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Bear Butte Summit Trail, SD

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Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List SD > Western
4 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,367 feet
Elevation Gain 1,100 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,160 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 9.8
Interest Peak
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
12  2018-05-30 AZLOT69
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   May, Oct, Apr, Sep → 9 AM
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  7:44am - 5:31pm
0 Linked
Nearby Area Water
Bear Butte Trail
0.6 mi away
3.8 mi
1,026 ft
Centennial Trail - South Dakota
0.6 mi away
111.0 mi
15,587 ft
Bear Butte State Park Trail
0.6 mi away
3.6 mi
1,026 ft
The Centennial Trail
1.8 mi away
111.0 mi
Centennial Trail
2.1 mi away
111.0 mi
11,235 ft
Little Elk Creek Trail
15.3 mi away
2.7 mi
632 ft
George S Mickelson Trail
16.3 mi away
50.0 mi
Mt. Roosevelt
17.2 mi away
1.4 mi
188 ft
Rock Maze
Rock Maze
21.6 mi away
1.0 mi
320 ft
Wildcat Cavern
Wildcat Cavern
21.9 mi away
1.5 mi
400 ft
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To Call It A Butte Is A Misnomer
by AZLOT69

The Lakota Indians named this feature Mato Paha, “Bear Butte”, as it resembles a sleeping bear when viewed at certain angles from a distance. The mountain has been held sacred to this day by several other Indian Nations. Actually, it is not a Butte at all. Being miles from the Black Hills, this feature was created by molten lava pushing up to form a laccolith. The lava never broke thru the surface.

During the Indian wars the Indians were all placed on reservations and this mountain fell into private hands where it remained until 1961 when the State of South Dakota purchased it and made it a State Park. While the first caucasian, a geologist climbed the mountain in 1855, it wasn't until 1965 that an official trail was constructed to the top. Once again Indians from at least fifteen tribes make regular visits for inspiration leaving prayer tags and flags on trees along the trail. Notable Indian leaders that have visited Bear Butte include Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Man Afraid, Little Wolf, and Sitting Bull.

The hike starts from the visitor center and wastes no time in climbing up. Your destination is right in front of you the entire hike. After the first one half mile the switchbacks start. Gnarly sections of talus and scree come into play throughout the trail from this point. Two thirds of the way up, the trail narrows significantly with steep drop offs. This could be a problem for anyone with vertigo. There is an observation platform at the peak with placards and benches. Enjoy the moment and return the way you came.

    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$
    $28 annual or $6 per vehicle daily except Custer, $14 per vehicle (7 day) at Custer - more info

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike
    From Sturgis, South Dakota take highway 34 east to highway 79. Go north 3.2 miles to State Park Entrance. Turn right one mile to trail head. Six dollar charge per vehicle.
    page created by AZLOT69 on May 30 2018 6:20 pm
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