TEMPORARY ROAD CLOSURE AFFECTING THE BACKBONE GRANDE IN 2023.
The South Dakota Department of Transportation recently issued a press release announcing that the first 3 miles of South Rochford Road (C306) will be closed to traffic from July 5, 2023 until October 13, 2023 for a paving project. SD DOT Press Release on South Rochford Road Closure.
This affects the BackBone Grande in 2023 as the route follows those three miles. The bad news is that the road is closed until October 13, 2023 and that it will be paved when re-opened. The good news is that the road should be open all of 2024 and that the curvy downhill on primary gravel was often heavily washboarded anyhow.
The second phase of this project begins next spring and continues south from the end of the first phase. It should not affect the BackBone Grande route in 2024.
The map below shows the BackBone Grande route in red, with the affected portion in blue.
|Shown in BLUE are the three miles of South Rochford Road that are temporarily closed.
Here are two simple detours for the BackBone Grande during this construction.
North Bound Riders
1. When reaching the Mystic Trailhead for the Mickelson Trail at about Mile 157, stay on the Mickelson for about more 8 miles to Rochford, where you will pick up the BackBone Grande route at about Mile 174. Proceed on the route toward Black Fox Campground. The biggest drawback to this detour is that you will miss all of Castle Peak Road (USFS Low Standard Road 181), one of my favorites.
2. Alternatively, when reaching the Mystic Trailhead at about Mile 157, continue on the route up Castle Peak Road to USFS Castle Peak Campground about Mile 167 and maybe over the narrow wooden bridge just beyond. Then ride back to the Mystic Trailhead and take the Mickelson Trail those 8 miles to Rochford to pick up the BackBone Grande route. That relatively short out-and-back is worth it for the road, scenery, and campground, especially if camping back there fits your timing.
South Bound Riders
1. When reaching Rochford, hop on the Mickelson Trail for 8 miles to the Mystic Trailhead, where you will pick up the BackBone Grande route heading south toward the tunnels.
2. Alternatively from Rochford, hop on the Mickelson Trail for 8 miles to the Mystic Trailhead, then take Mystic Road south to Castle Peak Road for a quick out-and-back and return to the Mystic Trailhead to pick up the BackBone Grande route.
I know many folks dislike out-and-backs because it feels like riding the same thing twice. That's no longer my way of thinking, as I always find two very different experiences.
Before you decide against riding the Castle Peak Road out-and-back, take a look at a few pictures.