Pedaling Through the Prairie: South Dakota's Best Backroads for Cyclists

South Dakota, a land of sprawling prairies and rugged badlands, offers cyclists an array of backroads that are as diverse as they are breathtaking. These routes not only provide a physical challenge but also invite you to discover new corners of your soul. Here’s a guide to some of the best bicycle routes in this great state—places where you can connect with local traditions and culture while soaking in the humble beauty of rural America.

# 1. The Enchanted Highway - From Regent to Gladstone

Nestled between small towns like Regent (Regent, ND 58650) and Gladstone (Gladstone, ND 58630), this route is more than just pavement; it’s an open-air gallery. Giant metal sculptures punctuate the landscape every few miles—a testament to human creativity amidst nature's vastness. As you pedal past these whimsical creations, you'll feel like you're riding through a surrealist painting by Salvador Dal.

# 2. Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway - Black Hills National Forest

Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway (US-14A E., Lead, SD 57754) winds through limestone cliffs and dense forests that seem plucked from Tolkien’s Middle-earth. This road is perfect for those who seek both solitude and inspiration—the kind Hemingway might have found while fishing in Michigan or hunting in Africa.

# 3. Badlands Loop Road - Badlands National Park

The stark beauty of Badlands Loop Road (SD-240 W., Interior, SD 57750) will make you ponder life itself—as if you've stumbled into Cormac McCarthy's "The Road." Jagged peaks rise against an endless sky, offering vistas so awe-inspiring they could be mistaken for scenes from Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner.

# 4. Mickelson Trail - Deadwood to Edgemont

Named after George S. Mickelson—a governor whose vision was as expansive as the trail itself—this former railroad line stretches over 100 miles from Deadwood (Deadwood St., Deadwood, SD 57732) to Edgemont (Edgemont Blvd., Edgemont, SD). It meanders through ghost towns and lush valleys alike—a living history book on two wheels.

# 5. Lake Oahe Shoreline Ride - Pierre

For those who prefer water views with their rides, try cycling along Lake Oahe near Pierre (Pierre St., Pierre ,SD). This reservoir offers serene landscapes reminiscent of Monet’s water lilies but on a grander scale—perfect for contemplative souls seeking tranquility amid undulating waves.

# Deeper Reflections:

Cycling these roads isn't merely about exercise; it's about connecting deeply with South Dakota's resilient spirit—the same spirit captured by authors like Laura Ingalls Wilder in her "Little House" series or Wallace Stegner in his poignant narratives about frontier life.

As your tires crunch gravel underfoot or hum smoothly over asphalt—you'll find yourself pondering existential questions much like Fitzgerald did when he wrote: So we beat on...borne back ceaselessly into past.

These journeys offer more than scenic beauty—they're pathways into understanding what makes us uniquely human within our natural world.

**Websites & Twitter Handles:**

1.South Dakota Tourism Board [Website](

2.Badlands National Park [Website](

3.Mickelson Trail [Website](

4.Black Hills Information @BlackHillsInfo


Regent, SD 58650
United States

Gladstone, SD 58630
United States

Us-14a E.
Lead, SD 57754
United States

Sd-240 W.
Interior, SD 57750
United States

Deadwood St.
Deadwood, SD 57732
United States

Edgemont Blvd.
Edgemont, SD
United States

Pierre St.
Pierre, SD
United States


United States


United States

United States