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

Black Hills Road & Gravel Bike Tour

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

The local experts at Lizard Head Cycling Guides have a created a challenging 6-day road and gravel tour in Badlands National Park, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Custer State Park, and Wind Cave National Park.

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

Black Hills Road & Gravel Bike Tour: Highlights

Badlands National Park

Crazy Horse Memorial

Mount Rushmore National Memorial

Black Hills Road & Gravel 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.

2022 Tour Dates

This tour runs from Saturday to Thursday unless otherwise noted.

  • May 7 to 12, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • May 14 to 19, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • May 21 to 29, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • May 28 to June 2, 2022 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
    A new moon on May 30, 2022 means dark stargazing skies at night!
  • August 20 to 25, 2022 (Book Now!)
  • August 27 to September 1, 2022 (Book Now!)
    A new moon on August 27, 2022 means dark stargazing skies at night!

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.

Black Hills Road & Gravel Bike Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Arrival Town/Airport: Rapid City, South Dakota (Rapid City Regional Airport – RAP)

Departing Town/Airport: Rapid City, South Dakota (Rapid City Regional Airport – RAP)

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

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: $2,990 per person shared occupancy / $3,250 per person single occupancy.
Group discount of 5% for groups of 4 or more. Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

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. Non-Riding spouses and partners can join a tour's meal plan of three meals a day for $85 per day.

Tour Includes: 6-days of guide service, 6-nights lodging, meals (5-dinners, 6-lunches, 6-breakfasts) entry fees, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages, bike rental and massage are additional.

Lodging for 6 Nights: (subject to change)

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

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: Click Here to learn more about our Road Bike Rentals including pricing.

Road E-Bike Rentals: Click Here for more information on our Road E-Bike Rentals including pricing.

Couples Bike Rental Discount: Sign up as a couple and receive one free Road Bike Rental per couple for a one week tour. ($250 value. Pedal bikes only. E-Bikes excluded.)

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

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

Dinners: Lizard Head Cycling sources our favorite restaurants in each town that we visit. Our guides focus on establishments that offer fresh and local ingredients. Guests choose whatever they desire to eat off the menu: including appetizer, salad, entree 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

Black Hills Road & Gravel Bike Tour: Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as a general outline as to what to expect on this tour.

Day 0: Arrival in Rapid City

Guests drive to or fly into Rapid City Regional Airport (RAP), arriving no later than early afternoon where 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. It’s then early back to our lodging for a good nights rest, as tomorrow is a very early sunrise start. Before bed, be sure to check out the dark night sky!

NOTE: The recommended pre-tour and post-tour hotel is the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Rapid City which is NOT included in the tour cost. The Fairfield Inn offers a complimentary shuttle service to or from the airport.

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.


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 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.


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 gravel riding. A shorter clockwise route of 29-miles offers 14-miles of gravel riding and a longer counter-clockwise E.F.I. route of 58-miles offers 36-miles of gravel riding. All of these routes end in Lead, South Dakota and the route taken will be based on the group consensus.

Note: An option to visit nearby Devils Tower in Wyoming is possible on this day based on the group and the weather.


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!


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

Day 5: Wildlife Loop Road & Wind Cave National Park
Standard Route: 48-miles with up to 3,080 feet of climbing
EFI Option: 76-miles with up to 6,100 feet of climbing

The first half of the ride today is through Custer State Park, South Dakota’s first and largest state park, named after Lt. Colonel George Armstrong Custer. 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!

Our next segment is along Wildlife Loop Road that travels through 18-miles of open grasslands and pine-speckled hills where you might see bison, pronghorn, whitetail and mule deer, elk, coyotes, burros, prairie dogs, eagles, hawks, and a variety of other birds. From here we proceed south to Wind Cave National Park where guides will prepare a gourmet lunch while guests take a tour of the Wind Caves. Following lunch those on the standard route can shuttle back to Sylvan Lake Lodge and those on the E.F.I. option head north to complete the last miles over the Twin Sisters Range, then jump onto a segment of the Mickelson Trail, and finally end the day back at Sylvan Lake Lodge.


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

Day 6: Crazy Horse Memorial & Mount Rushmore
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 a morning tour of the memorial and then afterwards back on the bikes 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! Today’s ride 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!


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

Black Hills Road & Gravel 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

Lizard Head Cycling Guides highly recommends clients purchase Travel Insurance through TripAssure. A policy can be purchased individually through the sales link below.

The estimated cost for a 50-year old buying insurance for a $2,500 tour ranges from $100 (standard plan) to about $200 (cancel for any reason plan).

Lizard Head Cycling Guides Custom Sales Portal Link is:

  • The best options for our clients are either the Asset or Bridge plans.
  • The Asset-Plus & Complete plans both include a Cancel-For-Any-Reason option.
    • As a result these plans cost more.
    • The Cancel-for-Any-Reason option is only available when insurance is purchased within two weeks of initial deposit.
  • For information on Coronavirus, please click here.
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