Cement Ridge Lookout | Black Hills Travel Blog

Cement Ridge Lookout

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Today I was browsing through some photos from summer, dreaming of warmer weather, and I came across one of a little known, but beautiful area - Cement Ridge Lookout.

Cement Ridge Lookout is just over a mile into Wyoming, in the northern Black Hills National Forest. As a crow flies, it is about 15 miles straight west of Deadwood and is only accessible by rambling down some gravel and dirt roads in good weather. During the winter months, the road is closed and becomes part of the Black Hills snowmobile trail system. A high-clearance vehicle, motorcycle or your own two feet are about the only ways to the top.

At the summit is a stone and concrete fire-lookout tower that was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) back in the early 1940's. The CCC originally built more than 20 fire towers throughout the Black Hills National Forest. Some have since been torn down; others still stand but are no longer used for fire-spotting.

According to the United State Forest Service, the Cement Ridge Lookout is one of eight sites still used to spot forest fires and is an essential part of the fire detection system in the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.

The views from the top are breathtaking all year-long. In the early to mid summer the hillside explodes with color and is covered in native wildflowers. In the fall, when the birches and aspens begin to turn to yellow and orange, Cement Ridge is one of my favorite places to enjoy the changing trees.

Looking east from the top of Cement Ridge, you can literally see most of the northern Black Hills - limestone ridges, granite outcrops and sweeping valleys as far as the eye can see. Terry Peak, Ragged Top Mountain, Spearfish Peak and Custer Peak are all clearly visible. The photo above is the view from a clear day last fall.

Cement Ridge Lookout is one of those places in the Black Hills that is on almost every tourist map that gets printed, but few visitors make the trip to the top. If you haven't been there, I highly suggest it. When the weather warms up and snow melts, grab a Black Hills map and a camera and go on an adventure to Cement Ridge - I bet you'll like what you see.

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