SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Highland Creek - Centennial Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"A loop hike that combines two trails through beautiful grasslands and forests. The Sanctuary Trail’s northern terminus is located where two ecosystems meet: theprairie grassland and the ponderosa pine. So much of the suggested 9-mile route weaves in and out of such “edge” conditions that the possibilities of seeing wildlife are excellent. Start early to enhance your chances and, more important, to avoid the summer heat. Within 0.75 mile after departing, the trail ascends slightly and passes over a small saddle. The trail then descends and enters a grassland community in a narrow valley. Periodically, you’ll see views of Lookout Tower on Rankin Ridge."
--Bert & Jane Gildart, Hiking South Dakota's Black Hills Country (Falcon Guides).
The Highland Creek trail begins a little East of Hwy 385 in the Southern edge of the park. It is the parks longest trail and offers some of the most diverse terrain. This is a nice choice for a moderate day hike. The Highland Creek Trail brings the hiker through a mix of praire and forest which allows one to get a good feel for the varying habitats of the Southern Black Hills. Wind Cave Natural Park is approxiametely 75% praired and 25% forest land (which is much appreciated when seeking a shady spot on a hot day). Bison are easy to spot here and rarely does one venture far onto a trail without spotting a few. The elk are a little more elusive and are best seen during sunrise or sunset. Wind Cave Canyon Trail and Lookout Point trail are both accessible from this route.
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