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Some of the sections of the trail are remote, so be sure to bring enough supplies. The Centennial Trail opens up to frequent, long views on the surrounding Black Hills. Seven to ten days is about average, but you could probably go faster (or slower) if you wanted to. Tamarack Gulch 11. Trail No. The trail regularly crosses creeks and passes several lakes. There are no shelters on the trail. 6. Flume 15. The 123-mile Centennial Trail runs from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. It's a fabulous quilt. The trail maybe hiked continuously, starting at either terminus or hiked as individual sections. Fires, efforts to remove pine-beetle infested trees, thinning, and other forest-health initiatives are making the ecosystem more amenable to black bears. Transportation to the trailhead when parking at one end can be done through Prairie Hills Transit. At all. There are plenty of spots to pop a tent for backcountry camping. Bear Butte Reservoir, as seen from the summit of Bear Butte at sunset. The trail is short enough that it’s possible to thru-hike without a resupply. Marking the 100th anniversary of statehood, 1889 - 1989, the 111-mile Centennial Trail represents the diversity of South Dakota. Leave a Reply Cancel reply. . You can hike this trail either direction. Pilot Knob 8. The trail then continues to the Badger Hole, home of South Dakota's first Poet Laureate, and the Centennial Trail… https://rootsrated.com/south-dakota-sd/hiking/centennial-trail-hiking The canopy is not as dense as in eastern forests and there are many grassy, shadeless miles. 1. Also the Nemo Guest Ranch near the South Boxelder Creek Traihead – Owners Troy and Willie are great and accommodating people. -Raptors–bald and golden eagles, hawks, falcons and vultures The owners of that page are the authors of the CT guidebook that you can buy, and they make a point to do water reports. The guidebook mentions numerous official campsites and trailheads, noting availability of water, parking, and so on. Other than paying to stay one potentially rainy night in an open-sided stone shelter at the Dalton Lake campground, and one night in the private Whispering Pines campground just off the trail, I stealth camped during the whole hike (but it’s allowed, so not really that stealthy). Does anyone have advice for the optimal section of the trail? The Centennial Trail was established in 1989 to mark the celebration of South Dakota's Centennial. It could be a nice introduction to long-distance hiking or a training hike for those set on a longer Western trail such as the Pacific Crest Trail or Continental Divide Trail. I wish I did not know this, but it was a necessary option in Custer State Park as I was outnumbered about 50 to 1. Although it is point-to-point, you can also do it as an out-and-back. Expect a rich experience, from the iconic Mount Rushmore to herds of wild buffalo and frequent views of rugged landscapes beyond the 100thmeridian. It's even possible to see the back of Mount Rushmore from some of the hills. 9 talking about this. It crosses some outstanding scenery and hits highlights such as Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Black Hills National Forest. It is 111 miles long and runs from Bear Butte State Park, through the Black Hills, runs near Mount Rushmore and through Custer State Park, ending at Wind Cave National Park. All Trails does not have the complete Cemtennial Trail but only a few sections. Rapid Shuttle picks up passengers at the airport; costs as of September 2019 were $75 to Sturgis (my shuttle driver took me all the way to Bear Butte for $80 on request) and $120 to Hot Springs. After a few early mishaps that added irritating sideways miles to the day, the author adopted an attitude of almost weenie-like vigilance, tromping back to find the last marker at the first inkling of doubt. Scenery: Rolling hills, open grasslands and low mountains with elevations up to 5,800 feet. The Centennial Trail through Custer State Park was mostly fire roads that were easy to follow. SD Centennial Trail Thru Hike? There are some difficult sections, so you can either seek them out or avoid them depending on what kind of day hike you are looking for. I can help with any shuttles on a Sunday. Section mileages can vary between various maps and guides. About 6 miles from the trailhead, the trail crosses US Highway 16A near the Legion Lake Lodge and campground. That was a crazy experience. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. “89” markers were strategically placed along the correct route though, guiding me … I strongly encourage 5 liters of hydration capacity. On the flip side, do we need to worry about crossing Elk Creek? Anytime. I can help shuttle you around and info on the area. Navigation: Mostly (but not entirely) well-marked. Does anyone have advice for the optimal section of the trail? Thank you; it’s a great mid-length trail, for sure. An award winning hiking and photography book that is a comprehensive guide to the Centennial Trail located in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota. They are still the best option. My biggest … Dalton 6. After Lake Pactoral the water quickly dried up. Expect to see them. Esta es una parte del Sendero Centenario de 113 millas que se extiende desde Bear Butte hasta el Parque Nacional Wind Cave. The Centennial Trail represents South Dakota history, geography and biodiversity at its best. May be headed to the Black Hills soon and will try to tramp some of these miles. Description of trail. Moving north from Custer State Park through the wilderness, you move back into the Forest Service land once past Mount Rushmore. Centennial Trail, South Dakota. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. You’re welcome. I am new to backpacking and am fit and fifty (almost). It runs for over 100 miles north/south through the Black Hills region. The 124-mile Centennial Trail runs from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. An award winning hiking and photography book that is a comprehensive guide to the Centennial Trail located in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota. Terrain: Easy to strenuous. There are several small stream crossings. If you do a google search for South Dakota’s Centennial Trail, the first thing that pops up is a PDF from the USDA Forest Service. 7. Your email address will not be published. The trail starts at Bear Butte State Park, an area long considered sacred to Native Americans. The National Geographic maps are somewhat out of date. 1889 to 1989, the 111-mile Centennial Trail represents the diversity of South Dakota. Be mindful of where you pitch a tent; look for bison sign–feces, matted grass where animals have bedded down—and make camp where there’s nothing a buffalo might have a hankering for at 2 a.m.; i.e., grass or water. This is not a race and there is much to see and celebrate along the way. Would love to hear more details about the logistics. Bring insect repellent in warmer months, and it wouldn’t hurt to treat clothing with permethrin. The one common feature is a silhouette of a (presumably bison) skull. Any other helpful hints? Bear Butte: The Katahdin of the CET. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and backpacking and is best used from May until October. I am also curious about bikepacking this trail over a few days. I walked its entire length over five and a half days during excellent weather in late August and saw not one backpacker, perhaps 20 day hikers (total) around popular trailheads, and about 20 people riding horses or mules. By Lisa Jhung. 9. But with care, you won’t waste too much time toddling down stray cow-  or bison-paths. Total length: Elevation gain/loss: Selected Section. The trail can be hiked in the spring, summer, or fall, but it's best when the temperatures are a little cooler. This amazing 111-mile trail begins and ends at sacred Native American sites, starting at the summit of Bear Butte east of Sturgis and ending at Wind Cave National Park north of Hot Springs. The Black Forest Trail: 43 Miles of Pennsylvania's Beautiful Forests, Escape From New York on the Empire State Trail, Great Strides: Edward Payson Weston Was 'World's Greatest Pedestrian', Appalachian Trail Gear List for Older Hikers (Beginner-Friendly), Backpacker Radio 92 | Andrew Skurka Returns, How I Saved Hundreds on My AT Thru-Hike Gear List, The 2020 AT Section Hiker Survey: Motives and Logistics, 2021 PCT Long-distance Permits Will be Issued; Portal to Open January 19, A Complete List of Individual Permits Needed to Hike the PCT. 6. Most were followed by rather strenuous inclines so be prepared and take care of your feet! Backpacking in Wind Cave section of the Centennial Trail. It’s probably about time that we hike this thing.” This post is a review of the trail. (719) 351-5270. Like Us On Facebook! What better trail to try than South Dakota's own Centennial Trail (120 miles starting near Wind Cave, running through the heart of the Black Hills, up to Bear Butte)? 10. However, in 2018, when the guidebook authors section-hiked the trail, seasonal sources were frequently dry. August 30 — Starting the Centennial Trail Route I hiked this day With my below ground adventure complete, I perused the interesting visitor center, obtained my backcountry permit to camp in Wind Cave National Park, and headed out to conquer the 111 mile Centennial Trail. Cheyenne, Lakota, and Hunkpapa people tie colorful cloth prayer bundles to junipers and trees along the steep, spectacular ascent, and the summit offers spectacular 360-degree views. The Centennial Trail ends in Wind Cave National Park, home to one of the longest and most complex caves in the world. Hikers can walk from end to end in five days by averaging just under 25 miles a day, or seven days doing 17.5-mile days, which makes it possible to hike within a week’s vacation. Centennial Trail. They are incredible creatures, and make the hike worth it all on their own. I just finished the trail on May 22, 2020. Let’s talk about bison, aka buffalo, in Custer State Park and Wind Cave National Park. Centennial Trail French Creek, shown here, was one of several streams requiring a thigh-deep ford in August 2019. The Trail crosses prairie grasslands near Bear Butte State Park and climbs into the Black Hills, high country, skirting lakes and streams until it … I walked its entire length over five and a half days during excellent weather in lat… The Centennial Trail is almost entirely graded for stock, but becomes steep and rocky in a few places. The 124-mile Centennial Trail runs from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. Along the way it passes by seven bodies of water and Mt. I have so many questions and can find almost nothing about it! The Centennial Trail continues through several recreation areas and state parks, as well as the Black Hills National Forest. Rapid Creek 10. There is minimal elevation gain, but the trail is long and there are some difficult sections. The Centennial Trail runs for more than 100 miles along the central spine of the Black Hills, in Western South Dakota. A whistle can be effective for diverting stampeding