,914’ – Custer to New Castle, WY – We will visit Jewel Cave Natural Monument, which has one of the longest caves in the world and a hand dug oil well. Lodging: Fountain Inn.

  • June 15th, Saturday – 48 miles 2,635’ - New Castle to Sundance, WY. - Sundance is where Harry Longabaugh (AKA the Sundance Kid) was jailed. Lodging: Best Western.

  • June 16th, Sunday – 38 miles 1,810’ – Sundance to Hulett, WY - Today we ride along the Belle Fourche River where we will visit Devils Tower National Monument.  An igneous intrusion rises up 1,267’ above the surrounding terrain. Lodging: Best Western.  

  • June 17th, Monday – 55 miles 2,797’ – Hulett to Spearfish, SD. Lodging:  Holiday Inn. 

  • June 18th, Tuesday – 32 miles 2,772’ - Spearfish to Deadwood, SD –Today we will be riding thru the scenic Spearfish Canyon area where the movie “Dances with Wolves” was filmed.  Deadwood is a town full of history. In 1874, under the command of General George A Custer, a government-sponsored expedition confirmed the presence of gold in the Black Hills. The U.S. government tried to conceal the discovery from the general public in order to honor the 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie, which forever ceded the Black Hills to the Lakota-Sioux. Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane each left their name. Lodging: Deadwood Mountain Grand.

  • June 19th, Wednesday – 47 miles 2,841’ – Deadwood to Hill City, SD – Today we ride the compact dirt Mickelson Trail (road bikes tires 25c and larger should be fine). The trail is an old railroad bed, and was the first rails to trail in South Dakota. Lodging: Holiday Inn Express.

  • June 20th, Thursday – 33 miles 1,807’ – Rest day or optional ride on the Hill City Mickelson Trail to Custer & back. 

  • June 21st , Friday – 35 miles 1,552’ – Hill City to Rapid City - Today we ride past Sheridan Lake on our way back to Rapid City. The last portion of the ride will be on a designated bike trail that takes us to our hotel.  Lodging: Holiday Inn – Farewell Dinner

  • June 22nd, Saturday - Departure after breakfast

The estimated cost for this tour is $2,400 and does not include the BAC registration fee.  Cost includes all lunches (* see note above), two dinners, one pizza night, 12 breakfasts, happy hours each day (* see note above), lodging, navigation aids (cue sheets, gps files and cycling maps) and luggage transfer by van.  Emergency support will be provided if necessary.

Singles are welcome! It is recommended that singles who want a roommate, try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until December 8, 2018 to find a roommate.  If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and credit card fees) or pay the $1,300 single supplement and stay on the ride.  If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The ride leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride.  Single supplement payments will need to be made by check directly to the Ride Leader.

The BAC ride registration fee and credit card fees are not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped.  The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the canceling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the canceling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report is completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the single supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support.  Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles.  All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour.  Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you might have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

To register for this ride, use the sign-up links just above the Ride Description. After preliminary acceptance, you will be moved to the pending list and receive an email requesting you to go back to the BAC site to digitally sign the Release of Liability (ROL), and pay the non-refundable BAC fee ($50) and tour deposit ($1,000) by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. The second payment of $1,400 will be due December 8, 2018.  BAC members with questions may contact the Ride Leader by "clicking" the name at the top of this Ride Description, or by calling John at 503-559-8932.

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Telephone (858) 715-9510

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