Lookout’s Backside – Lookout Mountain

Lookout's Backside - Lookout Mountain

Lookout’s Backside – Lookout Mountain

Did you know Lookout Mountain has access to its trails via a backside?  Many people hike Lookout from the west side every year, but there is also a south entrance to the trails.  The trail is visible from interstate 90 and accessing it is quite simple.  From Sandstone Hills Drive, take a right onto Branding Iron Drive, then a quick left onto Pony Express Lane.  There are only about 4 parking spots at the sign so carpool!  Access to the Lookout Mountain trails for the residents that live in the Sandstone neighborhood is literally in their backyard, but anyone can find the entrance and parking quite easily.

Lookout's Backside - Lookout Mountain

Lookout’s Backside – Lookout Mountain

What is the trail like when hiking Lookout’s Backside on Lookout Mountain?

To get to the top of Lookout, or what I’ve always considered the top, the trail is about 1.6 miles, quite a bit less than hiking from the front (West) side.  The initial half mile or so is very vertical.  Once you reach the trees the trail levels off and becomes a fairly reasonable hike.  There is a cattle gate at the beginning and the trail itself is dirt and rocks.  If you are a beginner hiker, Lookout Mountain is perfect for you.  It will give you a challenge but nothing too discouraging.

Lookout's Backside - Lookout Mountain

Lookout’s Backside – Lookout Mountain

Some very talented, and determined, individuals have built an incredible rock path along one of the outer edge exits to the trail.  Kudos to whomever did this and keep up the good work!  Also, the rocks at the top contain some unique carvings that date back for a very, very long time.  Hikers have been venturing to the top of Lookout Mountain for years.

You’ll pass cow pies, water beds, and wonderful views.  Lookout Mountain is perfect for hikers, bikers, runners, photographers, or just someone looking for a breath of fresh air.  There are even several caches hidden on this mountain.  Basically, a hikers dream.  Be ready for any type of weather at the top of this hike and have your camera handy.

Lookout's Backside - Lookout Mountain

Lookout’s Backside – Lookout Mountain

Directions to Lookout Mountain’s Backside?

View Lookout’s Backside South Dakota in a larger map

Things To Do in Spearfish Canyon

Spearfish Canyon, the view from Buzzard's Roost

Spearfish Canyon, the view from Buzzard’s Roost

As said previously, this is truly one of the best kept secrets in the United States, in the whole world even. Thousands of visitors every year, yet hundreds of thousands have no idea that this wonder exists, or know what they are missing out on. It has been described by so many as one of the most beautiful places in South Dakota, and also, in the United States. Every traveler from every location has went home recognizing the astounding beauty that somehow remains so much a secret in the Black Hills of South Dakota. So many hikers hike the trails, so any bikers bike the paths, and so many photographers capture the amazingness that is the Spearfish Canyon every single day. From camping to dining to weddings to merely the simple outdoors, Spearfish Canyon is bound to have an interest for you.


Buzzard's Roost Spearfish Canyon

Buzzard’s Roost Spearfish Canyon

Options for overnight stays include, but are not limited to: Spearfish Canyon Lodge, Rimrock Cabins, Gun and Rod and Timon Campgrounds, and numerous cabins throughout the canyon. Dining opportunities include the Latchstring Restaurant and Cheyenne Crossing. Weddings and group opportunities can be hosted at Spearfish Canyon Lodge, Gun and Rod and Timon Campgrounds, many pull-off areas throughout the canyon also have availability for group gatherings.


Buzzard's Roost the view of Spearfish Canyon

Buzzard’s Roost the view of Spearfish Canyon

The never-ending hiking opportunities are by far my favorite aspects of Spearfish Canyon. From the most popular, probably Spearfish Falls Trail, Roughlock Falls Trail, ’76 Trail, and Devil’s Bathtub, to some best kept secrets, Community Cave, Annie Creek Trail, Rimrock Trail, Old Baldy, Iron Creek Trail, Botanical Gardens Trail, Buzzard’s Roost, and Eleventh Hour, the possibilities are endless. There has even been rumor of future trails (Needle’s Eye Trail and Buckhorn Trail) to develop in Spearfish Canyon to connect current trails that already exist. Hiking in Spearfish Canyon is as easy and as entertaining as one could hope for.


Spearfish Canyon - View from Community Cave

Spearfish Canyon – View from Community Cave

Whether you are looking for an afternoon activity, a delicious evening meal, or a weekend away from life’s crazy, Spearfish Canyon won’t disappoint. The people come and go, the photos capture what they can, and the seasons continue always to change. If you ever find yourself wondering, ‘What to do in Spearfish Canyon?,’ don’t wonder, just do. The thousands of Spearfish Canyon activities will always make you happy.

Ready or Not!

Welcome to blackhillsthehike!  This is a growing website created to explore all things relating to hiking within the Black Hills of South Dakota and its community.  We are currently arranging scheduled hikes and would love anyone interested to join in our exploring.