This trestle, now part of the Mickelson Trail, is one of may rail structructures still standing in the Black Hills.
a trail in the Black Hills could be a walk through some local
history. Two major trails follow the lines of old railroads where
at least some of the old railroad artifacts can still be found along
George S. Mickelson
Trail is built on the old roadbed of the Grand Island & Wyoming
Railroad (later the Burlington Northern Line) from Edgemont to
It goes through some old rail tunnels and over more than a few high
trestls. At Mystic the Mickelson and Deerfield trail share the roadbed
for a distance from Mystic to Slate Creek.
stay on the
Deerfield trail through Slate Canyon you eventually reach Rapid Creek
starting following the route of the Rapid City, Black Hills and Western
line better known as the Crouch Line, from west of Canyon City
to Silver City.
short line ran from Rapid City to Mystic and was called the crookedest
(or craziest) line in America. SD 44 closely follows the old railroad
bed from Rapid City to US385 north of Pactola. The portion between 385
and Silver City is now mostly under the waters of Pactola Reservoir.
The roadbed west from Silver City follows along Rapid Creek to
Mystic. In the days of the railroad, trains crossed the creek
than 100 times in less than 30 miles. The trail west from Silver City
is now one of the finest hikes in the hills. Flat and level it's ideal
for family outings.
Rail service in the Black Hills reached its height in 1912 when nearly
a dozen railroads
served the region. They included the Chicago & Northwestern
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railway; Chicago, Milwaukee
St. Paul Railroad; Wyoming and Missouri River Railroad; and the Rapid
Black Hills and Western Railroad. Chicago and Northwestern Railway
Northwestern Railway Company entered the Hills at Rapid City
running northwest through Black Hawk, Piedmont, Tilford, Sturgis
and Whitewood to Deadwood. From Deadwood to Lead the road was both
and standard gauge and throughout the mining area narrow gauge
were built to collect the gold ore from the mines.
between Lead and Deadwood was by narrow gauge trains operated with a
fired steam locomotive. Hourly service was maintained during the day
Deadwood and Lead by way of Central City. From Whitewood the line
extended through St. Onge to Belle Fourche to Fruitdale, Nisland and
& Quincy Railway Company's branch to Deadwood leaves the main line
at Edgemont and runs north through Custer, Hill City, Mystic,
and Pluma to Deadwood. From Deadwood to Lead, through Pluma, narrow
trolley cars were operated at 45 minute intervals during the
Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad terminated at Rapid City. The Wyoming
& Missouri River Railroad extended from Belle Fourche
the coal mining town of Alladin, Wyoming, a distance of 20 miles.
The Rapid City, Black Hills and Western Railroad ran from Mystic
where it connects with the Burlington system east through Pactola
to Rapid City where it connects with the Chicago and Northwestern and
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul roads. Passenger service was given with
steam trains and gasoline motor cars.
Another interesting route is the old
Burlington Northern spur from Hill City to Keystone. This line is
active today as the Black Hills Central Rail Road's 1880 Train. It's a
fun ride, and the route is quite scenic.
For more about railroads click HERE.