Centennial Trail in South Dakota
Centennial Trail in South Dakota

The Centennial Trail begins at Bear Butte National Monument and ends at Windcave National Park at the Norbeck Trailhead.  The total length of the trail is 111 miles.  Thousands of people travel to the Black Hills every year to discover everything the trail has to offer to the outdoor explorer.

What should you expect when hiking the Centennial Trail?

Since the trail covers such an immense distance, the geography throughout the trail varies greatly.  The trail ranges anywhere from 3,200 to 5,600 feet in elevation.  Be sure to plan ahead if you are thinking about a hike.  One of the biggest things to note is that water for drinking is not usually available.  Many of the water sources along the trail dry up in the early part of the summer.  Some of the campgrounds and parts of the trail require a reservations or passes.  Food sources are few along the trail.  The majority of the trail is a fairly easy hike, though pieces can become more difficult.

The animals and wildlife along the trail can be very diverse.  You may see deer, bighorn sheep, antelope, elk, turkey, or mountain goats.  You may also see snakes and buffalo.  Be prepared for either of these situations and know when you should approach or view from a distance.

Official opening of this trail was June 1989.  The opening date marked the 100th anniversary to the statehood of South Dakota.  Centennial Trail is the longest trail in the Black Hills.  There are over two dozen trailheads and access points to this hike.  A portion of the trail goes within a mile of the famous Mount Rushmore National Monument.

Whether you are looking for a day hike, an overnight camping trip, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, or simply sightseeing, you will find what you are looking for at some point on the Centennial Trail.

One thought on “Centennial Trail

  1. I hiked the trail this spring solo in 5.5 days. I started at Bear Butte and finished at Wind Cave. It is an awesome experience and a great way to see a lot of the Hills.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *