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Black Hills Highway 385 and Highway 85

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Ride Stats:

  • Distance: 117 miles / 188.3 km
  • Ride Time: 1 day
  • Approximate Fuel Costs: $8.89
  • State: South Dakota
Submitted by:

This is one of my favorite roads in the whole USA. Maybe because I live nearby (Rapid CIty), is why I am so partial to this route. This route begins in Spearfish, SD at mile marker 14. The first leg of this route takes you through the beautiful Spearfish Canyon. This is a totally enjoyable ride with winding roads the follow a creek running through the canyon with numberous pullouts for photos or furthor exploring. This canyon is especially beautiful in the Fall of the year when the Aspen trees are changing colors. Early October is usually the period of best color, but depending on the weather, that varies. Halfway through the canyon is the small community of Savory, which consists of a beautiful resort lodge and resturant. If you take a 2 mile sidetrip from there, you can go to Roughlock Falls, one of the few natural waterfalls in the Black Hills. Roughlock Falls has many quaint little hiking trails that will take you the short distance to the base of the falls. There are picnic areas, viewing areas, and loads of shade.At the end of the canyon is Cheyenne Crossing. There is a fuel stop there and the food is excellent. From there take a left turn and head into Lead. Lead is an old gold mining community. For many years it was home to Homestake Gold Mine, one of the deapest hardrock gold mines in the nation. It had since been closed, but is in the process of being converted into a National Science Foundation research facility. Spend some time in this area, if time allows, and take a short sidetrip into Deadwood. Deadwood is an old western town which is rich in history. This is the city where Wild Bill Hickock was shot, Clamity Jane lived, and gambling has been leagilized. It isn't Las Vegas, but it can be a lot of fun to wander through the numberous restored pre 1900 buildings that line the main street and drop a few coins into the slots, or try your luck at some blackjack or get into a friendly card game.Heading back down highway 385 toward Hill City, you will pass through some of the most scenic parts of the Ponderosa Pine covered Black Hills. This leg of the journey has many sweeping, banked curves that are perfect for riding. You will pass two of the scenic man made lakes in the Black Hills. Both of these lakes were old townsites that were flooded over when the dams were finished. There are several gas staions along this route, so you don't have to worry about running out of fuel. Between Sheridan Lake and Hill City is a local winery that has a first class tasting room and tours throughout the year. It also has a nice gift shop with a local flavor.Hill City is the next community along the way. This is the home to the 1880 Train. It is an old steam train that still makes daily runs (during the summer months) between Hill City and Keystone. If time allows it is a very fun ride. This train has also been in a couple of the old Gunsmoke episodes. One of which was 'Snow Train'. Hill City is becoming more of an art community than the old tourist trap that it once was. They have some really nice gift shops and art galleries, one of which is the Jon Crane Gallery located in the middle of Main Street. There are also some great places there to eat and a really nice micro brewery to kick back in for a bit.The leg from Hill City to Custer is a short jaunt that takes you directly past the mountian carving of Crazy Horse. This is one of the largest mountian carving projects in progress you will ever see. It is all being funded by private donations and is being completed by the family of the late Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, who started this hugh project. The community of Custer also has many unique gift shops and attractions worth stopping at.The route down highway 385 from Custer to Pringle is a nice scenic drive with wide lanes and sweeping curves. At Pringle take a left hand turn and head into Wind Cave National Park. On a hot summer day, nothing beats a nice cool tour of any of the local caves. Wind Cave is one of the largest and has features that are unique to any of the other caves found in the Black Hills. From Wind Cave, it is a short trip to Hot Springs. Hot Springs is home to some the most spectacular examples of Sandstone buildings that I have seen anywhere. The main street of town has many of these old buildings remaining, and many are being refurbished to their original grandure. Evans Plunge is located in Hot Springs and is the world's largest natural warm water indoor swiming pool. This area was prized for the warm spring-fed river by the Lakota Sioux and was called 'Wiwilakahta'. Hot Springs is also home to the Mammoth Site where every summer the excavation for mammoth remains still continues at the site of the prehistoric sink hole where many large Columbian and woolly mammoths were trapped and died in a spring-fed pond near what is now the southwest edge of Hot Springs.Although you can easily do this ride in the span of 1 day, if you have the time, plan to spend some extra time and enjoy many of the other sites that the area has to offer.

This is a motorcycle ride in the state of South Dakota. This motorcycle route has 5 scenery characteristics and other road conditions to help you plan your road trip. This motorcycle map was created by hdtsport in July. Click here to see other Motorcycle Roads by hdtsport

Rider Photos:

No Photo's Available

Ride Scenery:

Historic SitesFall ColorsLakesForestMountains

Best Time to Go

Spring, Summer, Fall

Road Characteristics:

Sweeping Curves RoadHillyLight TrafficSmoothAdequate Gas StationsAdequate

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Previous Comments from other Riders:

SPADER says:

From Hill city why not cut over to Keystone via Hwy 16, then take Hwy 244 past Mt. Rushmore back to Hwy 385 and then on past Crazy Horse.
Fri Jan 11, 2013 at 9:09 AM


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