Author Topic: Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, to Missouri River Lewis & Clark Trail (to south)  (Read 295 times)

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Offline HealthyKnees

Hello Cyclists!
Thanks for all your good advice on the first leg of our Coast to Coast journey.  My husband and I have 3-4 weeks each summer to ride, picking up where (or there abouts) we left off the previous year.  We started our Bellingham, WA to Key West, FL trip last summer and stopped in Great Falls Montana (because of crazy heat 95-105 degrees).  It was a terrific ride.  We are fully self supported.

Next summer, we will start in Jackson, WY instead of Great Falls (because Great Falls sucked and we want to see the Tetons), ride to Yellowstone and east across WY to Mt. Rushmore (I know, I know, but its on my list).  We have a nice route to do this (thanks to you all).

Where I need help is getting across South Dakota from Mt. Rushmore, thru the Badlands, to get to the Missouri River where we will pick up the Lewis & Clark route, stopping sometime when we reach Iowa.  Any suggestions?

I am grateful for your help.  Thank you!
Robin

PS - I just had my knee replaced and am anxious to see how I do with my "new equipment" next summer.


Offline jamawani

Re: Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, to Missouri River Lewis & Clark Trail (to south)
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 11:20:54 pm »
Too bad, because the ride from Great Falls to Jackson mostly via US 89 is one of the nicest out there.

Opposite direction trip -
https://www.cycleblaze.com/journals/wna2005/day-45-hoback-river-to-jenny-lake/

Offline HealthyKnees

Re: Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, to Missouri River Lewis & Clark Trail (to south)
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2017, 10:42:37 am »
I'm sure that section is beautiful - and your pictures show it.  We just have to choose where to start again and we'd rather start in Jackson than in Great Falls.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, to Missouri River Lewis & Clark Trail (to south)
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2017, 06:24:46 pm »
Not many paved roads in SD.  You can look at the state's Bicycle Map and/or Traffic Count maps to help you decide.

The most common route is the direct route which heads east from Rapid City on SD-14 and basically stay parallel to the interstate until you get to I-90 Exit 90 where you then ride on the interstate (legal in SD) to Wall.  Relatively, not much traffic on the interstate and you have a full-width shoulder.  At Wall, head south into the Badlands on SD-240 toward Interior.  At Cedar Pass, head north toward the interstate and go east on SD-248 (basically parallels the interstate) until SD-47 east of Reliance.  Here get on the interstate again and exit into Oacoma where you take SD-16/Business I-90 into Champlain where you join up with the L&C route.  More traffic & services, less scenic.

Another option is to start out same way but at Murdo, SD, head south on US-83 to Valentine, NE and jump on either the Cowboy Trail (the country's longest UNPAVED rail trail) or US-20 which basically parallels it to Norfolk, then continue east to Onawa, IA & the L&C route.  More rural, less traffic and services.

Whatever you choose, enjoy the ride! John
Happy trails and may the wind be at your back!
John

Offline jamawani

Re: Mt. Rushmore, Badlands, to Missouri River Lewis & Clark Trail (to south)
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2017, 10:31:41 pm »
I have lived in Wyoming for 27 years and biked throughout -
probably every paved mile and many unpaved.

What time of yer are you planning to do this?
Late June/early July is peak wildflower season in the high country - not too brutal yet in the Plains.
(Of course, temperature-wise, riding east-to-west works better.)

If you start in Jackson and are headed towards South Dakota, you have a couple of options.
You can either head north into Yellowstone and east via US 14/16 thru the stunning Wapiti Valley.
Or you can take US 26 over Togwatee Pass to Riverton then head north thru the Wind River Canyon.

With either of these options, you will cross the Bighorn Mountains - nothing to sneeze at.
US 14A has a brutal, death-defying climb - wouldn't be my 1st choice.
US 14 heads up thru Shell Canyon - quite lovely - then down into Dayton on crazy switchbacks.
US 16 heads up thru the magnificent Tensleep Canyon and has a more gradual descent to Buffalo.

(You can skip the Bighorns staying on US 26 to Casper - boring, hot, lots of traffic.)

US 14 and US 16 meet at Ucross and continue east to GIllette - then WYO 51 runs parallel to I-90.
At Moorcroft you can either take US 16 directly to the Black Hills - kinda meh, but with O.K. shoulders.
Or you can take US 14, WYO 24 to Devils Tower - a few challenging hills - but worth it.

<<<>>>

I'll talk about South Dakota and Nebraska later.

Photo - Bighorn Meadows in Late June