buffalo. -Mountain goats I’m a local resident and long distance thru hiker. Will follow your post from now on. You will have to cross it several times. To mark the 100th anniversary of South Dakota statehood, from 1889 to 1989, the Centennial Trail was constructed. The trail is marked by wooden posts about every 100 meters. It runs in a north-south direction through western South Dakota, leading from Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. Flights are available and rental cars can be dropped off at Rapid City Regional Airport. It crosses some outstanding scenery and hits highlights such as Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park, and Black Hills National Forest. Then you can hike radially from your camp spot without your pack--or at least without it being fully loaded. Required fields are marked * Comment. Hoping to get back there in 2020 to finish it. Authors Cheryl Whetham and Jukka Huhtiniemi are locals; they maintain a Facebook group for the CET and post post semiregular water reports. Fees are required to camp in Forest Service campgrounds along the trail. I’m possibly cancelling starting my AT SOBO thru-hike (was going to start in about 1 month), and would like to perhaps take on the Centennial Trail beauty and challenge in the coming few weeks on a NOBO thru-hike. Learn more here. Hikers should be prepared to carry up to four liters of water in a drier year. Heading southwest along the creek, the #89 trail marker is easy to miss. Centennial Trail. I was grateful for having chosen a small hillock above a water source when, well after midnight, a hulking, grunting, growling bison bull—if there were such things as ogres, they’d sound like this—decided he needed a wee drink. It follows a route north to south and can be accessed from multiple trailheads. Bring sunscreen and sun-blocking lip balm. Fort Meade 3. Clay Bonnyman Evans. -Bighorn sheep You don’t have to worry about bears. We hiked about 7 miles of the trail and it was beautiful. Not only were all seasonal and reliable sources running well and lakes and reservoirs full, but also typically dry sources—even many wildcat sources—were flowing. -Elk May 29, 2013 Johnathan Karol. It continues to follow the trail markers through this gently rolling section of the park. You have an extremely good chance of seeing a bison/ogre in Custer State Park or Wind Cave National Park. Last summer was extraordinarily easy as far as H2O goes, but that’s not always the case! Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. Centennial Trail in South Dakota. Though generally well-marked, there are numerous places where I had to poke around a bit to determine which way to go. Samelius 16. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. South Dakota’s Centennial Trail was built in 1989 to celebrate the state’s 100-year birthday. It all depends on what the winter has been like, how dry the spring and summer are, etc. Thanks for the information and I really enjoyed your writing style. Also, the admittedly un-wilderness-y side trip to Mount Rushmore. A three-season tent and light sleeping bag or quilt should suffice from May through September, or even October, though it can snow in early fall. But come 2019, who knows ...? Trail Statistics. As I was reaching a milestone this year (ordination in the Wesleyan church), I wanted to do something bigger... a thru hike! Bear Butte Lake 2. Occasionally, after miles of comfortingly regular markers, they inexplicably go AWOL. 1. The chance of seeing an Ogre sold it!! French Creek Horse Camp 22. Notify me of new posts by email. This book is a comprehensive guide to hiking the Centennial Trail located in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota. The Centennial Trail was established in 1989 to mark the celebration of South Dakota's Centennial. Water was plentiful on the Centennial Trail in 2019, but hikers should research water sources carefully before setting out. 9 talking about this. The 111-mile Centennial Trail starts at Bear Butte State Park, continues through the Black Hills National Forest, and ends in Wind Cave National Park. Custer State Park requires a small entrance fee and there is only fee camping available at Bear Butte State Park. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Alkali Creek 4. If anyone needs assistance coming to the Black Hills , go ahead and give me a ring. The trail is remarkably uncrowded. It also takes you through Custer State Park, home to a wide variety of wildlife including a large herd of buffalo. Location: The trail traverses South Dakota’s Black Hills, running north-south between Bear Butte and Wind Cave National Park. I did a section of the trail from Alkali Creek to Nemo in the Sept of 2019. There is minimal elevation gain, but the distance plus the few difficult sections make this a great practice run for longer through-hikes like the Appalachian Trail or the Pacific Crest Trail. Centennial Trail in South Dakota The Centennial Trail begins at Bear Butte National Monument and ends at Windcave National Park at the Norbeck Trailhead. The trail crosses through some state park/fee areas. Map of Centennial Trail #89 Love Centennial Trail #89? But that may be changing. 89 was designed to represent the terrain common to western Continuing south from the highway (across a small stream) and following the trail markers up the hill to the right, this section of the trail enters an area burned in the 1988 Galena Fire. This bull was lying in the middle of the trail early in the morning. One of the best things about this trail is the variety of terrain that you will hike across, from pine and aspen forests to green rolling hills to vast, open prairie. For SOBOs, it comes before the trail’s most sustained and steepest ascent, reaching the 5,800-foot high point on the flanks of Mount Samelius. As of 26 May 2020, there is plenty of water at Elk Creek. 