Over the course of many days of riding with me in 2020, cycling buddy Paul Brasby wondered aloud of a possible bikepacking tour of the Black Hills of South Dakota. We eventually developed the concept of a week long, mixed road tour on my favorite remote, rough roads in the Black Hills, designed around a rider like Paul on a bike like his Salsa CutThroat. That is, a relatively short, remote, rough road tour for a seasoned bike packer on a loaded mountain bike. With a treasure trove of roads and sights from which to choose, I called the ride The Black Hills Bounty and set out to create it.
|Of course, we kick this whole thing off with a USFS Low Standard Road.
First road on Day 1 of Year 1 of the Black Hills Bounty. (image by Lane Bergen)
For 2021, we eventually developed a plan to ride 5 days in the Central Black Hills, based out of the tourist town of Custer. Early that summer, a group of six friends rode throughout the Heart of the Hills, including a Bucket List ride up iconic Iron Mountain Road to Mount Rushmore and down Needles Highway. That bit of Bounty only fueled their desire for more.
So, for 2022, we rode for 5 days deep into the Southern Black Hills, pedaling South from Custer and then both East to the prairie's edge and West back into the hills. The route covered a similar mix of rough back roads, but more remote, requiring the next level of water, food, and shelter management. Not surprisingly, the experience sparked further interest in the Bounty, both from within and without the group.
In 2023, we embarked on a 6 day tour of the Northern Black Hills of South Dakota and the Bear Lodge Mountains of Wyoming, with a jaunt out to Devil's Tower National Monument. Once again, we hit about every type of Forest Service road and added a few twists, including a climb on grass-covered trails through a cross-country ski area. Every day, big views and bold autumn colors flood our senses. And, yes, the group is already looking to next year.
Now I've created a separate Page that links my blog posts for each year of the Black Hills Bounty. This Page is for all riders of the Black Hills Bounty, along with everyone else willing to stretch their comfort zone into new experiences in unfamiliar lands. Black Hills Bounty Page.
Hopefully, the Black Hills Bounty Page will be adding posts for years to come.