Bear Mountain Ski Trails

Hill City, South Dakota 57745

Bear Mountain Ski Trails

Bear Mountain Ski Trails Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Two high-mountain loop trails affording hikers and mountain bikers extraordinary views and a great diversity of vegetation and wildlife."

Bear Mountain Ski Trails Trip Reports

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We took the north loop, XC 23 and to our displeasure we found that cattle had recently been driven through the area so for at least 6 miles of the trail we had to deal with cattle waste all over the trail. XC 23 was a disappointment after taking XC 25 in the spring. 25 was a fantastic trail with great views from Bear Mountain and Grand Vista lookout. On both 23 and 25 we were the only hikers on the trail, very remote for the Black Hills. The Forest Service has been doing some work along the creek so the trail markers in those areas are missing in some cases and simply down in others.
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Starting from the Boy Scout Camp the trail was a bit difficult to find. However, once you find spring creek on the NW side of the Boy Scout lake its simply a matter of following the creek up. We didnt have any luck finding the "stan-penn lodge mine". From there not far to the grand vista draw where its difficult to find the turnoff to the trail leading southeast (roughly 13T 597800 4860799 UTM). About 1.5miles from this turn you should run into a trail going northeast with a short walk to the "grand vista overlook". It's a great view looking back towards the peaks around the black hills area set atop some awsome rock cliffs. We saw turkey, and partridge up on this plateau. After the view you can head back to the trail to bear mountain lookout tower. Appx 2 miles you should find it and you can pitch a tent overlooking the black hills peaks again. We spent the night there only to wake up to a truck rolling down the road (the lookout can be accessed from country road). From there its all down hill back towards the Boy Scout Camp. Its a nice loop trail, I'd do it again anytime.

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Trail Information

Hill City
Nearby City
1,300 feet
Elevation Gain
Trail Type
Easy to Difficult
Skill Level
Half a day
Best spring through fall
6,100 feet
Trailhead Elevation
7,153 feet
Top Elevation
Black Hills National Forest Visitor Center
Local Contacts
Black Hills National Forest Map; USDA Forest Service Map of Bear Mountain Trails No. 23 and 25
Local Maps

Trail Log