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visitors center at the homestake open pit mine lead sd

The visitor center at the old Homestake open cut is very interesting.  It is certainly worth a visit if you find yourself in the northern Black Hills.  It is now officially known as the Sanford Lab Homestake Visitor Center and it is located at the end of the open cut mine at 160 W Main in Lead South Dakota.

There are loads of photos and videos sharing the history of the mine.  Both, the gold mining history and the scientific experimentation history and on going studying.  And, a large viewing area of the open cut.  Plus, there is an old mine elevator you can climb in.

The part I enjoyed the most was the 3 dimensional model of the mine.  You can see it in the photo above.  Hanging from the ceiling is a model that depicts the 370 miles of tunnels that were dug during the mines 126 years of activity.  It is simply amazing to think of all those tunnels, some over 1 mile deep into the earth’s surface.

There are tours available.  We didn’t take a tour, but hope to next time we are in the area.  You can call the visitors center to inquire about tours at 605-584-3110 or visit their Facebook page.

In the parking lot is a historic Locomotive with a compressed air engine. Plus there are several trailheads for the Mickelson Trail nearby.


best hiking, trail running and mountain biking in rapid city sd

It is no secret that there are amazing hiking, trail running and mountain biking options near Rapid City.  The city is nestled up to the Black Hills.  The Black Hills National Forest is home to over one million acres of public land for just such recreation options.  However, you don’t even have to leave the city limits to experience world class hiking and biking.

HLMP or Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park is right in the city.  This is no little park either.  It is 300 acres of rugged Black Hills terrain.  And, there is almost 20 miles of trails!  The trails are very well marked with names and degree of difficulty.

There are trails for every skill level.  The trails are not only beautiful themselves, but offer great views of the surrounding area.  You can see the sweeping prairie to the east and on the west side you can see the Black Hills and Harney peak.

Whenever I’m in Rapid City I try to set aside a little bit of time to hangout on the trails.  Any time of year, even in winter.  This is really a treasure for outdoor enthusiast.

Visit the HLMP website for more information and trail maps.

If you enjoy HLMP, I would encourage you to visit Lookout Mountain Park in Spearfish.  It is more than 700 acres just waiting for you to explore them.


best fall hikes in the black hills

You really don’t have to look too hard to find the best fall hikes in the Black Hills.  The area is gorgeous all year long, but there is something special about autumn.  The crisp air and amazing fall colors makes for a an ideal time to be outdoors.

Spearfish Canyon

The Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway may just be one of the most popular fall drives in the the Black Hills.  And, the canyon is home to some of the best fall hiking you can find.  Any of the numerous waterfalls in Spearfish Canyon are perfect places to spend some quality time looking at fall foliage.  Roughlock Falls is probably the most well known, but the others are worth checking out too.

Devils Bathtub is a great hike any time of year, and fall is no exception.  Hiking along iron creek is a great place to soak in all the fall colors.  Or, if you are feeling energetic, hike the 76 trail and be rewarded with an amazing view from the top of the canyon.

Old Baldy is one of my favorite autumn hikes.  Just a short drive from Roughlock Falls, it is a long hike – be sure to have plenty of water, time and snacks.  Check out this video showing the drive.

Deadwood area

Mount Roosevelt is a great hike that the whole family can enjoy,  it is a nice loop that gives great vistas.  You can spot Bear Butte and the city of Spearfish along the trail.  An a clear day you can see all the way to North Dakota.

Just across the gulch, a hike to Seth and Martha Bullocks graves will treat you many fall colors.  Head up the hill to white rocks for a panoramic view of the area.

Custer State Park

Gorgeous fall colors can be found anywhere in the park.  I love to visit the lakes.  But, hands down the best fall hike is the Sunday Gulch Trail – you can thank me after checking it out.

Deerfield Lake

Just check out one of the picnic areas or hike around Deerfield lake.  I love this area because it is off the beaten path.  You often don’t have to “share” the lake with many people.  The water is so clear and the reflection of the fall colors in the water is certainly memorable.  If you are up for some exploring, the old Flag Mountain Fire tower is in the area

Pretty Much anywhere

There are so many great fall hikes in the Black Hills you really don’t have to look far.  Mount Rushmore or drive over to Devil’s Tower – you eyes will be rewarded.

Be prepared, a beautiful fall day can turn into a blizzard pretty quickly in the Black Hills.  Many hiking locations do not have water or services – plan ahead.  I always carry my Black Hills National Forest [Map Pack Bundle] with me – makes navigating the trail easy.

What is your favorite fall hike in the Black Hill’s?