Centennial Trail

The Centennial Trail is more than just 111 miles of outdoor recreational opportunities—it’s a commemoration of the state of South Dakota’s enduring heritage and notable history. Construction of the trail began in 1989 as a tribute to the state’s centennial. Originating at the plains of Bear Butte State Park at Sturgis, it runs south through densely forested hills all the way to the rolling prairies of Wind Cave National Park. The rich diversity of vegetation—from thick pine forests to level prairies—ensure there’s something to suit every nature lover’s preference.

Bikers have their pick of 20 trailhead entryways, along with many connections to other trails. With a wide variety of terrain conditions, surface types, and skill levels, the Centennial Trail provides virtually limitless wilderness biking opportunities. Adventure-seekers delight in the undulating terrain, with soaring inclines and plunging descents that span thousands of feet of elevation changes.

Sights along the way include abundant wildlife, dozens of scenic lakes, the Bear Butte volcano, and the Black Hills National Cemetery. You’ll also pass through the Black Elk Wilderness Area, a protected nature preserve to the south of Mount Rushmore. Three different trailheads provide entry points to the 22 miles of the Centennial Trail that lie within the boundaries of Custer State Park. Towns of interest along the trail include Lead, Deadwood, and the Central City historic mining district. After just one venture, you’ll understand why the Centennial Trail is considered by many avid mountain bikers one of the premier trails in the country.

When biking the trail, keep in mind that it’s also used by horseback riders, hikers, walkers, and joggers, so be sure to follow the “rules of the road”: pass courteously, slow it down in congested areas, and steer clear of areas with posted closures.

Tags: Trails

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