South Dakota March 28, 2018
The Tower Hike In South Dakota That’s Loaded With History
If you’ve ever visited Deadwood, you might be familiar with a quaint little stone tower that offers up a beautiful Black Hills view. The history of how this tower came to be is so heartwarming that you’re going to want to take the short hike to see it ASAP.
The Mount Roosevelt Memorial Tower is also known as "Friendship Tower," which is an apt name, considering the story behind it.
The tower stands 31 feet tall and has a viewing platform at the top, providing an incredible view of the surrounding Black Hills National Forest.
The tower was built as a memorial from one friend to another.
Seth Bullock, beloved sheriff of Deadwood, met Theodore Roosevelt in 1884. At the time, Roosevelt was the deputy sheriff of Medora, North Dakota, and he was tracking some horse thieves when he met Sheriff Bullock. The two became friends, and maintained a close friendship for the rest of their lives.
When President Roosevelt died in January of 1919, Seth Bullock wanted to do something special to commemorate his friend.
The Society of Black Hills Pioneers contributed to the costs of the tower, and it was completed and dedicated on July 4, 1919. It was the first public memorial dedicated to President Theodore Roosevelt after his death. Just a few months after the tower's dedication, Seth Bullock passed away at age 70. The tower, surrounded by the natural beauty of the Black Hills, is a fitting tribute from Bullock to Roosevelt. Both men spent their lives dedicated to the conservation and protection of public lands, and both were particularly involved in conservation efforts in the Black Hills.
To see the tower close up, take a short hike.
The trailhead starts at the picnic area of the Mt. Roosevelt Memorial. It's a short, but fairly steep hike that's considered moderately difficult.
Make sure to stop at the overlook along the way.
The views here are stunning.
Once you reach the tower, you'll climb up the winding staircase to the viewing platform.
The staircase was built in 2010, and offers a handrail to help you in your ascent. The stairs are steep, but the view from the top is worth it.
The viewing platform is six feet high, and provides a 360-degree view.
You'll want to bring your camera on this adventure, because the views from the top of the tower are just incredible.
Friendship Tower is located just north of Deadwood.
To reach the Mt. Roosevelt Memorial and Picnic Area, take US Highway 85 northbound. After 1.5 miles, take FSR 133 and drive for another mile and watch for the sign. The site includes a picnic area with five picnic tables and restrooms.
Have you visited the Mount Theodore Roosevelt Monument?
This tower is a great place to visit this spring, and here are
11 more spots to visit in South Dakota now that the weather is warming up.