Day 1: Fort Sisseton State Park to Britton – 79 miles (optional routes of 34, 45 or 100 miles)
We begin on Sunday at Fort Sisseton Historic State Park, which will greet us with the annual Fort Sisseton Historical Festival that weekend. From Fort Sisseton, we ride east through the lakes and hills left behind by the glaciers responsible for the Coteau des Prairies.
Around the 32 mile mark, the route drops into the Whetstone Valley, and we ride by the tribal headquarters of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and the Sisseton Wahpeton College on the Lake Traverse Reservation. On the climb out of the valley toward the west, take a rest stop at the 75-foot tall Nicollet Tower and survey a tri-state area from the top. The ride continues west to Britton through the plateau dotted with glacial lakes known best for fishing and waterfowl hunting around Lake City.
Day 2: Britton to Eureka – 96 miles.
On Monday we will head west through the heart of the Sand Lake National Wildlife Refuge, known best for waterfowl and wildlife viewing. From the 30-mile mark, it’s prairie and small towns and some of South Dakota’s unique eats – rhubarb and kuchen. We’ll visit Leola, the self-proclaimed rhubarb capital of the world; they celebrate the proclamation with the bi-annual Rhubarb Festival (sorry, we’ll miss it until next year). Next stop – and last stop for the day, Eureka and a plate full of kuchen, the state dessert since 2000.
Day 3: Eureka to Mobridge – 79 miles (optional route of 56 miles).
Today riders journey west into the Missouri River valley, along a small section of the route once traveled by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804. From Pollock to Mobridge, the ride follows the east side of the river on Lake Oahe, famous for walleye fishing. Mobridge’s Scherr Howe Arena houses a collection of murals created in the early 1940s by Oscar Howe, one of the most popular and well-known Native American artists in U.S. history.
Day 4: 49 miles (optional route of 57 miles to Sitting Bull monument).
On Wednesday we enter the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Reservation and bike through the land of Chief Sitting Bull, a Hunkpapa Teton Sioux spiritual leader in the 1870s. Sitting Bull spent most of his life in the area, resisted the U.S. expansion on treaty lands and was killed in 1890. A monument was dedicated to him at his burial site. Riders can also visit monuments dedicated to fur trader Jedediah Smith (he was also mauled by a bear) and the trail blazer Sacajewa, Bird Woman, who died during childbirth near Mobridge and best known for her role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The day ends in McLaughlin, home of RASDak’s 2016 charity the McLaughlin Community Youth Organization.
Day 5: McLaughlin to Lemmon – 68 miles.
Today the route hugs the North Dakota border as we enjoy small town hospitality in McIntosh (pop. 173) and Lemmon. By the way, McIntosh holds the record for the coldest temperature in South Dakota. At Lemmon we recognize the life of Hugh Glass, whose story inspired the movie The Revenant. The storied events of the legend of the Hugh Glass bear-mauling happened south of Lemmon. Beyond the Glass legend, visitors will find more history at the local Petrified Wood Park and the Grand River Museum, featuring dinosaur fossils found on a local ranch and a sculpture by John Lopez of a cowboy riding a dinosaur.
Day 6: Lemmon to Buffalo – 99 miles.
Some of today’s ride follows the route where Hugh Glass crawled the 200-some miles to Fort Kiowa (near present-day Chamberlain/Oacoma). The ride will also take us past Slim Buttes Battlefield of 1876 near Reva. This country is marked by rugged buttes and badlands and is home to some of the great fossil finds in the world. Buffalo claims the title of the T. Rex Capital of the World with seven being found in the area, and the largest winged dinosaur was recently discovered in the area.