76 Trail; About; Annie Creek; Bald Eagle Viewing Trail; Built in 1989 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood, it starts near Bear Butte State Park near Sturgis and ends in Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs. Thanks! The trail maybe hiked continuously, starting at either terminus or hiked as individual sections. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. August 2019, for example, followed a wet spring and early summer, and water was plentiful all along the trail. Camping is allowed along most of the Centennial Trail. I will be recording with Coros watch synced to Strava and my family will crew. Pages. These are powerful, potentially aggressive animals; treat them as you would a bear and keep your distance. -Frogs and toads The Centennial Trail in some ways resembles the Appalachian Trail: The northern part of the trail is more challenging and finishes on a dramatic, prominent summit with spectacular 360-degree views. Water is available at numerous Forest Service campgrounds along the way, but water taken from other sources should be treated or filtered. You can also hike about a half mile off the trail to reach Whispering Pines campground, where there is limited resupply (candy bars, sports drinks, canned tuna, beer, etc.). Willow Creek 18. Rushmore. Thanks for your article! Description This trail is singletrack with sections of washout due to heavy horse use, cutting through the heart of the Black Elk Wilderness. Two great resupply caches and rest options are Introduction Marking the 100th anniversary of statehood, 1889 to 1989, the 111-mile Centennial Trail represents the diversity of South Dakota. But the trail passes close to small towns, stores, and other potential resupply spots, so shuttles are generally not needed. This PDF gives you helpful information about the trail and includes a map with trail distances from trailhead to … The total length of the trail is 111 miles. I got my trail name, Pony, in 2015 when I hiked the Colorado Trail. -Turkey Exposure is negligible and the trail is almost entirely graded for stock, but there is plenty of climbing. And for those with time before or after doing the miles, there is a plethora of cool things to see within an hour’s drive of the trail, including Devil’s Tower National Monument, Wind Cave and Jewel Cave (third longest cave in the world), the Mammoth Site (an active archaeological dig), hot springs, and more. Bear Butte, the northern terminus, is sacred to American Indian tribes in the region. I plan to hike the Centennial Trail May 2020. The trail leaves the trailhead and leads south, crossing SD Highway 87, and traverses a small hill. Answer 1 of 2: I would like to plan a 2-3 night backpacking trip on the Centennial Trail. Hi Jason, I am considering hiking the trail in June of 2020. Options include the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Black Hills Map Pack Bundle, US Forest Service literature, and the 2018 guidebook, Hiking Centennial Trail: A Guide to Hiking South Dakota’s Centennial Trail. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. NOBOs go from about 4,000 feet to nearly 5,500 feet over the first 23 miles, with a less jagged overall elevation profile. It's named after the barometric winds at the entrance of the cave, and features many unique cave formations. Snacks and drinks are available at the cafeteria and store at Mount Rushmore. Thousands of people travel to the Black Hills every year to discover everything the trail has to … Great Write-up on this Trail. It runs for over 100 miles north/south through the Black Hills region. Because it's 111 miles long, the Centennial Trail is great practice for longer through-hikes, or even just a wonderful day or overnight hike. The Centennial Trail through Custer State Park was mostly fire roads that were easy to follow. Rustic Ridge Guest Cabins near the Samelius Trailhead – owners Jim & Crystal are fantastic. This book is a comprehensive guide to hiking the Centennial Trail located in the beautiful Black Hills of western South Dakota. Keep in mind that water is a critical factor, and in a lower-snow year, some sources are likely to be dried up by late summer. I have so many questions and can find almost nothing about it! if that was mentioned in your article, i missed it. SOBOs start with a steep ascent of Bear Butte, then go from 3,200 feet to more than 5,200 feet (with plenty of ups and downs) within 20 miles. The vision for the trail came in the 1980s as South Dakota leaders organized a statewide centennial celebration that culminated in 1989. Clay Bonnyman Evans photo. This is a great place to hold up for a night. < trail information ; Videos ; Images ; Getting there from South to north starting July. Trail name, Pony, in the beautiful Black Hills of western Dakota... For whatever reason i tend to gravitate toward this lesser known 100-200 mile Trails quiet is... Park requires a small entrance fee and there is plenty of challenge attention water... Early-Autumn highs are in the centennial trail south dakota thru-hike for much of the Cave, and a! Rugged path through the Black Hills, go ahead and give me a ring established in 1989 mark! Your distance thru-hiking is little known in the 60s or 70s, with lows in the morning make sure have! 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