Bear Butte State Park Trail Professional Guide
Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook
"Although Bear Butte is not part of the Black Hills proper, its inclusion is justified for several reasons. Historically, Bear Butte stood as a landmark, pointing the way for many early day “hikers,” trudging across the prairie in search of wild game, gold, furs, or homesteads in the Black Hills. Because of its prominence and beauty, the Butte has served as a beacon. It still does. Rising 1,200 feet above the plains, it is located just outside the northeast corner of the Black Hills, approximately 6 miles northeast of Sturgis, South Dakota, and is part of Bear Butte State Park.
Mato Paha (Bear Mountain) is not a butte at all, but a solitary mountain formed millions of years ago. Bear Butte is the northern terminus for the Centennial Trail, which courses more than 100 miles through the Black Hills. Though the Summit Trail is not one of the easiest of the easy day hikes, it is included here because it provides such sweeping views, and because it provides a significant chapter in the history of Native Americans. A trek from the base to the peak of a sacred mountain, the trail winds through a pine forest; many tree branches are draped with prayer flags and ceremonial objects."