This is a section of the Mickelson Trail near Rochford. The trail, the former Burlington Northern Railroad right of way, is ideally suited to family cycling because the maximum grade is only 3 percent and even young children can handle it. The trail is also open to hikers and horseback riders, but not motorized vehicles.
|Distance||11 miles via US 16A, US 16|
|Time Needed:||Hours, days or weeks|
|Best Time To Go:||Open from dawn to dusk only; open all year. Suitable for both extended and day hikes. Camping is not permitted on the trail.|
|Directions:||Follow US 16A and US 16 to Hill City. For a more interesting hike, take Deerfield Road west from Hill City about 5 miles (to Tigerville which isn't marked on any maps) then Cty. 241 north to Mystic area.)|
|Cost:||Trail Pass required and may be obtained at various trail heads or other entry points on the trail.|
|Highlights:||Scenery, Wildlife, Ghost Towns, Rail Artifacts|
Open All Year
Recommended for cyclists and cross-country skiers as well as hikers.
George S. Mickelson Trail, like the Centennial
runs nearly the entire length of the Black Hills.
Following an old
railroad right of way, the trail north of Hill City climbs
up a long
canyon and through two tunnels toward the ghost town of Mystic and the community of Rochford. It then follows a high plateau on
toward Spearfish. South of Hill City it passes near the Crazy Horse Memorial and on toward the town
Because the trail was formerly a rail bed, it's generally flat and smooth, in short, ideal for cycling or horseback riding. Sections of it are even paved. As a hiking trail it is very easy going. The southern portion of the trail tends to be near US Highway 385 and other built-up areas so, for our money, the middle and northern portions are more enjoyable.
Folks with smaller children usually find the trail just right, especially when it passes over old trestles and through tunnels. The trail is closed to all forms of motorized vehicles. The trail has over 100 bridges and four tunnels.
The South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks maintains an extensive web site of the trail at http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/mickelson-trail/
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