Author Topic: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MT to Mt. Rushmore SD?  (Read 5123 times)

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Offline HealthyKnees

Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MT to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« on: June 07, 2017, 10:47:48 pm »
Hello Tourists!
On 6/18/17, my husband and I are starting our "Ride C2C" (coast to coast, corner to corner) from Bellingham, WA to Key West, FL.  We both work, so we will approach this route in 4-week chunks:  this summer we will start in Bellingham and ride east as far as we get, then return next summer to where we left off for another 4-week segment, and so on every summer until we dip our tires in the Atlantic in Key West.

I have this strange desire to visit Mt. Rushmore as part of our trip.  We are following the Adventure Cycle Northern Tier route (they really should start that in Bellingham, not Anacortes - just sayin') through to the east end of the "Going to the Sun" highway at Glacier National Park, MO.  Ultimately we want to see Mt. Rushmore and the Mickelson Trail or Centennial Trail in the Black Hills sounds cool if either will fit in.  Does anyone have suggestions for a route?  Do we stay on the Northern Tier route and head south once we hit ND?  Or do we go south right away and stay in Montana, or drop south all the way to Yellowstone National Park and then head east (best route?) in Wyoming?  We'd love your advice.

We are riding fully loaded for cooking and camping and plan to start with 50 miles per day.  We think we can go 70 - but that will be up to my very arthritic knees and how multiple days of rides treat me.  We've cycle toured before (spent 10 months around the world in 1990 - plus a few smaller tours since), so we know what we are getting into, we're just a little older (55).  We are not opposed to free camping or motels when needed.  We will be equipped to ride road or gravel, even trails if needed. 

Cheers!  Thanks for any advice you can give. ~Robin R

« Last Edit: August 08, 2017, 02:11:00 pm by CMajernik »

Offline jamawani

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2017, 02:29:44 am »
Mount Rushmore? Mount Rushmore??

There is an excellent, spectacularly scenic route from the east side to Glacier to the Black Hills.
Or a boring, flat, mind-numbing one. Which would you prefer?

The best route generally follows US 89 south from Glacier to Yellowstone NP - then across northern Wyoming.
There is some serious climbing and it's not a straight diagonal line, but . . .

The other route it to continue into North Dakota, then south on US 85 or similar highway. Meh.

Here is a journal from a trip I did a while back from Yellowstone up to Glacier via US 89:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=1168&v=sM
Work Back from Day 54.

Route from Yellowstone to Rushmore
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/5194099

And journal from Buffalo to the Black Hills:
https://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?o=1mr&doc_id=17976&v=UU
Start at Day 27

<<<>>>

Mount Rushmore is one of the busiest tourist traps in America.
The parking lots are mobbed and the crowds are massive.
Just sayin' - - ya know.

Best - J

Pic - Meadows in the Bighorn Mountains


indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2017, 06:39:04 am »
Yeah. Mt. Rushmore was underwhelming and mobbed. This photo from my 2014 tour in the Black Hills doesn't capture the true nature of the crowds:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/19294223425/in/album-72157655263744881/

I almost got whacked in the face by a couple of selfie sticks.

If you find yourself in Spearfish, SD, where there is a fabulous municipal campground (but it's not free), Spearfish Canyon is a great ride. U.S. 14 Alt. from Spearfish to Savoy then continue on to Cheyenne Crossing. Continue north on U.S. 14 Alt./U.S. 85 to N. Rochford Rd., where you make a right then take the second left onto Brownsville Rd. to the Engelwood trail head of the Mickelson Trail to Hill City. That section is remote with some harder than you might imagine climbs for a rail trail. Besides the water cistern at the trail shelter in Rochford, there are no services until you hit Hill City other than a bar/restaurant in Rochford. Crooked Creek Campground just south of the center of Hill City is right along the trail, but it's not free. From there, you can tale U.S. 385/16 to SD 244, which will take you right to Mt. Rushmore and then to Keystone, a horribly tack tourist town with things like fake gun fights. 

