Bear Butte State Park, SD



So our volksmarch at Crazy Horse got our confidence up deciding we could hike more than a mile or two at a time.  So for our next conquest we decided to hike Bear Butte!!

Bear Butte is only about 10 minutes from our camp site in Sturgis, and we had visited the educational center before. It was interesting and Randy spent a while talking with a Native American from the Oglala Lakota tribe who was working at the center.  We had also kayaked on Bear Butte Lake.  We went looking for a kayak spot in the Black Hills National Forest, but they charged for lake usage on Sheridan and Pactola even with our Annual Interagency Pass???  We could have gone back to Custer state park lakes, but they are over an hour away and Bear Butte lake is large enough for us.  Especially with the wind we have been having.  Kayaking against the wind is not fun so we stayed pretty close to the shore, but with no mountains or trees it was still pretty windy.  But fun, plan on going back before we leave close and fun.



Bear Butte as you can see is an odd looking mountain, I believe for a couple of reasons.  Most of the large trees were burned in a major fire in 1996.  Over 20 years ago and it has really not recovered, you can notice in the pictures all the logs laying around.  There are some full grown trees, but not many.

Also, you will notice that the surround area is mostly flat.  The Black Hills are to the west and south about 8 miles away, but all other directions are pretty flat as far as the eye can see.  We drove ~40 miles north and Bear Butte was just as prevalent on the landscape as it was from the lake right across the street.  So the way this mountain/hill was created is different from the rest of the area.  Again I understand that it is kind of a volcano that did not erupt, it is not a tower like Devils Tower, but more a dome of magma…  Notice how the mountain is not green it is mostly covered with crumbled rock with some greenery mixed in.


Anyway on to the hike, it was only 1.8 miles each way and a climb of 1,000 ft., doable right?  Well we made it.  It was tough for me, you can see on the pictures that part of it was on a “goat path.”  I have mentioned my new found fear of heights?  And the climb was hard, had to keep stopping for “scenery checks.”  But beautiful and glad we are here to do it.


Peace and love.



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