M Hill – Fun Trails Right in Town!
The first ride mentioned by Matt, an employee at Black Hills Bicycles, was M Hill (also called Cowboy Hill or HLMP Hill). He said the name and pointed across the street. I looked up to see a hill smooth on the left, jagged and rocky on the right, with a bunch of radio towers on top.
He stated, “The riding up there is actually pretty good. If you take that jeep road to the top you will have various flowy singletracks to choose from for your return to the bottom. The biggest drawback to riding up there are the number of dog-walkers you have to dodge!”
Matt went on to tell me a whole bunch about several different trails in the Black Hills (thanks again Matt) which I will undoubtedly try later in the week.
But, since I was starting after 5 o’clock and I had had only a few hours of sleep (due to the early departure time of my flight) I decided to give M Hill a try. So I drove over to Founders Park, crossed the bridge spanning a heavy flowing Rapid Creek, and started up the hill.
I decided to attempt riding up on of the single tracks marked with a Blue Icon, which I felt would not be too steep yet more interesting than a fire road. The trail was very busy, with several dog-walkers and bikers coming down. I even had a couple of studs pass me on the way up!
I had a blast on M Hill. I tried every trail I could, and only quit because of darkness. I found a variety of trails up on M Hill. Each trail was well marked with a name and a difficulty rating (Red, Black, Blue … hardest to easiest). I didn’t see any trails marked Green, the color usually used for the easiest. But come to think of it, no one would recommend any of these trails to a beginner, for they all worked their way down a very steep hill.
At times I could not see the city and felt like I was in the middle of nowhere. But then, I would come around a corner and clearly see Rapid City below.
The most challenging trail on M Hill was labeled “Dirk’s Draw.” I am proud to say I rode about 95% of this trail, having to get off and walk a couple of real tricky rock drops. If I was not in South Dakota (far from San Diego) or with another rider (to reassure me or help haul me out) I think I would have tried (and successfully completed) all of the obstacles on the run.
Yup, the clock must have struck 8 pm as I exited across the bridge and into the Founders Park parking lot. How did I know the time? Because when I went to the food truck in the parking lot (which Matt also highly recommended) they said they were closed. I looked at my watch only to discover an 8:10 reading. I know time just keeps ticking … but I had not realized how fast it passes on M Hill!
*Interesting Note- While riding a trail called Victoria Lake the next day I met two young-stud riders from Black Hills Bicycles. Their names … Ian and Dirk. Yup, Dirk’s Draw was named for him!
My other rides in the Black Hills are listed below: