Black Hills Road Bike Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891

Black Hills Road Bike Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Highlights

We believe the Black Hills bike tour  is a top 5 North American road bike destination tour in South Dakota.

The Black Hill bike tour includes Badlands National Park, Custer State Park, the truly amazing Iron Mountain Road, the Needles Highway and parts of the Mickelson Trails. The traffic on this tour is surprisingly light and the roads are small, twisty and interesting. While most of the routes are on paved surfaces, there are sections of smooth gravel on the Mickelson Trail that can ridden with a road bike.

National Trust for Historic Preservation: The Black Hills of South Dakota

Badlands National Park

Crazy Horse Memorial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Testimonials

Read what previous guests on our Black Hills Road Bike Tour have been saying…

I would like to thank you for another fantastic cycling experience. Excellent guides – DeAnne and David are the best! Great food and accommodations and of course spectacular scenery! – Michael

Just writing to say thanks for a wonderful tour of SD. It was a tremendous experience and it was really good to get away for a week. DeAnne and Dave – fantastic guides! Friendly, generous, knowledgeable, sincere. Five star rating all the way! The design of the tour – great. All the riding was really good. I enjoyed the first and last days the most. The Badlands were spectacular and the descent from Mt. Rushmore was, as advertised, some of the most beautiful riding I may ever get to do. – Jason

We loved the SD tour. Dave and Bryce were awesome. Routes and sites were spectacular. Hotels and meals were very good as well. Thanks for a great tour! – Mary

I recently finished the Black Hills ride with Wylie and David as my guides. I had very high expectations for this trip, as it was my first fully charted trip with any company. I want you to know your charter exceeded my every expectation! Wylie was a delight to ride with, and David was an efficient organizer, and both were totally engaged hosts! I look forward to another ride. – Russell

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2024 Tour Dates

Note: This tour meets on Saturday and then runs from Sunday to Friday.

  • August 18 to 23, 2024 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!

2025 Tour Dates

Note: This tour meets on Saturday and then runs from Sunday to Friday.

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 6-Days Cycling/6-Nights Lodging

Meeting & Ending Town: Rapid City, South Dakota (Rapid City Regional Airport – RAP). The tour meets in Rapid City mid-afternoon on Day 0 (Saturday) for a shuttle to our Night 0 lodging in Wall which is included in the tour cost.

Post Tour Logistics: On Day 6 (the tour’s final day), clients can fly out of Rapid City on flights from 5pm onward.

Total Miles: 275 to 350 miles (additional mileage options available)

Mileage Range: 34 to 76 miles

Ability Level: Upper Intermediate (3) to Advanced (3/4)

Tour Cost: $3,345 per person with shared accommodations. Add $495 per person to this Tour Cost for a private room each night of the tour (6-Nights).

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: 6-Days guide service, 6-Nights lodging, all meals (EXCEPT for dinner on Day 0), entrance fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, in-tour shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental, and massage (if available) are additional.

Non-Riding Spouses & Partners on Tour: If a non-riding spouse or partner would like to join you on tour and they have their own transportation, they can stay in your room for the cost of the tour's single room supplement. Please note that non-riders cannot check into hotels prior to guide arrival as the guides need to manage the check-in process. Checking in a large group can be challenging and take longer than normal, so non-riders need to hang back and be patient. Non-riding spouses and partners are welcome to join the Lizard Head meal plan which includes breakfasts and dinners for $75 per day. Note: Lunches are not included for non-riders driving their own vehicles due to the inherent variability of both lunch timing and locations. It is best for non-riders to plan to explore each day.

Lodging for 6 Nights: (subject to change)

  • Night 0: Frontier Cabins or Best Western, Wall, SD (elevation 2,825′)
  • Night 1: Nemo Guest Ranch or Nemo Schoolhouse, Nemo, SD (elevation 4,615′)
  • Night 2: Spearfish Canyon Lodge, Lead, SD (elevation 4,990′)
  • Night 3: Town Hall Inn, Lead, SD (elevation 4,995′)
  • Nights 4 & 5: Sylvan Lake Lodge, Custer, SD (elevation 5,080′) or Rock Crest Lodge & Cabins, Custer, SD (elevation 5,315′)

Meeting Hotel and Ending Hotel reservations and costs are NOT included unless specified otherwise. Guests are on-their-own to make reservations at the Meeting Hotel or Ending Hotel, or other nearby hotels.

