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Saturday, July 15, 2023

The Grassland Gravel event showcases the 116,000 acres of rolling mixed-grass prairie of the Fort Pierre National Grassland.

The Grassland Gravel ride starts and ends at the Richland Dam Dispersed Recreation Site, approximately 17 miles south of Fort Pierre. There are three route distances that feature wide sky spaces and sparse traffic of gravel roads and doubletrack across three counties. Prospective routes are shown below.

The event is operated under special use permit with the Fort Pierre National Grassland.

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Grassland Gravel: About

Details about the 2023 event will be provided as soon as available.

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Update: July 20, 2021

With highs of 100 degrees forecasted for the rest of the week, the start time for the ride has been moved to 7:00 a.m. (CT) to give you more time riding in the cooler part of the day.

Please be at the Richland Dam recreation area by 6:30 a.m. (CT).  We will have a quick safety brief at 6:50 a.m. and all rides will now start together.  The rider guide has been updated to reflect these changes and is linked below.

Be prepared for the heat. Carry plenty of water with you and drink frequently.  Aid stations will have water and flavored electrolyte tablets to mix in your bottle to help you stay hydrated. Know your body and your limits - you are responsible for your own safety and wellbeing.

We're looking forward to seeing you this weekend! Be sure to read the rider guide. It has the schedule and important tips for the course and equipment.

Grassland Gravel: About

Event information

Like many gravel events, the ride will be beautiful but challenging. The surfaces on each route include packed and loose gravel, bare dirt road, and double track.

On remote open prairie, there is little traffic, but also no commercial locations, no trees, and the ranches can be miles apart. One stocked aid station will be shared by all 3 routes, but come prepared to self-support with water, food, tools, and sunscreen.

Online registration is now open through July 19, 2021. Registration includes a custom Grassland Gravel buff/neck gaiter, stocked aid station, and lunch after your ride at Drifters Bar & Grille in Fort Pierre.

The registration fee for all routes is $45 through Wednesday, June 30, 2021.  Registration fees increase to $60 on July 1, 2021. Online registration closes on Monday, July 19, 2021. Onsite registration is available only at packet pickup the evening of Friday, July 23, 2021. There are no refunds and entries are non-transferrable.

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The 19-mile route is a good introduction to riding gravel on the National Grassland. The rolling county gravel roads are single lane, can be loose in spots, and cross cattle grates. It will also give you a feel for how remote you can get in the ocean of prairie just a short distance from the state's oldest town.

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Off into the grass you go! The 34-mile route includes 5 miles of doubletrack of FSR 202 as it connects you between two county gravel roads. Keep an eye out for the ride's mascot - the greater prairie chicken and its close relative the sharp-tailed grouse. There's more climbing to do on this route, with more than 1,000 feet of up.

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Double the doubletrack fun! You'll go through 2 sections of FSR doubletrack and FSR 217 is an adventure - never mind the road closed sign as you enter (that's for vehicles only) and close the gate behind you as you exit on the south end. This one's not for the feint of conditioning. There's 1,600 feet of climbing on the sometimes steep rollers.

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