Bear Butte State Park ~ Sturgis, South Dakota

Every Tuesday afternoon during pastors conference, pastors and their families are given the opportunity to go out and explore the area. This year, we opted to drive out to Bear Butte State Park, with the goal of climbing to the top of the Butte.

You must pay the state park fee to enter, although there is no one manning a station. It’s simply an envelope payment box where you receive the sticker that goes in your car. From there it’s short drive up the road to the parking lot and education center.

We did not stop in the education center but rather took right to the trail. They have a small outdoor bathroom at the trailhead and some signs giving your information about Bear Butte, which actually is a mountain when you compare the two definitions. This should have been our first sign we maybe weren’t going to make it to the top!

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In the photo above Bear Butte is the peak off to the left. The trail started out as pretty packed down gravel, and then got more narrow as we climbed higher.

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Along the way, you can see lots of interesting rock formations. This is kind of the start of the Black Hills if you are coming from the north!

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We were very winded by the time we reached the peak to the right of Bear Butte. From there we had great views of the hills and the lake area of the park that is across the road from where we were. That section has a trail that goes around the lake and is where the campground is located. You can see from the view on the right that the hills haven’t even really started in that area!

At this point our trackers indicated we had only gone about half the distance on the trail and we were already exhausted as we clearly were not in as great of shape as we thought! Turns our walking 5 miles a day around your flat town does not get you ready for a 2 mile uphill hike! We decided to cut our losses, take a picture from the top of this peak with Bear Butte’s peak in the background and head back down!

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We enjoyed our hike, but realized we need to be in far better shape to make it all the way to the top the next time we attempt to visit. It also was incredibly windy up there, so come prepared with that knowledge!

For more information on our travels, follow sitesandbitesjournal on Instagram or sign up for e-mail updates from this blog!

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