Near Rapid City in the Black Hills National Forest, the Black Hills boasts 6000 miles of trails and dirt roads through majestic pine covered forests open to horseback riding. 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.
Note, horses are not allowed in the eastern portion of Bear Butte State Park. Throughout the trail, there are a few sections signed for hikers only -- follow the bypass routes.
Overall, Centennial Trail is the 2nd most popular horse trail of all 17 horseback rides in South Dakota.