[ black hills ]
The Black Hills are in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, covering an area 125 miles long and 65 miles wide.They encompass rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves.
The name "Black Hills" comes from the Lakota words Paha Sapa, which mean "hills that are black." Seen from a distance, these pine-covered hills, rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie, appear black.
For many people, from early Native Americans to today's visitors, the Black Hills has been a special place to come for physical and spiritual renewal. In August 1874, A.B. Donaldson, one of several newspaper correspondents with General George A. Custer's historic Black Hills Expedition, wrote the following:
The lover of nature could here find his soul's delight; the invalid regain his health; the old, be rejuvenated; the weary find sweet repose and invigoration; and all who could come and spend the heated season here would find it the pleasantest summer home in America.
Millions of visitors who come to the Black Hills each year still find it a pleasant place during any season.
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[ sOUTH dAKOTA cENTENNIAL tRAIL #89 ]
about the trail
Marking the 100th anniversary of statehood, 1889 - 1989, the 111-mile Centennial Trail represents the diversity of South Dakota. The Trail crosses prairie grasslands near Bear Butte State Park and climbs into the Black Hills, high country, skirting lakes and streams until it reaches Wind Cave National Park near Hot Springs. The Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and South Dakota Department of Game, Fish and Parks have combined their efforts to develop this Trail for you to enjoy.
Approximately 22 miles of the trail are located within Custer State Park. This trail offers opportunities to view the natural and cultural resources of the Black Hills.
Three trailheads provide access points to Custer State Park's portion of the trail. The trail is marked with a combination of brown fiberglass posts and gray diamonds fastened to trees. This trail is also used by horse riders and mountain bikers.
The Centennial Trail was officially opened in June 1989, in commemoration of the South Dakota centennial.
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[ gEORGE s. mICKELSON tRAIL ]
about the trail
Stretching 109 miles from Deadwood in the north to Edgemont in the southwest, the Mickelson Trail has become known far and wide for the high-quality bicycling it offers.
With a surface of primarily crushed limestone and gravel, the trail currently has 15 trailheads which all offer parking, self-sale trail pass stations, vault toilets and tables. Most of the grades are gradual and gentle, with none exceeding four percent. Portions of the trail are considered strenuous.
The trail is about 10 feet wide and traverses the full range of what nature in the Black Hills has to offer: prairie, mountains, aspen lined creeks, pine forests, high country meadows and the wildlife that lives in each of these diverse ecosystems.
Many of the old railroad trestles, about 100 of them, are still in place. All have been restored, as have four hard rock tunnels, blasted long ago through hillsides. Watch for the remains of old cabins and ghost mines. There are also 35 interpretive signs along the trail.
It isn’t only bicyclists that find the trail the perfect outdoor adventure. You can also hike, ride horseback or cross-country ski the trail. And although it feels like a wilderness trek, you’re never really very far from civilization.
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