Located just outside of Sturgis, SD, Bear Butte continues to be an incredible hike. The area became a state park in 1961. Similar to Devils Tower, this mountain holds a religious significance to many of the Native American tribes and during the hike you can see many relics that have been used during religious ceremonies. The park policy is to leave the worship pieces alone and respect any worshipers along the trail. There are no pets allowed on the trail.
At the base of the Bear Butte trailhead, you can visit an information center. You can find several outdoor bathrooms at the base of the trail and in the information center. Be sure to sign your name in the guest book. There is also a campsite that allows horseback riding. A lake in the area allows fishing and boating. A buffalo heard can be seen roaming the area, so be wary of them if adventure is in your horizon.
The hike up to the top can be strenuous, especially if it is a warm day. There are several benches, both covered and not, and shelters along the trail, but no water. The hike up the mountain is rather unique to the Black Hills area in that it is almost desert like. The mountain is very dry and has little vegetation. Birds circle the mountain almost continuously. Once at the top, you can walk onto a wooden lookout. This lookout gives you an incredible view of the Black Hills. From the top you can spot many of the highest peaks in the Black Hills.
Where can you find Bear Butte?
This hike is located east of Sturgis, just off of SD Highway 79. Because it is a state park, there is an entrance fee: daily – $4/person or $6/vehicle, annual – $30/first vehicle and $15/second vehicle.