Road Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent Scott Bikes. The Scott Addict 10 Disc was designed from the ground up with those longer days in mind. With geometry that is less focused on racing and more on enduring, the Addict 10 will be your go to when you’re looking to put the miles in.

The Scott Addict 10 Disc features: Carbon Frame and Fork, Shimano Ultegra 2x11 Drivetrain, 34x32 Compact Gearing, 30mm Tires, and Hydraulic Disc Brakes. Approx. Weight: 16.89 lbs / 7.66 kg (without pedals)

Learn more about our Rental Bikes and Equipment

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing. Please note that E-Bikes are not available for certain tours including those that involve camping. Please contact us for more information before registering for a tour. NOTE: E-Bikes are great, but our tours are designed to be ridden without motorized assistance. We offer "bumps" along the road so that everyone can stay together.

Tandems and Recumbents: Lizard Head Cycling Guides happily accommodates both tandem and recumbent bikes on our tours.

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at or call us at 970.728.5891

Meals On Tour

Lizard Head Cycling Guides provides most meals on all tours (unless otherwise noted) including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Guides will prepare a daily lunch en route for nearly every tour, both road and off-road, as well as provide nutritious snacks at periodic aid stations during the day.

Most of our road tours utilize local restaurants for all meals and occasionally guides may prepare a dinner or two during a tour. Due to the nature of being "off the grid", most of our off-road tours feature guide prepared meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. FUN NOTE: When guides prepare a meal in camp and the guests sit around and watch, this is called "Guide TV". :)

We also pride ourselves on being able to cater to specific dietary requests and needs, so rest assured that you will be able to get the nutrition that works best for you during your tour. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan, or a someone who loves it all – we will keep you well fed during the tour!

Lunches: Lizard Head Cycling Guides prepares healthy lunches to keep you going. We will serve you fresh organic fruits and veggies, salads, hummus, sandwich fixings, nuts, gourmet cheeses and, of course, plenty of salty/sweet snacks such as chips and cookies.

Dinners: On our road tours, Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients and guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu including: appetizer, salad, entrée, and of course, dessert... yum! :) Also, while on tour if a guest wants to dine early before the group and go to bed, this is fine. We understand that on some days sleep is the most important post-ride element.

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Rapid City

Guests drive to Rapid City, South Dakota or fly into Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP), arriving no later than early afternoon. From the meeting hotel near the airport a 3:00 p.m. shuttle will take guests from the airport to Wall, South Dakota.

In Wall we check into our accommodations and the group is then free to explore famous Wall Drug this first evening. Guests are on their own for dinner on this pre tour night. Before bed, be sure to check out the dark night sky!

Day 1: Badlands National Park
Morning: 38-miles with up to 1,600 feet of climbing
Afternoon: 22 miles with up to 2,215 feet of climbing

Our first day of riding is through Badlands National Park and we will start just before dawn so we can catch the beautiful and soft early morning light on the various formations within the park. Guides will prepare a dawn breakfast feast to get you energized for the day ahead.

We ride from our hotel heading due south from Wall and soon enter Badlands National Park and make a stop at Pinnacles Overlook to enjoy the increasing sunlight. We then continue further into the park with quick stops at Yellow Mounds Overlook, Conata Basin Overlook and several additional overlooks as we progress through the park. This is a leisurely ride and we encourage you to take your time to enjoy the magnificent scenery. Eventually, we end at the Big Badlands Overlook where you can hike along the trails taking in the scenery while guides prepare a hearty lunch.

After lunch in the afternoon we shuttle to Nemo, South Dakota with an option to ride from the south western reaches of Rapid City, South Dakota to Nemo for an additional 22-miles.

NOTE: The short sections of the Mickelson Trail are officially a self guided section.

Morning Elevation Profile: 38 mi +1600 ft / -1935 ft

Afternoon Elevation Profile: 22 mi +2215 ft / -955 ft

Day 2: Nemo to Spearfish Canyon Lodge
40-miles with up to 3,575 feet of climbing

We depart Nemo and head into the heart of the Black Hills. About 15 miles in we hit some smooth gravel roads that will take us around Custer Peak with an option to ride to the peak. After descending Custer Peak we continue southwest to hook up with a section of the Mickelson Trail. Now heading northwest we continue on the Mickelson Trail for a few miles and then take on more smooth gravel and then onto pavement for the final miles to our destination of Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

NOTE: The short sections of the Mickelson Trail are officially a self guided section.

