The George S. Michelson Rail Trail runs the length of the Black Hills and is easily accessible. It runs right by our campground, although it's on the other side of he road. We drove into Hill City to pick up the trail and rode to Custer. Mom dropped us off and met us in Custer.
We thought the trail was rolling hills, but it turned out the section we rode was 9 miles up and 6 miles down! The up part, from Hill City to Crazy Horse the trail went right along side the highway and the scenery wasn't all the exciting. It reminded me a bit of Colorado, simply because so many bike paths there follow the roads. After Crazy Horse it was all downhill into Custer and the bike path was away from the road in a more secluded and scenic area. This worked perfectly because going down it was easier to enjoy the scenery!
When we arrived in Custer Mom was waiting for us! We tried to eat lunch at Buffalo Burgers and Buns, we'd gotten a review of it on the trail from some guys who were biking across the country, but it was too crowded and there was a long wait, we ended up at The Purple Pie Company and we had a great lunch!
After lunch it was on to Jewel Cave National Monument. We'd never heard of Jewel Cave before seeing it on the map. When we got there however, the next tour was a two hour wait, so we walked around the visitor center and got our passports stamped.
We'd gotten a tip from someone in the Custer Visitor Center that the walk around Sylvan Lake was only a mile and very nice. We headed up the Needles Highway from Custer to get to Sylvan Lake. It was a great drive! The rocks were pointy and if you looked carefully they looked like things, kind of like looking at clouds! It also reminded me of Colorado and a hike that Dad and I did in the Lumpy Range.
Sylvan Lake was a small lake with rock formations all around it! It was also a busy place with lots of people walking, kayaking, swimming, and enjoying the sunny afternoon! We started walking around thinking it was just a flat, wide, sandy path. Even Mom was coming because this was in theory short and flat. Well, not so much. At the far end of the lake the trail went up and then down over the rocks! It was pushing Mom's comfort level, but she did it! Even made it through the narrow rock tunnel at the end, then it was back to a flat, sandy trail!
After the lake we headed back to Custer to try the Buffalo Burgers and Buns again, they'd only re-opened at 5 and it was 5:45, yet there was a 45 min wait. We will find buffalo burgers elsewhere. We got dinner at The Sage Creek Cafe, it was yummy! Then we headed back to the campground to run generators and check on my fridge (which is continuing to boycott running on propane, however we may have cracked the code on how to light it, it just needs lots of attention!).