Photograph by Chad Coppess, South Dakota Tourism
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.
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).
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).
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).