Rapid City, nestled in the heart of South Dakota, boasts the scenic and challenging Victoria Lake Road Trail. Renowned for its immersive scenery, this 10-mile loop offers cyclists a slice of nature's best – from deep forests to towering cliffs.
- Distance: 10 miles
- Level: Difficult
- Route Type: Loop
- Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Navigating the Trail
Starting from the distinctive triangle parking area, the trail kickstarts on Victoria Lake Road. A brief stretch, and riders cross a cattle guard, soon encountering a jeep road on the right. Marked with arrows on white signs, followed by orange paint on trees, and back to the signs, the trail holds its share of navigational challenges. At the 5.8-mile mark, particularly after crossing a creek bed, a sharp right reveals the singletrack path, a turn easily overlooked. On encountering a well-defined jeep road further down, turn right for a brief stretch and search for the orange-marked trees leading back into the singletrack.While the trail remains fairly marked with orange paint, cairns, or signs, some intersections stand unmarked. Therefore, riders are advised to:
- Opt for the more traveled route at unmarked intersections.
- Load a GPX file on a smartphone or GPS device as a backup to the printed directions.
This is no ordinary ride. It's laden with:
- Rocks: Whether they're loose or embedded, they dominate the trail, making for a rock garden.
- Tech Features: Be on the lookout for a few technical spots, all well-indicated for riders to check out or plunge into.
- Terrain: A rolling landscape featuring short yet sharp descents, immediately followed by brisk, challenging climbs.
- Scenery: Deep forests, hillside meadows, and cliff tops add to the visual allure.
Reviews from fellow cyclists provide diverse insights:
- The Rock Garden: Some found the continuous rocky surface and numerous climbs lacking in flow.
- Old School MTB Vibe: Others loved the rocky ascents, swift technical descents, and the breathtaking cliff line views. But note: at mile 6.5, a logging operation disrupts the trail, necessitating a backtrack.
- Navigational Challenges: Many recommended riding counterclockwise for a fun experience, emphasizing the need for maps or local guidance due to potential wrong turns.
- Equipment Recommendations: Owing to the sharp rocks, even those with tubeless tires should carry an extra tube. Wide handlebars might be a hindrance due to narrow tree gaps on this trail.
Safety and Precautions
Riders should note:
- Cell Service: Only available at the ridgetops.
- Traffic: The trail doesn't witness heavy cyclist traffic, a boon for solitude seekers but a point of caution for solo riders.
- Poison Ivy: It's prevalent, so caution is advised.
From Rapid City, head south on US-16 W/Mt Rushmore Rd. Making a right onto Moon Meadows Dr., continue until Dunsmore Rd. A short stretch leads to the '