Photo: Rock climber

The Black Hills, located outside Rapid City's city limits, offers rock climbing for all abilities.

Photograph by Chad Coppess, South Dakota Tourism

Pop. 65,491
GPS: 44º4'N, 103º14'W

These days, the glimmer of gold in the Black Hills may be the reflection off a mountain biker’s helmet. Rapid City boasts 300 miles (483 kilometers) of two-wheeling trails and a gnarly dirt-jump park. Kitschy Rushmore attractions add flavor, but locals head to the community theater or classical music hall instead.

PLAY

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures’ five-day mountain bike trip takes in the best of the Black Hills terrain: You’ll pedal portions of the Centennial Trail and the Deerfield Trail and camp out lakeside along the way. On day three, legs are given a rest when the group takes a party barge out on a lake for some swimming and R&R; trips depart from Rapid City ($1,185 per person; www.westernspirit.com).

EAT

The menu at the Corn Exchange changes with the seasons, but the local, organic fare has included pan-fried pheasant dumplings and house-smoked South Dakota trout (www.cornexchange.com).

SLEEP

Look out over Rapid Creek from the wraparound two-story porch of Hisega Lodge. Nestled on the edge of the Black Hills National Forest, the rustic inn has been a popular destination for 100 years (doubles from $99; www.hisegalodge.net).

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