On Friday, September 19, the Mickelson Trail Trek was held in Edgemont.
Bikers from all over spent the night before in Edgemont. Buses took the participants to Custer early the next morning. They rode their bicycles from Custer to Edgemont.
The Chamber of Commerce served ice cream. The Historical Society served pie as a fund raiser.
One energetic participant said when asked about the wind “It could have been better. I rode in 35 miles an hour winds at home recently and that was worse.”
Over 600 participants were served before the food ran out. A great time was had by all.
Below is a short history of the Mickelson Trail:
The Mickelson Trail was originally the Burlington Northern rail line that took trains from Edgemont to Deadwood, directly through the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. The line was abandoned in 1983.
A group of outdoor enthusiasts recognized the trail’s potential, and with support from then-Governor George S. Mickelson, it became the state’s first rails to trails project. The first six miles of the trail were dedicated in 1991.
After many years of hard work, and collaboration between the US Forest Service, South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, the National Guard, the South Dakota Department of Transportation, the South Dakota Department of Corrections, and the local Friends of the Mickelson Trail, the trail was completed in 1998.
The trail is 109 miles long and contains more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four rock tunnels. The trail surface is primarily crushed limestone and gravel.
There are 14 trailheads which all offer parking, self-sale trail pass stations, vault toilets and tables.
For the most part, the grades of the trail do not exceed four percent, but parts of the trail are considered strenuous. Dumont is the highest point and the 19 mile stretch from Deadwood to Dumont is the longest incline.