Days 1-5: Spearfish to Burgess Junction

Days 1-5: Spearfish to Burgess Junction

Day 1: Spearfish to Devils Tower

Ride With Woody officially kicked off today! We started the day at Camp Native HQ with the team and local media sending us off. Cody took off in the van to take photos of 5 or 6 properties while Woody began peddling West to Wyoming. From a thunderstorm to the negative effects of a dreaded twinkie to a popped tire (a big thank you to Jesse and his family from Rushmore Mountain Sports in Spearfish), anything that could go wrong did go wrong up until we got to Devils Tower Tipi Campground.

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We ended up covering 58 miles and the payload was awesome. Devils Tower Tipi Campground is stunning and features a series of beautiful tipis on the rim of Devils Canyon that overlook our nation’s first monument, Devils Tower. This campground is electricity-free, allowing families to create memories and experience nature without the distractions of everyday life. The owner was very friendly and provided a guided tour as well as a fresh pan of brownies.

Devils Tower National Monument has nearly 400,000 visitors every year, many of which are families. The unique rock formations, short hiking trails, Junior Ranger programs, amazing night-sky viewing, and the historical importance of this site make it an ideal destination for family members of all ages.

Day 2: Devils Tower to Gillette

Sleeping in a Tipi was pretty cool! We had storms throughout the night but awoke to a beautiful day with clear views of devil’s tower. We learned a little about the history of the tower. The Native Americans called it Bear Lodge and it’s been a sacred place to them for centuries. When the first white men came through, they translated the native meaning incorrectly and called it “Devils Tower.” The tower became the first national monument in 1906 when Teddy Roosevelt formed the National Park system. Find camping near Devils Tower.

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We covered 48 miles from Devils Tower to Rozet, Wyoming, a charming community near Gillette. We stayed the night at All Seasons RV Park, a friendly commuter RV park servicing I90 traffic between the Black Hills and the Bighorn Mountains. Click here to read more about this campground on Camp Native.

Today’s route brought us close to Keyhole Reservoir, a great family destination,  which has several beaches and is a great recreation area for boaters and campers. We ate at Rozet Bar and tried the deep fried gizzards. The burger is recommended.  Find camping near Keyhole Reservoir.

Day 3: Gillette to Buffalo

Today was the longest ride I had scheduled for the entire trip. It was a grueling 104-mile ride with over 6,000 feet of elevation gain on mostly gravel roads. We traveled West to Buffalo, Wyoming, which is nestled in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains.

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We stayed at the Buffalo KOA, a nice campground located between Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone National Park. We pitched the tent near the creek and slept like a rock!

Buffalo is a beautiful old west style town. There are lots of great restaurants, and it has a small but vibrant downtown. It’s a great location for taking day trips into the Bighorns for hiking, fishing, mountain biking, wildlife viewing, hunting, horseback riding, and much more! There are multiple family-friendly museums and historical sites in the area, including the infamous hideout of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Find camping near Buffalo, Wyoming.

Day 4: Buffalo to Sheridan

This was the easiest day so far. I biked to Sheridan, Wyoming, which was about 41 miles and offered nice views of the Bighorn Mountains and rolling ranch land. I came across a construction site that was 3 miles long and was forced to follow a lead vehicle through the construction site. I pedaled as hard as I could, averaging about 18 mph, but I’m sure the train of cars behind me were not impressed.

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We stayed at KOA Sheridan/Big Horns. It was a busy campground with lots of amenities. The property is just 2 miles from downtown Sheridan and a short 20 minute drive to the Bighorn Mountains. Find campgrounds near Sheridan here.

The first place I sought out in Sheridan was Blacktooth Brewery. It was a great downtown brewery with modern interior design in what appears to have been an old warehouse. They had a Thai food truck outside which paired well with a couple of their beers. Sheridan has a vibrant downtown and I was sorry to not have the chance to check out more of it. Fun family activities nearby include the Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument, Shell Falls, Fort Phil Kearny State Historic Site, and Kendrick Park. The Bighorn National Forest is close by and offers great opportunities for ATVing, wildlife viewing, hiking, biking, and fishing.

Day 5: Sheridan to Burgess Junction

I woke up at 3am to an unexpected thunderstorm. I was sleeping without my rain cover, so I quickly scrambled to get it on while fighting 30mph wind gusts. I finally got it on, but not before everything in the tent got wet. At least I had the presence of mind to put my sleeping bag under the cot so I was able to change out and get a couple more hours of sleep. Lesson learned, don’t trust the forecast! The rain persisted off and on throughout the day. I got good use out of my Pearl Izumi Men’s P.R.O. Barrier Lite Jacket which can easily be folded up inside of a bike bag. The climb up the mountains was extremely difficult, but also breathtakingly beautiful. Overall, I covered 42 miles but had some real punchy climbs for a total of 6,100 feet of elevation gain.

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Cody was able to get an overflow lakeside campsite at Sibley Lake Campground, an excellent US Forest Service campground located on a gorgeous mountain lake. The campground can be found along the Bighorn Scenic Byway near Burgess Junction.  The evening brought low fifties and a dense fog, so we were happy to build a fire and then head to bed early. Find campgrounds in the Bighorn Mountains here.

This area is ideal for hiking, mountain biking, lake and stream fishing, scenic drives, canoeing, boating, and picnicking.


We have partnered with Big City Mountaineers to raise $5,000 to give the gift of camping to under-resourced youth. If you would like to help us reach our goal and support this amazing non-profit, you can donate here. Thanks for your continued support! Follow the campaign at ridewithwoody.com

 

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