10 Best Mountain Biking Trails in South Dakota

The beautiful scenery of South Dakota makes it a great destination for recreational activities with other sight-seeing events. Biking activity in South Dakota is becoming popular, and both newbie and expert bikers seek the experience associated with biking in one of America’s varied land terrain.

Besides, South Dakota’s mountains provide one of the best ascents and descents with varied, challenging levels that will improve both new and professional bikers’ skills. The Black Hills of South Dakota alone has many biking features to add to the thrills for many bikers; some of these features include logged paths, stony graded rail paths, and close to 6,000 miles of several fire trails. 

If you are visiting South Dakota and wondering where exactly to enjoy your biking recreation, we bring you the best 10 mountain biking trails in the mountainous and extended landscape of this region.

1. Victoria Lake Lollipop Mountain Biking Trail

Victoria Lake Lollipop - Chris Haas
© Chris Haas

The Victoria Lake Lollipop Mountain Biking Trail’s main feature is its enduring challenging climb towards the Black Hills pine forest’s ascents. Bikers of all levels can use this biking trail since it offers both technical challenge and flow-through smooth ride but be prepared to first pedal through upward woodlands. 

Nearly all bikers like the rewarding Big Climb path, which provides a way by which they can relax after the exhaustive climb. You can either pass around the less challenging trail or end back where you started. You can also use the more challenging Extra Credit Connector, which offers you varied levels of demanding rides as you eventually connect to the bigger loop of Victoria Lake.

You can always start from the connector trail of the parking area. This trail uses a mixture of single and double track systems; bikers are sure to encounter steep ascents and descents. The head of the loop is an expanded forest area, and you can use this trail in both clockwise and anticlockwise directions.

2. Buzzards Roost Mountain Biking Trail

Buzzards Roost Mountain Biking Trail - Black Hills Hiking, Biking and More
© Black Hills Hiking, Biking and More

Bikers can enjoy the picturesque view of one of the best naturally endowed vegetative trails in South Dakota when they visit the Buzzards Roost Mountain Biking trail. You can enjoy the view of the Black Hills National Forest from the most elevated point of the Buzzard Roost while the various difficulty levels persuade you to improve your riding skill. 

Apart from the 360 degrees view of the Buzzard Roost’s rocky limestone summit, bikers can enjoy the glamor of very sharp ascents and descents. One of the Buzzard Roost trail’s major features is its bottom trail, which is rock-filled and becomes smoother as you ride on the ascents. The Green trail specifically challenges your pedaling skill up the Buzzard Roost’s summit, but you will soon be rewarded by the descent’s smooth ride down the Jack via the North Buzzard path.

You should know that the North Buzzard paths are steep, though technically mild; their steep nature ensures that you control your physical agility while riding. This trail system boasts of both single and double tracks of approximately 10 miles in length. Some of its trails include Buzzards Loop, Sun Down, Pretty, Vulture Stumpy, South Rim, and Sun Up. 

3. Centennial Mountain Biking Trail

Centennial Mountain Biking Trail - Western Spirit Cycling
© Western Spirit Cycling

The Centennial Mountain Biking Trail is one of the oldest bike trails in South Dakota and was built to celebrate South Dakota’s statehood in 1989. The over 100 miles trail ends outside Hot Springs in the Wind Cave National Park and passes through the Bear Brutte prairies and the Black Hills.

Most bikers’ thrilling experience is the view of flora and wildlife after crossing paths with reservoirs and lakes of mountain streams. You may want to take a minute to stop through your riding to see animals like bison, mountain goats, deer, turkey, elk, etc. You can always purchase the trail map at nearby parks or local government agencies.

Besides the view of the Centennial Trail’s cultural and natural resources, there are three trailheads of more than 20 miles which make you access the Custer State Park portion of the trail. You can enjoy the company of horse riders on this trail while observing the several trail marks along your journey. Some of the trail marks you will see are tree-pinned grey diamonds and upright posts of brown fiber glasses.

You will experience challenging steep climbing and some rocky garden portion, especially when you start from Elk Creek. This single-track trail system allows you to ride through mind-boggling contour riding through the valleys and ridges of Black Hills, here you will get a view of South Dakota’s plains and granite outcrops. 

You will also experience sharp descents into the Bulldog Gulch bottom via few switchbacks as you come from the Three Sisters pathway. You will enjoy the speedy flow-through experience of this trail and its dips into the woods and swoop back towards its steep descents. The Bulldog Gulch loop will test your biking endurance because you will need to ascend its rough climbing path until you reach its top. 

Your reward is the flow-through descent that allows you to dive through the flora of prairies grasses and pasque flowers with exciting dips, swoop back, and fast riding while you exit via the Alkali Creek.

4. Storm Mountain Biking Trail

Storm Mountain Biking Trail - Travel South Dakota
© Travel South Dakota

Located in the southwest of Rapid City, the Storm Mountain Trail is considered one of the best trails in South Dakota, offering great difficulty levels with its various steep ascents and descents. The Storm Mountain Trail is just a 30-minute drive from Mount Rushmore. The Storm Mountain is a challenging single-track rail with a great balance of uphill and downhill.

The over 11 miles trail has great scenic views as you ride along. The trail uses a single track that challenges bikers’ prowess by drop-off jumps and steep descents. The trail goes all out around the pine forest and comes back to the starting path.

5. Alkali Creek Mountain Biking Trail

Alkali Creek Mountain Biking Trail - Enjoy the Black Hills
© Enjoy the Black Hills

Alkali Creek trail comprises numerous trail networks that extend more than 19 miles in length and offer various difficulty levels for both new and professional riders. Bikers can enjoy the view of nature’s very best flora while riding through the woody trees and prairie. The incredible sight-seeing moment is when you get to see the vast land of Bear Brutte and its Park, which is about 12 miles from your point of view. 

One of the most used trails here is the Grind, which tests bikers’ competency level through its uneven and steep paths that wind into the Bulldog trail. The Bulldog trail offers more than 3 miles of technical ride with bikers using the Alkali Creek trailhead as both the starting and ending point. Along your way, you will see the woodland’s green vegetation, blathering stream, and distinct type of natural rock formation not seen anywhere else.

6. George S. Mickelson Biking Trail

George S. Mickelson Biking Trail - Black Hills
© Black Hills

The George S. Michelson Biking Trail is one of the most used South Dakota trails, especially during the fall season. Its flora path gives one of the best exploration views during the autumn, and bikers are encouraged to use this trail before winter comes. 

The ending of this trail is at Hill City and Custer after going through Edgemont and Deadwood. The over 100 miles trail slithers through the Black Hills, allowing bikers to bask in the euphoria of nature’s very best view of pine forests and picturesque spruce.

The best point of steep biking is the paths leading from Deadwood to Dumont, while some of these paths consist of mellow grades that allow new riders to make their way through the trail’s flora easily. Dumont is a high point in this path, and here, riders can take a moment to exhale and observe the view of the surrounding woodlands when tired. Michelson features about 15 trailheads, including Lead, Kirk, Deadwood, Dumont, Sugarloaf, Rochford, and Mystic.

7. The Bone Collector Mountain Biking Trail

The Bone Collector Mountain Biking Trail - Aaron Stoneberger
© Aaron Stoneberger

One notable feature of the Bine Collector Mountain Biking Trail is its varied riding level which will fit every biker, whether starters, intermediate or professional. Bikers are mainly elated to bike in this trail because of its scary name. Its scariness is not in the name alone but some other scary features that will train newbie and intermediate bikers. These features include abrupt drop-off jumps, log rides, steep and rocky paths.

Fearful new bikers can use the less lengthy and smooth ride-around paths, which features little riding challenges. Expert riders can bask in the ecstasy of the high drop-off jump, rocky gardens, and steep descents that this trail has to offer. The fun and thrilling moment for most riders is the long log ride which is strength-requiring, the long upward climb test the pedaling ability of riders up steep ascents. 

The Bone Collector trail primarily uses the single-track trail system, and riders can enjoy views of ponds, bone-tacked trees which start the Bone Collector, and ride-through plain trail paths suitable for beginner and intermediate riders. 

8. Deerfield Lake Loop Trail

Deerfield Lake Loop Trail - Chris Ondrovich
© Chris Ondrovich

If you are particularly keen on starting as a biker, you can try out the Deerfield Lake Loop Trail located within the Black Hills National Forest. The trail lies on 435 acres of land and provides bikers with one of the smoothest rides along its 10 miles length. 

You can use any of its four trailheads (North Shore, Custer Trail, Gold Run, and Hilltop trailheads) to begin your training experience. Expert bikers who feel a little overwhelmed by numerous challenges can also use this trail to experience the deep heritage of the Black Hill National Forest. Riders should beware of other users of the trail as they may meet hikers and horse riders.

As you ride, you will see the scenery of Deerfield Lake itself and probably the fishermen and swimmers enjoying their recreational moment. You can start biking from the North Shore trailhead and enjoy the amazing animals as they journey with you along the woods. You will have the opportunity to see animals like ducks and coyotes.

Be careful you don’t force through the descents as its paths are steep compared with most other trails. The challenge you will experience here is the rocky trail paths which will cause you to pedal with full strength. You can always detour if the challenge is too much, especially if you are a newbie biker. You will almost see herds of cattle as you bike through, while the north and southwest parts of the trail have beautiful stream scenery. 

9. LaFramboise Island Nature Area Trail

LaFramboise Island Nature Area Trail - Capital Journal
© Capital Journal

Most bikers like to use the LaFramboise Island Nature Area because of its scenic view of expanse wilderness and wildlife. One vital benefit of this trail for calm and quiet riders is that it is fun away from Pierre’s bustling and busy activities. Some riders often resort here to experience the delight that accompanies riding through one of South Dakota’s sandy terrains.

Besides the challenging packed sand paths, riders will experience the sudden presence of animals as they ride along. It would be best if you were careful of the birds while passing through the woody flora because they may cause obstacles and sudden freight. Still, enjoy your view of nature’s beauty as you ride on one of the most animal-friendly trails.

10. Little Spearfish Trail

Little-Spearfish-Trail---Black-Hills-Hiking,-Biking,-and-More
© Black Hills Hiking, Biking, and More

The Little Spearfish Trail is another Mountain Biking Trail on our list that is good for newbie bikers because most of its path is smooth and easy to ride. Sight-seeing features here include the waterfall and flora pine forest, which is linked by an old bridge. The trail’s entire length is about 6 miles, and bikers can start at the south trailhead.

It is not uncommon to meet hikers along the way because this trail provides them with a good hiking environment. You can use the Timon Campground for parking while you enjoy great flow-through descents of this single-track trail system. When you follow the anticlockwise direction, you will get into a meadow then into the wood to enjoy the very best of nature’s preserve. 

You can follow the woody ascent to an extensive drop off on a flat path very quickly and then ascend towards the meadows. After this, you ride through the only double track trail within this single-track trail system into one more ascent before you eventually ride through to the trailhead.

Conclusion

South Dakota offers several kinds of biking activities with nature’s unique, beautiful scenery, which includes the view of forests and wildlife. You will enjoy the peace and serenity of biking away from the daily bustling city life. You can take time out to South Dakota whenever you decide to have a few days of life-away-from-home activity.