Black hills trip advice

Rx88

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Oct 18, 2017
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21
Taking a 4-5 day trip end of April beginning of may. I’m coming out from the Midwest so doing 1 day in badlands then driving out to black hills for 3 day backpacking trip looking for advice on route selection from people who are familiar with the area

The original plan was to start on grizzly bear and take that to Harney Peak then to Sunday gulch then maybe north. But the ranger station was saying Sunday gulch will 80% most likely still be closed because of iced over. And one have any suggestions on routes, sites?




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b.stark

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I've spent all of two days hiking in the Black Hills, so I'm not super knowledgeable about the place. Got half a mind to head up there in April myself, depending on how my schedule shakes out. (Also contemplating a run to Moab) Cannot comment on how the snow/ice situation will be. In mid January there wasn't a ton of snow--maybe 6 inches at the top of Harney, and less at lower elevations.

Probably my best advice would be to ask on the "Black Hills Hiking Club" page on Facebook. It's a bit slow, but there are a lot of locals there that would have much better info on current conditions, trails, etc.

Really enjoyed the hike up and down Harney from Willow Creek trailhead. For what that's worth. Lots of good views.

Saw mountain lion tracks both days I hiked there, so be aware they are present.
 

Rx88

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Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
I've spent all of two days hiking in the Black Hills, so I'm not super knowledgeable about the place. Got half a mind to head up there in April myself, depending on how my schedule shakes out. (Also contemplating a run to Moab) Cannot comment on how the snow/ice situation will be. In mid January there wasn't a ton of snow--maybe 6 inches at the top of Harney, and less at lower elevations.

Probably my best advice would be to ask on the "Black Hills Hiking Club" page on Facebook. It's a bit slow, but there are a lot of locals there that would have much better info on current conditions, trails, etc.

Really enjoyed the hike up and down Harney from Willow Creek trailhead. For what that's worth. Lots of good views.

Saw mountain lion tracks both days I hiked there, so be aware they are present.

Great thanks for the advice I’ll look into that Facebook page was there any other trails that you did or could recommend?

Yea I have heard the lions are pretty active in the area and I also heard that there are occasional bear sightings but they are rare but i haven’t found much else on that


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b.stark

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The other area I hiked in was along French Creek in Custer State Park. Nice spot, but lots of crossings. Didn't make it too far as I was solo, it was about 20F, and I didn't fancy getting soaked on a crossing several miles from my vehicle.
 

Rx88

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Oct 18, 2017
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The other area I hiked in was along French Creek in Custer State Park. Nice spot, but lots of crossings. Didn't make it too far as I was solo, it was about 20F, and I didn't fancy getting soaked on a crossing several miles from my vehicle.

Yea that’s understandable. I think we’re thinking of going north from Harney and maybe doing flume


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scoags

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Jan 8, 2017
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are you looking to do a loop?

why not take Norbeck #3 back east? or head north and then east after Harney and skirt around the Rushmore Monument area? Sylvan lake is indeed really nice, but if it is inaccesible from the back you can drive up and take a day hike. There is also the descriptively named Trail #4 which takes you around little Devil's Tower. Not sure which map youre using the the PDF Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Trail System gives good overview info on the trails.

also, mountain lions are certainly active in the area. I dont think bears are though. I'd be interested if you have a source on that, or if its just scuttlebutt. this is the most recent article i've found.

https://southdakotahunting.com/article/black-bears-returning-to-the-black-hills

anyone else find anything more definitive? The locals may not be so happy about the returning bears, but that would sure be exciting for the ecosystem. or i guess people interested in the ecosystem. I guess ecosystems dont get excited :wavespin:
 

Rx88

Member
Joined
Oct 18, 2017
Messages
21
are you looking to do a loop?

why not take Norbeck #3 back east? or head north and then east after Harney and skirt around the Rushmore Monument area? Sylvan lake is indeed really nice, but if it is inaccesible from the back you can drive up and take a day hike. There is also the descriptively named Trail #4 which takes you around little Devil's Tower. Not sure which map youre using the the PDF Black Elk Wilderness and Norbeck Wildlife Preserve Trail System gives good overview info on the trails.

also, mountain lions are certainly active in the area. I dont think bears are though. I'd be interested if you have a source on that, or if its just scuttlebutt. this is the most recent article i've found.

https://southdakotahunting.com/article/black-bears-returning-to-the-black-hills

anyone else find anything more definitive? The locals may not be so happy about the returning bears, but that would sure be exciting for the ecosystem. or i guess people interested in the ecosystem. I guess ecosystems dont get excited :wavespin:

I’ll have to take a look on my map at that route and get back.

Most of what I was reading on bear population in the black hills makes it sound like sporadic sightings. Like In the article but from others that I read they make it sound like the ecosystem can’t sustain a bear population. Now I don’t know how accurate that is but as long as they have a source of food it’s not to much of a stretch to think they could take hold in the area again.

http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/bl...cle_8509ee94-9793-11df-a373-001cc4c002e0.html

This article talks about just that and it’s from 2010


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