Results 1 to 5 of 5
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Huntley, Illinois
    Posts
    390

    Default Black Hills first timers report

    Xsledder and I just returned from three great days in the Black Hills. Drove out Thursday from NW Chicago suburbs, stayed at Spearfish Canyon Lodge, and returned today.

    The central hills had gotten 12 to 18 inches of fresh last week, so our timing was great.

    Spent three days trail riding, playing in meadows, climbing some hills, sidehilling, and tree riding. Found enough snow to challenge our 141's and our riding skills, and as planned we managed to get them both stuck several times, but nothing that the two of us couldn't get out.

    370 miles total for trails and off-trail, including on some of the greatest trails you could ask for, which were groomed every night. How good were they - at Sunday trail 12B had been groomed the night before and was set up and untouched when we got there (AT NOON). Several times we were not the first ones making tracks on the trails, but the only thing before us were hooved animals! Some perfect, some burned out by Sunday, but overall a 9 out of 10.

    Incredible scenery from the lookouts, and incredible opportunities for off trail. Played around in one meadow north of Buckhorn that had to have been two miles long of knee to nuts deep powder. Left one trail, followed meadows through to closed forest roads, and connected back to another trail at one time. Could have used a bit more base to cover up the stump and log land mines when in the trees, but thankfully, nothing was bent or broken.

    It was -13 Friday morning, but the bad news is that by Sunday afternoon it was 45 and sunny. Spots were getting thin, and some hills we played on Saturday were brown Sunday, but in looking around really good spots could be found. Sunday afternoon we found one north facing hill with three feet of untouched powder on it when we arrived. (not so untouched when we left)

    Should be good for couple more days, but the forecast starting Thursday looks ugly.

    Next time out plan on being prepared with a better forest service road map and GPS. Definitely glad we went

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    merrill, wi
    Posts
    80

    Default

    thanks for the report we always wanted to head out there .where you stayed would you stay there again ? can you off trail ride anywhere or is there certain areas ? we were thinking of staying in deadwood do you think that would be a good spot ? any more info would be helpful .thanks .

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Huntley, Illinois
    Posts
    390

    Default

    Seems like we found better (more open) areas to ride more in the center of the system, so staying at the Trailshead area is where we are thinking of staying next time. Off trail areas are pretty much unlimited, but you have to find what you like. Some very steep terrain in the northern section makes offttrail more limited there. What you want to do offtrail is limited only by your sled, your riding skills, and your budget for repairs.

    Also, no nightlife at Spearfish Canyon Lodge.

    Have never stayed in Deadwood where all the nightlife is. Other threads have mentioned staying there is iffy due to lower elevation and less snow, sometimes requiring trailering further into the hills, but there are several huge parking lots for trailer parking shown on the trail map. Great trail map and info can be found online. We also asked other sledders and people working at the various establishments, and they pointed us towards areas in the system that had more snow than others. Good luck on your trip if you decide to go.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    close to the edge.
    Posts
    8,071

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Grant Hoar View Post
    Xsledder and I just returned from three great days in the Black Hills. Drove out Thursday from NW Chicago suburbs, stayed at Spearfish Canyon Lodge, and returned today.

    The central hills had gotten 12 to 18 inches of fresh last week, so our timing was great.

    Spent three days trail riding, playing in meadows, climbing some hills, sidehilling, and tree riding. Found enough snow to challenge our 141's and our riding skills, and as planned we managed to get them both stuck several times, but nothing that the two of us couldn't get out.

    370 miles total for trails and off-trail, including on some of the greatest trails you could ask for, which were groomed every night. How good were they - at Sunday trail 12B had been groomed the night before and was set up and untouched when we got there (AT NOON). Several times we were not the first ones making tracks on the trails, but the only thing before us were hooved animals! Some perfect, some burned out by Sunday, but overall a 9 out of 10.

    Incredible scenery from the lookouts, and incredible opportunities for off trail. Played around in one meadow north of Buckhorn that had to have been two miles long of knee to nuts deep powder. Left one trail, followed meadows through to closed forest roads, and connected back to another trail at one time. Could have used a bit more base to cover up the stump and log land mines when in the trees, but thankfully, nothing was bent or broken.

    It was -13 Friday morning, but the bad news is that by Sunday afternoon it was 45 and sunny. Spots were getting thin, and some hills we played on Saturday were brown Sunday, but in looking around really good spots could be found. Sunday afternoon we found one north facing hill with three feet of untouched powder on it when we arrived. (not so untouched when we left)

    Should be good for couple more days, but the forecast starting Thursday looks ugly.

    Next time out plan on being prepared with a better forest service road map and GPS. Definitely glad we went
    all lyes UP much better keep going to twin lakes every one .

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    Red Wing, MN
    Posts
    442

    Default

    I went out at the end of January, we wanted to go to the UP but the warm up had other plans. Three of us decided to go and it was some of the best riding I have ever done with beautiful views. We stayed at Tralshead lodge which is about in the middle of the trail system. They had good snow before we arrived and it snowed 8+" the day we arrived and added 1-2" everyday after. Grooming was excellent, little to no traffic. Probably the only time I have ever rode three days in a row and not hit a bump. First tracks on fresh groom everyday. If you hit it right with the snow the off trail is endless also. Highly recommend this trip if you have never been to the Black Hills.

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