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Level: Intermediate
Length: 6 mi (9.7 km)
Surface: Singletrack
Configuration: Out & Back
Elevation: +546/534 ft
Total: 13 riders

Mountain Biking Little Elk Creek Canyon

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#34 of 42 mountain bike trails in South Dakota
#10924 in the world

The Trail follows a creek in bottom of a canyon. It's shown as a road on some older maps. The road has washed out (flood of '72?). The trail takes you through rock formations named "White Gate" and "Red Gate". It connects with the Centennial Trail (which is somewhat challenging in this area) and the road to Dalton Lake Campground. About three miles each way = six miles out and back. Pretty much a beginner's level trail with a short technical stretch through a rocky creek bottom area. Great fall colors. Nice "after work" ride if you live in the Rapid City or Sturgis areas. It gets you onto your bike and into the Hills quickly from I-90.

Before you go
  • No Drinking water 
  • No E-bikes permitted 
  • No Fat biking allowed in winter 
  • No Fee required 
  • No Lift service 
  • No Night riding allowed 
  • No Pump track 
  • No Restrooms 
Getting there
I-90 Exit 44. Go to the west side of the interstate and then north approx. 1/2 mile. Left on Little Elk Creek Road. Take this road a couple miles until it stops. You will be on Forest Service land at the end.
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Aaron Todd (on Jun 23, 2019)
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Good (on Jun 23, 2019)
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  • Sarah Thomas

    Beautiful trail along the creek, but inconsistent for riding. It starts out as an easy, wide, gravel path, but it has a bunch of sections where it's too rocky to ride over. There are also some scary parts where you're riding along the edge of a cliff on a narrow trail with some washed out spots. It was hard to keep a consistent pace because of the changing trail, but it really was gorgeous.

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  • Troy Kruse

    Short out and back trail that follows a creek bed up to Dalton Lake which accesses the Centenial Trail. A neat trail in to see the changing colors in the fall.

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