Elevation Profile: 40 mi +3575 ft / -3215 ft

Day 3: Spearfish Canyon National Scenic Byway
45 miles with up to 2,845 feet of climbing
Options of 29 or 58-mile routes

Today offers three route options for our ride ride down the immensely beautiful Spearfish Canyon National Scenic Byway and then to Lead, South Dakota. The standard route of 45-miles descends down Spearfish Canyon to Spearfish, South Dakota and then returns along the same route to end in Lead after a short jaunt on the Mickelson Trail that includes around 10-miles of smooth gravel riding. A shorter clockwise route of 29-miles offers 14-miles of smooth gravel riding and a longer counter-clockwise E.F.I. route of 58-miles offers 36-miles of smooth gravel riding. All of these routes end in Lead, South Dakota and the route taken will be based on the group consensus.

NOTE: The short sections of the Mickelson Trail are officially a self guided section.

Standard Elevation Profile: 45 mi +2845 ft / -2615 ft

Shorter Distance Elevation Profile: 29 mi +2540 ft / -2310 ft

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 58 mi +4575 ft / -4340 ft

Day 4: Lead to Sylvan Lake 
54-miles with up to 4,100 feet of climbing

This is a highlight ride of the tour. The route today is somewhat deceptive in that within its 54-miles there is over 4,000 feet of climbing, so we will pace ourselves accordingly. Starting from Lead we head south and continue into the Black Hills along the Mickelson Trail for most of the day, one of the first rails-to-trails built in the US and named after George S. Mickelson, the South Dakota governor who helped spearhead the project.

We continue on the Mickelson Trail through the tiny unincorporated community of Rochford down to the small town of Hill City from which we embark on our final miles of riding to end at Sylvan Lake and our accommodations at the Sylvan Lake Lodge for the next two nights. Make certain to go for a wild swim at this fabulous lake as your summer will not be complete without it! The lake and surrounding rocky terrain are otherworldly and the 2007 movie ‘National Treasure: Book of Secrets’ was filmed here. Your not-to-be-missed refreshing post-ride swim in the cool mountain lake and then a sunset stroll around the rock formations are a must!

NOTE: The short sections of the Mickelson Trail are officially a self guided section.

Elevation Profile: 54 mi +4100 ft / -3060 ft

Day 5: The Needles Highway and Wildlife Loop Road
Standard Route: 48-miles with up to 3,080 feet of climbing

After breakfast, we ride another highlight of this tour, the twisty Needles Highway, down from Sylvan Lake through the wildly fun Needles Eye Tunnel – you simply will not believe this road! It is marvelously narrow and twisty road with spires of rocks (the Needles).

Next up is Custer State Park, South Dakota’s first and largest state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. This segment in the park is along Wildlife Loop Road that travels through 18-miles of open grasslands and pine-speckled hills where you are likely to see bison, pronghorn, whitetail and mule deer, elk, coyotes, burros, prairie dogs, eagles, hawks, and a variety of other birds.

Following lunch we turn north back towards Sylvan Lake Lodge Along the way we stop in Custer, SD at the Purple Pie Palace for pie and ice cream.

Elevation Profile: 76 mi +6100 ft / -6100 ft

Day 6: Crazy Horse Memorial, Mount Rushmore and the Iron Mountain Road
48-miles with up to 3,735 feet of climbing

On this last day we start early from Sylvan Lake Lodge and proceed towards the Crazy Horse Memorial, a sculpture being carved out of Thunderhead Mountain on land considered sacred by some Oglala Lakota. We will take an hour touring the memorial’s museum.  Afterwards, once back on the bike, we continue in a clockwise fashion towards Mount Rushmore National Memorial. After a late morning tour at Mount Rushmore, guides will prepare the final lunch feast of our tour.

Departing Mount Rushmore we ride our last 18-miles on another amazing ribbon of road – Iron Mountain Road – with multiple loops, twisties, tunnels, and bridges. These roads are why the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally is held each year in the Black Hills as they are simply amazing! From a nauturlist perspective, the Iron Mountain Road is among the most beautifully designed roads in North America. Great care went into preserving the rare vegetation along this road. Notice that each of the 11 small one lane tunnels offers a view of Rushmore when exiting.

The tour ends at the east entrance to Custer State Park at the Bison Viewing Area. From here we load bikes and take a short shuttle back to Rapid City to end the tour. Well Done!

NOTE: The short sections of the Mickelson Trail are officially a self guided section.

Elevation Profile: 48 mi +3735 ft / -6200 ft

Black Hills Road Bike Tour: Logistics & FAQs

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link:

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link:

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