Strikingly different than anything else in the Black Hills. Bear Butte State Park rises dramatically from its prairie surroundings topping out at 4,426 feet. From its summit, on a clear day, four states can be spotted. It is easy to see why Bear Butte was a historically significant landmark for the gold prospectors and settlers that came to this part of South Dakota.
Bear Butte State Park offers hiking, fishing, and primitive camping. There is a lake trail that and the very strenuous summit trail. Having only a little bit of time at the park I took my youngest up to the top of the summit. The park also has a small residential buffalo heard which we got to see from a distance. There is also a nice educational center highlighting the Bear Butte’s history and geology.
This was an interesting stop for us. We have been through the Black Hills a few times but never to Bear Butte State Park. We knew the area is and has been sacred to many Native American Nations, but until I saw the amount of prayer offerings along the summit trail did it hit home. The offerings were in the form of long strands of colorful cloth and pouches hanging in the trees. For me an added a level of tranquility to the visit because it was entering somebody else’s house of worship.
I enjoyed my time at Bear Butte State Park and huffing and puffing my way up to the top of the summit. Not for sure if we will ever be back. There is just so much to do in the region and so little time to see it all.
Bear Butte State Park
Located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis off SD Hwy. 79
Hours of Operation: Open year round day use only
Cost as of this Posting: $6 per vehicle
For more information about Bear Butte State Park visit their website at http://gfp.sd.gov/state-parks/directory/bear-butte/
Get free daily email updates!