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Tim from Cambridge on 9/22/2019 2:58:21 PM:
Hey guys, Tim here. I’m new to the bikepacking world and am in the process of packing my rig for a trip on either the Michelson Trail (Black Hills) for three days, or a trip on the Cowboy Trail. My lean is the Cowboy, as it seems less dangerous and is something I could probably do on my own. My question is this: I own a bear can from previous backpacking trips to Rocky Mountain National Park and the Wind River Range in Wyoming. However, it is large and I do not have the equipment nor the desire to pack it on my bike. I’m aware that there is no risk of bears on the Cowboy Trail, but is it necessary that I buy a bear bag to protect against other varmints and nuisances on the trail? Let’s just say I planned to camp every night. Do I need a bear bag, and if so, do I need to hang it? Thank you in advance for any responses!

 
DandyDon from Fairfield, Ohio on 9/23/2019 9:07:02 AM:
I bikepacked both the Michelson and the Cowboy trails on the same trip last August. I had no critter problem, I even kept all my food items inside my tent, well sealed in Ziploc baggies. Have done the same on the Katy, C&O, GAP, Natchez Trace, and other trails and had no problems.

 
Dougt from Onawa, Ia. on 9/23/2019 11:23:31 AM:
You'll be camping in towns on the Cowboy Trail, and I'd be surprised if any critters bothered you, although a racoon can pop up anywhere. I did the Cowboy Trail out and back Sept 9-14 and there was water over the trail in a lot of spots and some trail washouts in several places and at a couple of bridges. I haven't seen any updates as to whether these have been repaired so be advised. I've done 160 miles on the Mickelson Trail a couple of years ago and it's beautiful and well-maintained. Better maintained than the Cowboy Trail by far. The Cowboy Trail is more of a "roughing-it adventure" than the Mickelson, in my view. Just my 2 cents worth.....