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Black Hills / Centennial Trail, SD

May 28 - Jun 4, 2022 -- $1325 ★★★

Adjacent to the legendary South Dakota badlands, lies a multi-faceted National Forest known as the Black Hills. The Black Hills are home to an under-the-radar 111 miles trail known as the Centennial Trail.

Although well known for herds of roaming bison, prairie dogs and ubiquitous Ponderosa Pines, the Black Hills also feature elk, mule deer, coyote, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, eagles, hawks, osprey, fox and peregrine falcons.

Our trek begins at the South Boxelder Trailhead: No, you almost certainly have never heard of it. Each day we'll hike Northbound, seeing more of the Black Hill National Forest -- Dalton Lake, Elk Creek, Alkali Creek -- finally culminating on the summit of imposing Bear Butte.

Here is our propsed route.

Why not kick off your summer by visiting the beautiful South Dakota backcountry while simultaenously getting a jump on your fitness level and losing some weight (or more accurately, improving body composition)?


Weather is always an important concern when hiking. Expect daytime hiking temperatures into the 60s and 70s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s. However on the 2011 trip, temperatures hit 100 on one day and brought a hailstorm on the next. So be prepared for great fluctuations. Here is the historical June weather Bring lots of sun protection and water containers that add up to 8 liters of capacity.

Probable Trip Leaders

Beau Devlin
Steve Silberberg


$1325 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another participant during the 2 hotel nights. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Rapid City (RAP), personal equipment, restaurant meals eaten off the trail and any gratuities for guides.

Covered expenses include 2 hotel nights, campground fees, 6 days of trail meals (which we prepare for you), ground transportation to/from the parks, permits, campground fees and awesome guides.

Tipping: In order to keep our prices competitive with (and hopefully favorable to) other outfitters, we shamefully can’t pay our guides as much as we think they deserve. Like most other guiding services, we rely on the generosity of our participants to make up this shortfall by tipping the guides. While tips are not required or expected, if your guides have served you well, please consider a gratuity so they can continue living their extravagant lifestyles of eating powdered meals, sleeping in the dirt and pooping in smelly outhouses and small holes they've dug.


The trails through the Black Hills often have good footing with moderate elevation changes of less than 1000' per day on most days). Distances will be kept below 10 miles per day with one longer day of 11.5 miles. We have deemed this a 3-star difficulty trip because water can be scarce in June and you may have to carry more, but it should be less strenuous than that most of the time.

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Saturday, May 28, 2022

Fly into Rapid City Airport (RAP) or drive into Rapid City. The best time to arrive is between 1PM-3PM, although flights may be limited. If you can save a substantial amount on your flight by arriving an hour or two later or earlier, then do so but let us know beforehand.

Call for a ride from guides (or get a discounted hotel shuttle) to our local hotel Foothills Inn, 1625 N. LaCrosse Street, Rapid City, SD 57701, 605-348-5640

Equipment shakedown. We go through everything you brought and make sure you're properly outfitted.

Make your own trail mix from a variety of ingredients from out (unpatentened) Trail Mix Bar

"Before" body composition measurements taken

If necessary, go to Take A Hike, 318 Mount Rushmore Road Rapid City, South Dakota 57701 - (605) 342-0608, Scheels, 1225 Eglin St., Rapid City, SD 57701, 605-342-9033 or Cabela's, 3231 East Mall Drive, Rapid City, SD 57701, (605) 388-5600 for forgotten and last minute equipment purchase

Go out for dinner at a local restaurant (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Second set of "before" measurements taken

All the items that you won't bring on the trail will be set aside and put in storage.

Complimentary Breakfast at the hotel if they provide it or continental breakfast prepared by guides

Shuttle to the South Boxelder Trailhead and begin hiking, elevation 4680'.

Hike 7.4 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to Dalton Lake

Camp at Dalton Lake Frontcountry Campground, site(s) TBD, elevation 4400'.

Miles today: 7.4. Total miles: 7.4

Possible bailout: Dalton Lake

Monday, May 30, 2022

Hike 7.7 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to an unnamed, unmarked drainage

Dispersed camp at unnamed, unmarked drainage that hopefully has water, elevation 4350'.

We may opt to continue on or stop early in order to take advantage of a better campsite

If there is no water tonight, there should be some another 3.2 miles further

Miles today: 7.7. Total miles: 15.1

Possible bailout: There are desultory dirt forest / ATV roads that are many miles away from civilization

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Hike 9.4 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to Bulldog Gulch

Dispersed camp in Bulldog Gulch that hopefully has water, elevation 4600'.

We may opt to continue on or stop early in order to take advantage of a better campsite

Miles today: 9.4. Total miles: 24.5

Possible bailout: There are desultory dirt forest / ATV roads that are many miles away from civilization

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Hike 6.8 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to Alkali Creek Campground

Frontcountry camp at Alkali Creek Campground, site(s) TBD, elevation 3600'.

Miles today: 6.8. Total miles: 31.3

Possible bailout: Interstate 90

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Hike 11.6 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to Bear Butte Campground on Bear Butte Lake

Camp at Bear Butte Creek Frontcountry Campground, Site(s) TBD, elevation 3200'

Miles today: 11.6. Total miles: 42.9

Possible bailout: Sturgis

Friday, June 3, 2022

Hike 3.5 miles on the Centennial Trail #89 to the summit of Bear Butte stashing packs at the trailhead and day hiking to the summit, elevation 4426'

Wow, what a view!

Day-hike 1.5 miles to the Bear Butte Trailhead, elevation 3380'

End of Hiking

Miles today: 5.0. Total miles: 47.9

Possible bailout: Route 79

Shuttle to Rapid City and check back into local hotel Foothills Inn, 1625 N. LaCrosse Street, Rapid City, SD 57701, 605-348-5640

After measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip price)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Check out of hotel

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