“This is the course from the annual Dakota Five-O MTB race.”
— Jonathan Reth
Race - Sep 2, 2018
This race and its course are sanctioned by the USFS Black Hills National Forest for the time span of the event. Any riding done on this course other than during the event is done so at the rider's own risk as many of these trails are not part of the official USFS trail system.
The Dakota Five-O race course covers 50 miles of spectacular riding in the northern Black Hills. The race is held the Sunday of Labor Day week every year with 600-700 riders. The race course goes through the old Passion Play parking lot which is closed throughout the year. This route skips that closed section.
The Dakota Five-O lollipop loop begins in Spearfish City Park and leaves town to the west up Tinton Road. The three miles of gravel road climbing will give the fast guys a chance to vie for position, before funneling onto the twisty, smooth, Tinton Trail singletrack.
On even years, the race follows this course clockwise. So at the course split (approx 7.5 miles in), you'll turn left and make your way down into a gully we call Twin Bridges, which will eventually make its way to Big Hill Trailhead at mile 11. Then you'll be riding the Big Hill trail system which consists of a little singletrack, mixed with two track. The Big Hill trail system will dump you out onto Iron Creek drainage road, which will then take you to the doubletrack of lower Cardiac Climb. The burliest climb on Cardiac will then spit you out on some mellow singletrack along the rim of Spearfish Canyon which we call Recovery Ridge.
The second main stop is at, approximately, 21 miles at Old Baldy Trailhead. Relax, stretch, and continue on through the Old Baldy trail system which ends with a trail called Crangle Connection. IF YOU WANT WATER AND FOOD, at approximately mile 26, you can ride down to Iron Creek Lake and refuel at the store.
Continue by going back and up Taco Alley to Sheep Flats, approximately 27 miles into the ride. Ride another 8 miles of mostly two-track snowmoblie trail, to the last bailout at mile 32, known as Ball Park. Beware of the bear of a climb ahead! And don't forget to stop at the top, known as Bacon Station, for your official, on-course PBR and selfie stop.
Now you're ready for the all-new, hand-built singletrack of Dakota Ridge, that takes you along the eastern ridge near citadel rock, to some spectacular views of Crow Peak, and back out onto forest service road.
Finally, you'll climb, climb, climb back out and onto your last 10 miles of singletrack, that take you back down Tinton Trail, and back down into Spearfish City Park.