SummaryTrail GuideTopo MapReviewsPhotosGPS
Bear Butte Trail Professional Review and Guide
"A 2-hour hike 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."
--Bert & Jane Gildart, Hiking South Dakota's Black Hills Country (Falcon Guides).
A couple friends and I were doing some hiking in the Black Hills and were looking for a hike to fill out our afternoon. As there were only a few other hikers on the trail, we were able to make the round trip hike in about 2 1/2 hours, with a nice 30 minute stay on the top checking out the views of Bear Butte Lake and the surrounding plains and the Black Hills. Due the the past fire, Bear Butte has a very severe look to it, but it is also very serene at the top. Well worth the effort.
Bear Butte is a State Park so it'll cost you $5.00 for a vehicle or $3.00 per person. This hike is totally worth the views from the top which sports a viewing platform. I found this hike to be moderate. To many Native Americans this is a Sacred Mountain and prayer cloths and other objects are present at almost every point of the trek. Its a very spritual place. There is a visitor center which provides some really neat historical infromation about the mountain. Check it out.
Bear Butte stands alone off the South Dakota plain, rising several hundred feet quite abrubdtly. It offers excellent views of the Black hills and surrounding plain. The Butte itself suffered a fire recently and much of the Ponderosa forest on the mountain is charred. The hill seems to be recooperating slowly so there are often small landslides of rock to be aware of, as the butte's topsoil gives way to erosion. Other than that this trail is a simple and enjoyable hike consisting of numerous switchbacks to reach the butte's summit. There is also a small lake near the park and a few head of bison roaming the area. There is a water spigot at the upper parking lot but I would bring your own water as it tends to be a little warm.
Sign in/up to upload photos.