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Off-Road Trails: South Dakota

Thousands of miles of off-road trails are ready to be explored

Photo credit: Nagel Photography/Shutterstock.com
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Riding in the hills of South Dakota is always an adventure and starting outside of the Rapid City area and heading towards Sioux Falls you can find many locations for riding all different types of motorized vehicles. There are 21 OHV trailheads in the national forest alone. According to the USDA website, there are over 3,600 miles of incredible trails with over 700 miles being open to motorized travel in the Black Hills National Forest. Looking for that ultimate ride location to test out the newest in side-by-side technology like the Honda Talon 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve or 1000R Fox Live Valve? South Dakota will have what you are looking for. From the wilderness of the Black Hills National Forest to the public OHV destinations such as Oahe Downstream OHV, there are plenty of challenging locations to explore.

Trails and terrain will include many rocky outcroppings with technical climbs as well as old flat road beds with hard pack gravel for the less experienced. The old logging roads and woodland trails bring out the inner explorer in many children as well as adults. This is where you will definitely realize that life is better on a Honda. An all-terrain vehicle like the Honda Talon, equipped with a specifically formulated tires from Maxxis, gives you a leg up on the terrain so you can experience this area with confidence. Keeping an eye on the weather is also always a wise thing, as it can change quickly when you are having fun. This will turn the dust to mush and mudholes can fill up rapidly, making trails slick for the unsuspecting driver.

Finding a place to stay with the family is easy as there are many small family-owned bed and breakfast facilities along the way and modern hotels as well. With all of the modern conveniences of home wrapped in a package for off-roaders South Dakota is always on the top of the list when it comes to finding adventure in the outdoors. Be sure to bring along extra fuel to the trailhead and be aware of your machine’s fuel mileage. Getting stuck out here is not the end of the world, but it can make an otherwise great ride into a longer than anticipated walk back to the truck.

Distance 25+ Miles

Skill Level All

Location Fort Pierre, SD

Oahe Downstream OHV

Distance 25+ Miles

Skill Level All

Location Fort Pierre, SD

Located just across the 1806 highway from the Missouri River, the Oahe Downstream OHV gives the off-roader a place to stretch their legs so to speak. This 400-acre lot of mostly dirt trails includes some mild hill climbs as well as plenty of parking. Although there are no designated or marked trails on the property, the boundaries are clearly marked to keep riders from venturing onto private property surrounding the ride location. There is no fee to ride this location. If you wish to stay a few days, there is no overnight parking but the Oahe Downstream Campground is available for those who just cannot get enough of the area. Just picture a great day on the trails in your Honda Talon 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve and a quiet evening on the banks of the Missouri river watching the Bald Eagles land in the tops of the cottonwood trees there.

Honda-Talon-South-Dakota

Distance 41 Miles

Skill Level All

Location Riley Trailhead, SD

Merritt Trail System

Distance 41 Miles

Skill Level All

Location Riley Trailhead, SD

Utilizing almost 41 miles of trail the Merritt trail system in the Black Hills National Forest gives enthusiasts plenty of recreation opportunities. This trail system connects the Minnesota Ridge trail system to the central trails. Although some trails here have been known to be more challenging, there are plenty of easy to moderate trails for all riders and capabilities. Driving a vehicle like the Honda Talon 1000X Fox Live Valve should be a breeze here, as the automatic DCT transmission will do all of the shifting for you so you can enjoy the trails. If you wish to bring along the family, which is encouraged, you can slip down to the Pactola visitor center and camping there can be arranged. Fill the days with SxS riding and the evenings with some fishing or just a simple campfire to while away the hours.

Distance 50 Miles

Skill Level All

Location Farmingdale, SD

Railroad Buttes

Distance 50 Miles

Skill Level All

Location Farmingdale, SD

Located just off of Farmingdale Folsom road, the Railroad Buttes OHV riding area is a vast open landscape with trails both on the left and right side of the roadway. Most of the trail area is hard pack and mostly smooth riding. There are rugged hills to climb and test the Honda Talon’s Hill Start Assist feature. If you happen to stop and check out the view or a map while on an incline, when you want to get started again Hill Start Assist momentarily holds the brake the while driver transitions to the accelerator from a dead stop. The Talon’s I-4WD should prove to also be a great advantage here, as well as the comfort of the Talon’s passenger compartment. If you plan to bring all of the family, then the staging area is capable of handling large RV parking as well as primitive campers. Be sure to check the roll out canopy on your RV as this will be the only shade you will find here.

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