DEADWOOD -- Horse lovers and history buffs throughout Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota have a chance this summer to participate in a historic ride to retrace the old Miles City to Deadwood Trail. Much of the 200-mile trail remains open and true-to-life as it was in the days of Luther “Yellowstone” Kelly and Calamity Jane.
The riders will leave Miles City on Aug. 20 and arrive in Deadwood on Sept. 4. Deadwood is hosting a citywide celebration to mark the event when the ride arrives in town. Riders can sign on to ride the entire distance, or choose days in which to participate. Registration is now open for the ride.
Yellowstone Kelly mapped the trail from Fort Keogh (Miles City) to Deadwood as a telegraph line in 1878, two years after the rough-and-tumble Deadwood Gulch mining camp was established. Until about 1887, the trail served as a tri-weekly mail and freight route through the wilderness. Calamity Jane, who spent time in both Miles City and Deadwood, is among the noteworthy figures believed to have traveled the trail.
“The trail is loaded with history,” local organizer Alan Loken said.
The 2010 Historic Miles City to Deadwood Trail Ride is open to participants using horses, mules and wagons. Overnight stops in Montana, Wyoming and South Dakota communities along the trail will include programs, entertainment and celebrations.
It is also being set up with discounts for multiple riders in a single group.
“We are really gearing it for families to do this,” Loken said.
Rider fees cover the evening events and amenities including water for animals, portable toilets, transportation to and from evening camps, commemorative keepsakes, the trail’s end celebration in Deadwood. Proceeds from the ride go to raise funds for the Days of ’76 Museum in Deadwood.
Ride organizers hope to promote the heritage of the West and to have the Miles City to Deadwood Trail included as a National Historic Trail.
“The ride will be an adventure and a hands-on, colorful lesson for all participants,” committee co-chairman Michael Greslin said in a prepared release. “The ride will cover unique terrain, with most areas unchanged since the trail’s inception. Riders will definitely enjoy this trail and play a role in keeping history alive.”
Registration forms are available by calling the Deadwood Chamber at 578-1876.