Hiking The Centennial Trail

The 2nd most popular hiking trail in South Dakota.

  Black Hills, South Dakota, US


  July 14, 2016

Near Rapid City in the Black Hills National Forest, the Black Hills boasts 6000 miles of hiking trails and dirt roads through majestic pine covered forests. Centennial Trail is the perfect way to experience the Black Hills for an hour, a day or a week. Known as Trail No. 89, the trail is a lasting legacy of South Dakotas 1989 centennial year of statehood. Its 111-mile length explores the diversity of South Dakota. This is the longest trail in the Black Hills, with more than two dozen access points at intervals of 3 to 10 miles.Youll experience old growth forests, sunny meadows dotted with wildflowers, towering granite crags and remote canyons. With luck you ll see turkeys, deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and bison. The trail runs from Bear Butte to Wind Cave climbing over 2400. The Centennial Trail crosses the prairie grasslands near Bear Butte State Park and climbs into the Black Hills high country, skirting lakes and streams until it reaches Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs. The United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish, and Parks have combined their efforts to develop this trail.

Five agencies manage Centennial Trail, and each has slightly different user regulations. Centennial Trail begins in the north at the top of Bear Butte. The butte is a laccolith formed by molten magma intrusion that has been exposed by erosion of the surrounding prairie lands. At 4,422 feet, Bear Butte rises 1,400 feet above the surrounding prairie offering panoramic views of the Black Hills. Bear Butte is a sacred place for the Native Americans. Be aware of any ceremonies or individual pilgrimages to avoid being an onlooker.

The southern end of the Centennial Trail is the Norbeck Dam Trailhead located ten miles north of Hot Springs, SD on US Highway 385. The northern end of the trail is Bear Butte State Park located nine miles northeast of Sturgis, SD on South Dakota Highway 79.

Overall, Centennial Trail is the 2nd most popular hiking trail of all 10 hikes in South Dakota. Several of the better hiking trails are nearby Centennial Trail including Sundance Trail System, Norbeck - Grizzly Creek Loop, Mickelson Trail, Deerfield Trail, Little Spearfish / Rimrock Trails and Old Baldy Trail.

Local Contacts:  Black Hills National Forest (605) 673-9200; SD Tourism (800) 732-5682.

Best Season:  May - Sep

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  NFS Bismark Lake CG

Luxury Loding:  Sylvan Lake Cabins (605) 255-4515; Cottonwood Lodge (605) 642-2234

Breakfast Restaurant:  Sylvan Lake Lodge

GPS:  44.1073, -103.5356

Date Published:  5/18/2016

Date Updated:  7/14/2016

ID:  7000

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