Black Hills National Forest

Hiking Flume Trail

The historic Flume Trail takes you back in time to the mining boom of the 1880's. The Rockerville Flume carried water 20 miles, from Spring Creek west of present day Sheridan Lake, east to the placer diggings near Rockerville. The flume operated until 1885, and enabled miners to take over $20 million in gold.

The trail follows the actual flume bed for much of its length. Along the way you'll see historic artifacts and parts of the flume itself. Please treat these historic objects with respect, so that others who follow can enjoy this rich history of the Black Hills. Please don't remove artifacts from the flume or the trail. Because of these fragile artifacts, this is a hikers only trail.

Elevation: 4,400-5,300 feet
Length: 11 miles plus 3-mile loop
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
Location: Sheridan Lake to Rockerville
Uses: Hikers only

Special features along the trail include:

  • Spring Creek Canyon, a scenic walk-in fishery just below Sheridan Lake Dam
  • Two flume tunnels about a half mile below the dam
  • Spring Creek Loop, a three mile circle route on the north end of the trail
  • Boulder Hill, a high rocky vista with spectacular views of the eastern Black Hills, plains and Badlands.
Along the trail you'll find several informative signs that explain the history of the Rockerville Flume.

Flume Trail takes you through forests of tall pine, meadows dotted with wildflowers, and deep shaded canyons. You may glimpse the area's abundant wildlife which includes deer, turkey, numerous small mammals and many species of birds.

Flume Trail is a unique way to experience the Black Hills for an hour or a day. The trail has been named a National Recreation Trail.


Calumet Trailhead at the east end of Sheridan Lake also serves Centennial Trail.

Boulder Hill Trailhead , two miles north of US 16, serves the mid-section of the trail as well as the Spring Creek Loop.

Coon Hollow Trailhead , just west of Rockerville, serves the east end of the trail.

Along the southeast shore of Sheridan Lake, the Flume Trail and the 111-mile Centennial Trail share the same path. At the dam Centennial Trail goes north, while Flume Trail continues east.

If you're feeling energetic, take the spur trail to the top of Boulder Hill. From the 5,331-foot summit you'll have great views of the higher western Black Hills, and east to the plains and Badlands. This is a fairly strenuous hike that gains several hundred feet in elevation in a short distance. A primitive unmarked road takes you to the base of the mountain's west side. From there it's just a 10 minute hike to the top.

Flume Trail is one of two National Recreation Trails on the Black Hills National Forest (the other one is Lost Cabin Trail.) Look for the distinctive red, white and blue trail signs.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 24 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

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