BTW...Not sure the Centennial Trail is completely rideable.

Online John Nelson

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2017, 11:25:46 am »
I understand your desire to go to Mt Rushmore. Sure, there will be lots of people, but it's just one of those things you have to do once in your life. So do it!

P.S. If you want something even more underwhelming, go to Crazy Horse. But you might as well do that too while you're in the area. Everybody else already has.

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2017, 01:16:08 pm »
BTW...The route linked to above is close to what I used to get between Spearfish and Hill City. Also, I spent a couple nights in that area and did a loop day ride to Mt. Rushmore. Rode Hill City-Keystone Rd. to Keystone from the service entrance of the KOA near Hill City. I also rode it from the KOA the next day when I headed back to Rapid City. That road is REALLY nice. I think I saw one or two cars each time.  Much less traffic than SD 244, which I took to get back to the KOA (and no real hills to speak of, unlike SD 244).

Leave a while before the tourist train between Hill City and Keystone and stop along the way for a photo op. Much of the rail line crisscrosses the road, just don't try to beat the train to the crossings.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/19268171056/in/album-72157655263744881/

When you get to Keystone you will have a stiff but relatively short climb up to the monument. If you go around the side of the monument on SD 244 you get to see the profile view:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/19288240682/in/album-72157655263744881/


Offline HealthyKnees

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2017, 08:28:52 pm »
Oh my gosh, this is awesome information!  I am ready to be underwhelmed at Mt. Rushmore...and now maybe even Crazy Horse. It's just something I have to do.

As for the route...we are not afraid of hills, so I think we'll skip the "meh" route and go for spectacularly scenic instead. I'm going to check all of the offered options out tonight - thanks everyone for the quick responses!
Robin ~

Offline HealthyKnees

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2017, 11:52:20 pm »
Thanks again - you made it really easy for us and we will follow both the routes suggested from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone, then through Wyoming to Black Hills to catch the Mickelson trail.  Crowds or not, Mt Rushmore, here we come!

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2017, 07:31:15 am »
You can see Crazy Horse from the Mickelson Trail south of Hill City, but it's out of the way if you are heading to Mt. Rushmore. I recommend taking the trail up the hill to see Crazy Horse and then ride back down to the Hill City area and head for Rushmore. It's not that far to Crazy Horse.

From the trail in 2014:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/105349603@N05/19287570942/in/album-72157655263744881/

BTW...Plows have reached Logan Pass from the west side in Glacier. I plan to arrive at the park on 6/27 and ride up and back down the west side the next day. 
« Last Edit: June 09, 2017, 07:34:20 am by indyfabz »

Offline HealthyKnees

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2017, 09:13:27 pm »
Why not?  That sounds like a worthwhile detour.  We'll add Crazy Horse to the list of American icons to visit en route.  It will be cool to see any differences from your photos.
Thanks!
~Robin R

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2017, 08:29:12 pm »
It's up hill from Hill City to Crazy Horse. I didn't go inside because I had to make to the end of the trail in Edgemont that day. If you want to go in, at the top of the hill you will pass under the road that leads to the monument. Can't miss it. It's a short, concrete-lined tunnel. You can "bushwhack" off the trail to get to the access road.

Offline litespeed

Re: Best route from Going to Sun Hwy MO to Mt. Rushmore SD?
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2017, 07:54:00 pm »
I was staying at the KOA in Hill City when a nearby family invited me to go to the evening light show/speech at Mt. Rushmore. It was a beautiful show and a fine speech - one of the highlights of my travels. I also stopped by it during the day. It's something everyone should see at least once.

I also visited the Crazy Horse Monument. Also quite impressive. Lots to see in the Rapid City area.

I was running 28mm Continental tires at the time. I made out all right on the Mickelson Trail but recommend something larger like the 35mm Schwalbe Marathon Supremes I use now.