Backpacking In the Bighorns – Hiking Bomber Mountain

Toying with the idea of a backpacking trip?  Looking to venture outside of the Black Hills for hiking experience that you won’t forget?  Big Horn National Park is a relatively close landmark that contains hundreds of miles of trails that can keep you entertained for a very long time.  Specifically, a hike up to the top of Bomber Mountain is an experience you won’t quickly forget.

Lake Marion

Lake Marion

This hike takes place in an area of the Bighorns known as the Cloud Peak Wilderness.  Not the highest peak in the area, but still, Bomber Mountain sits at over 12,840 feet in elevation.  The route we took to get to the top began at the Tensleep Trailhead.  Take I90, heading west, from Spearfish, SD.  At Buffalo, WY, take exit 58 for US16 towards I90 BUS/Buffalo/Ucross (left).  Just after Meadowlark Lake take a right onto Forest Road 432, about 45 minutes on US16.  And quickly and slight right onto Forest Road 431.  Continue on 431 for about 5 miles where you will come to Forest Road 27, or 10 Sleep Road.  Take a right onto 27 and continue to West Tensleep Lake Trailhead on your right.  The whole trip is about 3.5 hours from Spearfish.  Continue reading

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 these 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.   Continue reading

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.  Continue reading