Perhaps one of the most trafficked trails in the Black Hills is the George S. Mickelson Trail, or the Mickelson Trail. Walking, running, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking enthusiasts have come from all over the United States to take part in events on the Mickelson Trail. A couple of the popular events include The Big Mick and the Mickelson Trail Marathon, both unforgettable events.
The Mickelson trail was developed from an old railroad branch line that last ran in 1983, The Burlington Northern train line. With the help of governor George S. Mickelson, the trail was completed in September of 1998. The 109 mile trail passes through both National Forrest and private land and stretches from Edgemont, SD to Deadwood, SD. Rumors are continuously floating around about extensions to the Mickelson and branches are already able to be seen at several locations.
The Mickelson Trail has been documented as an easy to moderate trail with the surface being made up of mostly crushed limestone and gravel. Any outdoor adventurer is sure to find their enjoyment at some point along the trail. One of the unique qualities seen on the Mickelson are its aspects of the old railroad, adapted for modern day use. There are four tunnels and over one hundred bridges that are located throughout the trail and they assist the Mickelson in keeping its genuine old time feel.
Today, the Mickelson Trail is open year round. There are fifteen trailheads located throughout the Black Hills. At the various trailheads you may find parking areas, tables, shelters, drinking water, and/or bathrooms depending on what trailhead you are located at. Also located at the trailheads are the self serve trail pass station as there is a fee to be on the Mickelson Trail, $3 per person or $15 annually.