“A great adventure, needs more use to be a great trail ride.”
— Mike Casey
The Deuce extends the original 100 mile Maah Daah Hey - IMBA Epic another 50 miles to the south. It was formally opened in 2014. This review is from a May 2015 ride. The southern and middle sections of the Deuce have seen so little traffic 1/2ish of the ride in across open prairie with no established trail. Virtually all of the infrastructure is in (trail heads, dirt work, water cashes at the trail heads, bridges and most importantly the 'turtle' post marking the trail).
Need to Know
The Deuce is easily broken into 5 to 10-mile sections with the route coming to the county road at 7 well-developed trailheads no further than 10 miles apart. All of the trailheads are accessible from a good (graveled) county road. The 11-mile section closest to Medora is established, well used and a great ride from the Plumely Draw TrailHead to the Bully Pulpit trailhead at the golf course.)
Dakota Cyclery in Medora remains an outstanding bike shop. Great service, great people, reasonable rentals and shuttles.
This trail shows every sign of an Epic Ride equal to or better than the original Maah Daah Hey - IMBA Epic. The USFS made improvements using lessons learned from the original Maah Daah Hey - IMBA Epic. The best example of that is the outstanding bridges. (We only got our feet wet three times; an unavoidable marsh right out of Burning Coal Vein Trailhead, a side hill seep and a wooded draw and none of those amounted to anything more than damp socks). The Deuce has had so little horse traffic that you don't have to deal with the rutted trails and very little random "livestock cobblestoning".
The USFS is improving the surface of the trail as time and money allows, but the improved sections are somewhat random with the majority of the improved trail being closer to Medora. We had to contend with a bumper crop of ticks, but spraying the legs with deet really helped. Also, we saw 1/2 dozen rattlesnakes on the road and had one strike at us on the trail (sucks to be the second person in line).
We did lose the turtle posts/trail markers (and trail) a few time when it broke sharply off the tops of ridges. We had to 'spread out' to find the next post/trail. It never took more than a few minutes and after the trail gets more established that won't be a problem
We stayed at Sulley Creek State Campground 3 miles south of Medora. Great campground, cheap, with outstanding individual room pay showers ($1/ 6 mins). The campground is two miles from the Bully Pulpit Trailhead and the USFS told me they have (or soon will have) an agreement that will let them put in that last two miles of trail so that you can ride right from the campground on the northernmost leg.
History & Background
The coal veins at the southern end of the Deuce is no longer burning, but the USFS does have a nice (primitive) campground right at the trailhead, Burning Coal Vein Campground.
The USFS Little Missouri National Grasslands map accurately illustrated the trail route, trail heads and county roads.