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Centennial Trail Elk Creek TH to Alkali TH



11.2 mile 18.1 kilometer point to point
100% Singletrack


Ascent: 1,189' 362 m
Descent: -2,238' -682 m
High: 5,163' 1,574 m
Low: 3,552' 1,083 m


Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 20% (11°)


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Trail shared by Adrian Whitmore

A singletrack adventure on the Centennial Trail #89.

Adrian Whitmore

Electric Mountain Bikes Unknown

Features -none-


This is a point to point trail segment of the massive 111 mile Centennial Trail. A very doable ride with high meadows, stream crossings, and screaming descents.

Need to Know

This a portion of the larger Centennial Trail System. The trail number 89 signifies the year the state was given statehood. The 100th Anniversary of the state was 1989.


This section is best done as a shuttle-- Leave a vehicle at the Alkali TH in the Fort Meade recreation area, then shuttle your bike.

Directions to Elk Creek Th: From Alkali TH go west on I-90 to the 1st Sturgis exit 32, to Junction Ave., then go south at the light and head up Vanocker Canyon Rd you'll crest the mountain and come to a turn left at 7.9 miles onto RUNKLE Rd. Follow the road to the Elk Creek TH.

Starting from the Elk Creek TH you head north from the parking area. The TH parking is at most 4-5 cars in size. You begin climbing singletrack, for the first climb of the trip. It has a couple rock garden sections but very climbable on a bike, the pitch in some spots will push your lowest granny gear a bit, but doable on any drivetrain.

It then mellows out and you begin contour riding north utilizing the many ridges, and valleys of the Black Hills. Many of the canyons were foreign in name to me. But the views of granite outcrops and the plains of South Dakota were fantastic.

Upon descent into Three sisters, a long set of switchbacks, descends to the bottom of Bulldog Gulch. This is very beautiful area. Large pines, aspens, and an occasional creek crossing. The trail has great flow, and swoops and dips throughout the forest.

A short steep climb then begins at the bottom of Bulldog Gulch and you climb to the top of what is called Bulldog. Then trail then descends through some fantastic and exciting singletrack that swoops , flows, dips, and dives through the pasque flowers, pines, and prairies grass, as it exits to the the Alkali Creek. Here the trail travels under the I-90 freeway through a culvert to the other side, the trail then turns right and you head to the parking lot of the Alkali TH.

There are small bridge humps, called T.h.a.d. they usually are placed at fences for transport so you do need to dismount for gates.

Elk, deer, Turkey, Mtn goats, raptors, rattlesnakes are plentiful.


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Jun 11, 2019
Cathy Berryman
11.2mi — 6h 00m
May 12, 2019
11.2mi — 2h 00m
Oct 17, 2018
Marc Rosenholtz
Jul 26, 2018
Darci G
A hell of a ride! 11.2mi
Jul 1, 2018
Nathan Beauchamp
Jul 27, 2017
Derek Beaumont
Nice day. Little rain. One downed tree. Rode with Sydney Shorb. 11.2mi
Jul 8, 2017
Rie Sasaki
May 13, 2017
Paul Winter

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 11 votes


in Sturgis


  4.5 from 11 votes
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in Sturgis


in South Dakota


179 Views Last Month
6,520 Since Apr 27, 2014



View looking south from top of Bulldog. This location is approximately 100 yards northwest of the trail
Jun 19, 2015 near Sturgis, SD
North to Three Sisters
Apr 27, 2014 near Sturgis, SD
Top of Bulldog
Jun 19, 2015 near Sturgis, SD
View of Bear Butte
Jun 19, 2015 near Sturgis, SD
Out House??? Out of House.. Bulldog house???
Apr 27, 2014 near Sturgis, SD
Beautiful views and lightly-used singletrack waiting for you!
Jul 7, 2016 near Sturgis, SD

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