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One of the tunnels on the Mickelson Trail

This is the entrance to one of the tunnels on the Mickelson Trail, one of the Black Hills' longest trails at more than 100 miles.  The Mickelson Trail, which follows an abandoned rail right of way,  passes through several tunnels and over many trestles. It is suitable for all ages and open to hikers, cyclists and horseback riders. It is closed to motorized vehicles.

Hiking & Backpacking

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     Being in the hotel business, we naturally don't encourage overnight backpacking. There's nothing like a hot bath, an excellent meal and a good night's rest after a day of vigorous hiking. Were that everyone so thought?
 
      As it stands now, the Black Hills National Forest has more than 260 miles of developed trails, Custer State Park, Wind Cave National Park and the Badlands have nearly as many miles. That makes more than 400 miles of trails altogether.

    Throughout the Black Hills there are about 75 different marked trails. Keystone is an ideal jumping off point for the many trails in the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve. These include:
Trail Distance Difficulty
Norbeck Trail  9.8 Miles  Moderate 
Lost Cabin Trail  3.2 Miles  Difficult 
Sunday Gulch  2.8 Miles  Moderate 
Grizzly Bear Creek  5.1 Miles  Difficult 
Willow Creek Loop  1.5 Miles  Moderate 
Horsethief Lake  2.8 Miles  Moderate 
Iron Creek  5.1 Miles  Easy 
Iron Mountain  5.1 Miles  Moderate 

     The 110-mile Centennial Trail and the new Mickelson Trail also pass near Keystone.

     The Black Hills have been called the friendly mountains because virtually every point is accessible to hikers. For instance each of the 17 peaks of more than 7,000 feet can be climbed without special equipment and the views from that elevation are nothing short of spectacular.
 
     Many trails have historical significance. One of our favorites is the Flume Trail near Sheridan Lake. This trail, rated as "easy", follows the route of an old gold mining flume that once went from Spring Creek near Sheridan Lake to Rockerville. It is an interesting trail because it is nearly level and passes through two very narrow tunnels carved out by the flume makers more than 100 years ago. You can still see traces of the flume on the trail today.

     Information about hiking can be obtained from the South Dakota Department of Game Fish and Parks which publishes a trail atlas for $10.  The Black Hills National Forest also publishes a trail guide at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/blackhills/maps/trails.shtml.  Information about specific trails can be found at http://www.fs.fed.us/r2/blackhills/recreation/trail_guide.shtml.  The new Black Hills National Forest Service office on US Highway 16 just south of Rapid City also has numerous maps and publications concerning trails. Much of the material is free.

     Information about Custer State Park trails can be found at Custer State Park Trail Guide. There are also trails within Wind Cave National Park and the Badlands National Monument.
     

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