Black Hills National Forest Hiking Overview

There's great hiking all over the Black Hills. Inaugurated in 1989, the Centennial Trail stretches from Bear Butte Mountain in the north to Wind Cave National Park. It makes a good choice for a multi-day backpacking trip, or you can take it in sections. The Harney Range Trail System is another good choice for backpacking trips, offering the opportunity to make loops through the Black Elk wilderness.

Possible day hikes are numerous. If you want a quiet trail, with no annoying mountain bikes or even horses, the Flume Trail, a National Recreation Trail, follows the path of an old logging flume for 14 miles. Those after a gentler experience should look twice at the Cook Lake and Cliff Swallow trails, which combine into 4.5 miles of natural interest.

But these are just some of the treasures. GORP has assembled a directory of Black Hills trails, all of which have something to offer.

Multi-Use Trails
Numbers correspond with the map above.

Centennial Trail111 miles. A landmark trail that stretches across the north-south length of the Black Hills. Mixed use.
George S. Mickelson114 miles. Rail trail from Deadwood to Edgewood. Gentle grades. Mixed use.
1. Cook Lake Trail & Cliff Swallow Trail4.5 miles. Good wildlife trail. Hiking, biking.
2. Bearlodge Trails50.3 miles. Home of the annual Fat-tire Biking Challenge for mountain bikers. Hiking, biking, horses, skiing.
3. Crow Peak Trail3.5 miles. Challenging hike to a 360° view over three states. Hiking, horses; no bikes.
4. Big Hills Trails16.5 miles. Spearfish Canyon rim country. Skiing, hiking, biking.
5. Baldy Trail, Rimrock Trail & Little Spearfish Trail18 miles. Canyon rims and peak tops—where the winter scenes from Dances with Wolves were filmed. Hiking, biking, horses.
6. Eagle Cliff Trails14 miles. Self-guided loop system that were originally developed for cross-country skiing. Skiing, hiking, biking.
7. Veterans Point1 mile. Downhill to a good fishing lake. Accessible hiking trail.
8. Deerfield & Lake Loop Trail28 miles. Gentle trails through scenic canyons. Hiking, biking, horses, skiing.
9. Bear Mountain Trails16.1 miles. Breathtaking views and lots of wildlife. Skiing, hiking, biking.
10. Flume Trail14 miles. Follows an old logging flume. Hiking only.
11. Harney Range Trail System50 miles of trails, 14 trailheads, many in the Black Elk Wilderness. Hiking, biking, horses.
12. Hells Canyon Trail6 miles. Follows a bench below limestone cliff for outstanding views of Eagle Canyon. Hiking, biking horses.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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