Day 24 Cyclists Chasing Cows

Today’s ride was epic. Shortly after leaving our hotel we turned onto the Mickelson Trail. It is an old Burlington Northern railroad bed that goes through the heart of the Black Hills in South Dakota.

There were all types of rock formations.

Low hanging clouds and early morning fog added to the drama.

The trail had rest stops with water.

And tools – including a tire pump.

We passed through four short tunnels.

We had to open and close gates to keep the cattle inside. They were contentedly grazing by the stream.

Until we rounded a bend and a bunch of them were on the trail. We frightened them and they began to run. We stopped several times and let them go, but each time we rounded the corner they took off. The cattle crossed bridges. They went through tunnels. They finally left the trail when approaching a gate. Chad captured the action on video.

We were on the Mickelson Trail for about 35 miles. Then we turned onto the Needles Highway. The highway is named for tall granite “needles” that it winds around. Here is the Needles Eye Tunnel.

The road also features “pigtail” bridges. These are bridges that you cross and then immediately go under them.

One tunnel exit framed Mt. Rushmore

All too soon we ended our day in Keystone, South Dakota.


  • Lead to Keystone, South Dakota.
  • Distance: 74.0 miles (119 km)
  • Climbing: 4543 feet (1384 m)
  • Temperature: 40 – 68°F (4 – 20°C) Mountain top is cooler than Hulett.


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