By Jon Crowley
My wife Teresa and I recently had the opportunity to join Yamaha Outdoors in South Dakota to experience a Destination Yamaha location in the Black Hills National Forest. Our base of operations was the Mystic Hills Hideaway. We rode for 1 1/2 days in a Yamaha Wolverine X2 that was rented at this location, then explored other areas nearby by car. Overall, the Black Hills offer not only great riding opportunities, but also many other activities that will keep almost any family entertained for days.
Black Hills National Forest – The Black Hills National Forest covers more than 1.2 million acres in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, with activities for just about anyone who likes to spend time outdoors. For OHV enthusiasts, there are over 700 miles of designated motorized trails that are available within the Black Hills National Forest. Many of the trails are connected by 500 miles of “Roads Open to All Vehicles,” which together, provide abundant opportunities for planning OHV outings of various degrees of difficulty and lengths, including loop route options. There are currently 21 designated motorized trailheads on the Forest.
Destination Yamaha – Destination Yamaha provides opportunities for families and individuals to experience new and exciting adventures they may have never imagined possible. Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, recently expanded its “Destination Yamaha” rental program with new locations across the country featuring the most comprehensive and diverse line of adventure vehicles available to rent.
Through Destination Yamaha, people can choose from an ever-expanding list of exciting locations and authorized rental partners for a trip of a lifetime. With operations in places like Moab in Utah, the Black Hills of South Dakota, Hatfield McCoy in West Virginia, the Appalachians of Tennessee, even Las Vegas, Alaska and many more, Destination Yamaha caters to a wide variety of adventures. More details and rental locations can be found at: www.DestinationYamahaUSA.com.
Mystic Hills Hideaway – Mystic Hills Hideaway is an OHV destination resort featuring 14 cabins and 70 full hookup RV. The facilities include a lodge, a full menu restaurant, a shower house, and a playground. It is situated in the Black Hills National Forest ¾ of a mile off highway 385 with immediate access to forest OHV trails. They also have a large fleet of Yamaha Wolverine X2 and Wolverine X4 available for rent. More information can be found online at www.mystichillshideaway.com.
Mystic Hills Hideaway is perfect situated to ride in the Black Hills and the Yamaha Wolverine X2 and Wolverine X4 are excellent vehicles for this terrain. They are setup for either two (x2) or four (X4) people and are very easy for novice riders to use and capable enough to keep hardcore enthusiast entertained.
With just the two of us, the Wolverine X2 was the ticket. Comfortable seating for the two of us, with great visibility and a good size bed in the back for gear and an ice chest.
One thing that truly amazed me about the Mystic Hills Hideaway rental fleet of 15 Wolverine X2s and 10 Wolverine X4s is they are all about 2 years old and most units have over 5,000 miles on them. The Wolverine X2 we were driving had 5,400 miles on it, and it was as solid as the new units we drove as the media introduction with less than 100 miles. No strange squeaks, rattles or clunks, just a well built and maintained machine.
In addition, in the last few years that Mystic Hills Hideaway has been running the Wolverine X2 and X4, they have never had to replace a belt. That’s 25 units with 4,000 to 6,000 miles on them in a rental fleet! Truly amazing when you think about all the hard miles they’ve been driven in high gear when they should be in low range. The Yamaha Ultramatic transmission is tuned perfectly, and Yamaha is confident enough in it to give a 10 year CVT belt warranty!
Deadwood – Deadwood is a city in South Dakota known for its gold rush history. Mount Moriah Cemetery has the graves of Wild West figures like Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. Exhibits at the Adams Museum include a huge gold nugget and a plesiosaur fossil. The 1892 Historic Adams House is a Victorian mansion with original features. South of town, the George S. Mickelson Trail leads through the Black Hills National Forest.
Sturgis – Sturgis is notable as the location of one of the largest annual motorcycle events in the world, which is held on the first full week of August. Motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world migrate to this town during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Mickelson Trail – Bike/Hike trail was originally the Burlington Northern rail line that carried trains from Edgemont to the northern Black Hills and the gold mines of the Deadwood area. It was converted to a bike trail in the late 1990’s and is 109 miles long with with 15 trailheads and more than 100 converted railroad bridges and four hard rock tunnels along the 109 mile route.
Mount Rushmore – Everyone has heard of Mt. Rushmore, and it is so close that you have to swing by if you haven’t done so.
Crazy Horse Memorial – The Crazy Horse Memorial is a mountain monument under construction on privately held land in the Black Hills. It will depict the Oglala Lakota warrior, Crazy Horse, riding a horse and pointing into the distance. The monument has been in progress since 1948 and is far from completion. Once finished, the sculpture will dwarf the presidents at Mt. Rushmore.
Custer State Park and Needles Highway – Needles Highway was a highlight for us. Vehicle size is very limited, but the scenery is spectacular. The Custer State Park Wildlife Loop is also popular.
Wind Cave National Park – Wind Cave National Park is most known for its cave, but when we went, it was closed for repair.
Badlands National Park – Badlands National Park is east of Rapid City about 60+ miles. Its dramatic landscapes span layered rock formations, steep canyons and towering spires. Bison, bighorn sheep and prairie dogs inhabit its sprawling grasslands. The Badlands Loop Road (Highway 240) winds past scenic lookouts.