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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

NothingThere, Nebraska to Edgemont

Starting at the stop sign finish of the Black Hills BackBone, this section of the DoubleBackBone swings west through Buffalo Gap National Grasslands before angling north to the railroad town of Edgemont. Wide open prairie translates to stark exposure and long sight lines. It's hard to miss the herds of cattle, but watch for the wary pronghorn and majestic elk that patrol these lands. With big views through rolling, hard-packed gravel, these fifty miles can pass quickly, unless of course the winds pick up, the rains fall or the sun comes out.

Winding down to the railroad town of Edgemont nestled in the distant trees.
From the start, head west on Dakota Line Road for 3 miles and then north for a mile, before turning west on East Ardmore Road for 13 miles to the ghost town of Ardmore. A few of the buildings in Ardmore appear to be occupied, but there are many abandoned structures and no commercial establishments. If you need water before Edgemont, still about 33 miles away, knocking on a door here may be an option. I plan to ride straight through, other than perhaps stopping for a moment to snap a picture.

The long anticipated Stop Sign finish of the Black Hills BackBone?
Well, yes, unless you're on the DoubleBackBone. Then it's time to turn right and head west along the Nebraska border.
Continue west on Ardmore Road for 7.8 miles and then north on Edgemont Road (Fall River County 6412) for 10.9 miles. Although the BackBone finish sits 25 miles ago, the Nebraska border is still just 2 miles to the south. Miles of open prairie lie ahead, with but a few man-made structures.

Solitary building, perhaps an abandoned school house, on Edgemont Road, about 4 miles north of the Nebraska border.
Makes one wonder about life on the prairie as a kid. There are no other buildings in sight.
To avoid an 8 mile pavement run into Edgemont, the DoubleBackBone stays on gravel by turning back east on South Highway 471 for 3 miles, north on Plum Creek Road (Fall River County 65) for 4 miles, and west on Indian Canyon Road (Fall River County 3292) for 2 miles. This is good, fast, prairie gravel with few other options, so navigation is straightforward.

Turn north on Lookout Road (Fall River County 6) for a twisty 4 miles that eventually T-bones into paved Highway 471 for a short coast into Edgemont. Stay on Highway 471 through town to U.S. Highway 18 at the north end.

Small herd of elk just off a gravel road south of Edgemont.
Edgemont sports a spartan city campground with showers on the south end of town, a bar and grill on main street, a motel for those so inclined and convenience stores on the north end of town. Enjoy the amenities and stock up on supplies. The next town on the Black Hills DoubleBackBone route is Spearfish, about 130 miles and more than a few thousand feet of climbing away.


  1. Awesome pics of the scenery along the double backbone, although the starting point brought back some erie feelings...

    1. Dave, after riding 310 miles of the BackBone, you had a premonition that you would return to that stop sign. Only this time, you knew I would say, "Time to turn west. Time to go back up those hills to O'Neil Pass." And you liked it.