Welcome to the tranquil expanse of Western South Dakota, a haven for hikers, walkers, and backpackers alike. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty and serene landscapes that span more than 450 miles of marked trails across Black Hills National Forest and surrounding State and National Parks. Catering to every level of enthusiasm and expertise—from leisurely nature walks to challenging expeditions—these trails offer an unparalleled experience amidst the rugged charm of the Black Hills.

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Top 5 Essentials for Your Backpacking Checklist

  1. The Basics of Gear: Always pack plenty of water, wear layered clothing to adapt to changing weather, and don reliable hiking boots. Your camp essentials should include a sturdy tent, a sleeping bag suitable for the climate, nutritious food items, and a compact cooking stove.
  2. Protection is Key: Never underestimate the power of bug spray and sunscreen to enhance your comfort outdoors. Pack ample toiletries, and if room allows, bring a camera to capture the stunning vistas and wildlife you’ll encounter.
  3. Plan and Inform: Before setting off, ensure someone knows your plans - share your itinerary and expected return time. This simple step is vital for your safety.
  4. Never Hike Alone: The buddy system is more than just company; it’s a safety net. Always hike with someone and carry a fully charged cell phone for any urgent communications.
  5. Know Your Limits: Backpacking can be strenuously rewarding. Match the trails with your fitness level, whether you seek a brief immersion in nature or a challenging multi-day excursion.
MIckelson Trail

George S. Mickelson Trail

Spanning the heart of the Black Hills, this 109-mile trail offers unparalleled views, meandering through rugged mountains, serene meadows, and alongside crystalline streams. Perfect for biking, hiking, or horseback riding, it's a must-experience adventure for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts seeking a blend of scenic beauty and tranquility.

Bear Butte State Park

Centennial Trail

A 111-mile trek inaugurated in 1989 to honor the state's 100th anniversary. Winding through prairies and ascending the Black Hills, this trail connects Bear Butte State Park to Wind Cave National Park. With 22 miles within Custer State Park, hikers, horseback riders, and mountain bikers can enjoy marked paths and access three trailheads, immersing in the Black Hills' natural and historical treasures.