I highly recommend this trail or you are in the area. It's mostly intermediate and moderately technical. There are short steeps going out (not "hike a bike" steep, but enough to get you winded) and then sweeping descents that feel like a bobsled course. The return to the trailhead is a bit tough but makes for a great workout.
Finding the trailhead is easy. As you go south on highway 16 from Rapid City toward Mt. Rushmore you'll pass an old ghost town called Rockerville. Look for Silver Mountain Road on the right and turn there. Less then 50 yards from the highway is a small dirt parking lot on the right. The trailhead is on the west end of the parking lot. Orange trail markers are on the trees every so often to that mark the trail and keep you on course.
The entire loop is single track that meanders along a fire road. So if you run out of time or daylight or just get tired you can bail out and take the more direct route back to the trailhead.
The trail is very well maintained and offers a wide variety of surfaces. There are long sections of smooth dirt mixed with a lot of roots and rocky chatter. You will also get to negotiate a few basalt crags which I found to be a fun challenge. There are a couple vista points. One in particular is breathtaking and can't be missed. While you are passing the church camp on the left, park your bike and walk about 30 yards to the right. You'll be glad you did.
The church camp is roughly the half way point. You can bail and take the fire road straight back to the trailhead. Or you can continue on following those orange arrows. Either way those sweeping descents that you enjoyed have resulted in a net elevation loss. Now you get to pay it back with sweat. If you're in decent shape you'll make it out on your pedals. If not you can always hike a bike.
The trail after the church camp gives you a little more downhill into a dense forest. The trail becomes quite a bit more narrow and technical for about a mile. After that it'
This is a good ride with lots of easy climbs and fun singletrack downhill. This area can be done as a shuttle run, but the loop I did required small climbs. I didn't find a church camp and there were organge markers everywhere, so I don't know how I missed it. I did hit a no trespassing sign/private property on the marked trail so I turned around and hiked down to a raging spring creek. I went back on the fire road which according to the map is storm mountain rd. This last climb was brutal and kicked my butt. I could've went back along the singletrack and it would have been better, but I was looking to get back quicker. Once I hit the peak it was a fun fire road downhill back to the parking lot.
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