South Dakota -- Sylvan Lake + Mickelson Trail

Our vacation was winding down, and we were jonesing for a relaxing, beachy day.  Surprising no one, it's tough to find oceanfront property in South Dakota, but a sunny day in a canoe on Sylvan Lake did the trick.  Sylvan Lake is a man-made reservoir in Custer State Park.  It was dammed up in the 30s and while I'm not usually the biggest fan of fake lakes, the green water surrounded by granite peaks was definitely pretty.  We rented a canoe at the Sylvan Lake Lodge and paddled around the lake perimeter for an hour.

Sylvan Lake

Later that afternoon, we ducked into Hill City and rode for a little bit on the George S. Mickelson Trail.  This trail winds through the Black Hills for 109 miles from Edgement to Deadwood.  Most of the route follows an abandoned railroad line, so the path has a nice, easy grade.  The surface is a fine packed gravel -- we rode our mountain bikes but I bet a roadie with biggish tires would do fine.