This is a hike in Spearfish, SD that will make your mind wonder, just a little. The Thoen Stone hike is a very unique hike indeed. The Thoen Stone hike begins near the former Black Hills Passion Play. There isn’t actually a specific parking lot for this hike but there is signing and an area where your vehicle can sit for your duration of the climb.
This hike is very short, but unique in that at the top of the hill you are climbing there sits a sort of replica of a stone that was supposedly found years ago in the Black Hills. The original piece of stone was actually a piece of sandstone that is said to have been etched on by the only survivor of perhaps one of the first gold mining parties that came to the Black Hills, possibly as early as 1833. Each side of the stone reads as follows:
“came to these hills in 1833 seven of us
all ded but me Ezra Kind
killed by ind beyond the high hill
got our gold june 1834″
The reverse side reads:
“Got all of the gold we could carry
our ponys all got by the Indians
I hav lost my gun and nothing to eat
and Indians hunting me.”
When you reach the replica of the stone at the top of the hill you can look across to Lookout Mountain and view a white “X” on the mountain. This, I believe, is the area in the Black Hills where Ezra Kind had supposedly camped when running and hiding from the Indians and is where the stone was found. Lots of research has been continued into the authenticity of this finding. Supposedly, many of the men listed on the stone did indeed leave areas farther East, like Chicago and St. Louis, and headed West in search of gold and their families never heard from them again. Many current day treasure hunters still believe that the treasure from “all the gold we could carry” is still buried somewhere in the Black Hills. The actual stone that was found can be seen at the Adams Museum in Deadwood, SD.
How do you get to Thoen Stone?
As I said previously, the Stone Thoen hike is very short, maybe a quarter of a mile one way. You walk a dirt path that climbs a small mountain within Spearfish, right near the entrance to what was previously the Passion Play. The replicated stone is located at the top, as well as an incredible view of Lookout Mountain and Spearfish, SD. Every time I hike to Thoen Stone I think the same thoughts, were there really miners camping at the base of Lookout Mountain, was the gold in the Black Hills actually discovered way before the gold rush, and what if there really were still a buried treasure in the Black Hills?