What a unique walking/hiking trail you will find at Veteran’s Point Trail, a tip of Pactola Reservoir. This trail covers just under one mile, approximately 3/4 mile, and runs along a good portion of the shoreline of Pactola. There are picnic tables and benches all along the way that make this walk that much more enjoyable.
How do you get to Veteran’s Point Trail?
To get to Veteran’s Point from Rapid City, SD, take Hwy. 44 until you reach the junction for Hwy. 385. Travel South for a short distance and you will come to a parking lot for this trail on the right side of the road. If you make it to the dam you’ve gone too far.
Veteran’s Point Trail is easily accessible to your most experienced hikers, and one of the few trails that can be accessed easily by the disabled, such as those with wheelchairs or walkers. The walkway is paved and there are numerous stairs that will take you down to the lake, as well as, a gradual declining path. There is a very large parking area with bathrooms if needed. The picnic areas have access to grills to make an outing to this trail that much more enjoyable. Fishing from the bridges and walkways is very common and actually an attraction for this area.
At the start of the trail there is a very old tree that has become a bit of a celebrity. This tree was given the nickname “Vet” in honor of its location at Veteran’s Point. In 1992 a sample was removed from this tree and studied to show that the tree’s first year of life was back in 1765! As the signing says, “If a tree could talk…” What do you supposed Vet would say?