The 1.6-Billion-Year-Old Split Rock Creek Trail In South Dakota Just Gets Better With Age
While we know that South Dakota history goes back some thousands of years with its original Native American residents, you may be surprised to learn that the Mount Rushmore State is much, much older than that. While prehistoric tribes may have been the first humans to occupy the area, before that were animals, dinosaurs (Sue the T-Rex, anyone), and jaw-dropping land and rock formations, some dating back billions of years. If you want to step back in time and check out something that is the very definition of historical, you will love hiking the Split Rock Creek Trail:
Nestled away inside of Palisades State Park, the Split Rock Creek Trail is a 1.5-mile out-and-back path that is accessible year-round and popular for hiking and biking.
What makes the Split Rock Creek Trail both unique and historical? Following its namesake Split Rock Creek, the Trail and Creek are both surrounded by stunning Sioux quartzite formations that can tower up to 50-feet over the ground.
Featuring layers of small to medium rounded grains of quartz, Quartzite is estimated to be between 1.6 and 1.7 billion years old, making it some of the oldest rock in the world.
In addition to being both old and hard (Quartzite isn't only some of the oldest, but some of the hardest rock in the world!), the gem gives off a distinct pink or red color, which is the result of a thin film of iron oxide around the grains of quartz.
Can't get enough of this incredible mineral? You can hike one (or all!) of the Palisades' other three trails, which not only feature Quartzite but different levels of difficulty.
Do you want to make a weekend out of your visit to the Split Rock Creek Trail? No problem, as you can also camp at the nearby Split Rock Creek campground!
To reserve your spot, call (800) 710-2267.
The Split Rock Creek Trail is open year-round and can be accessed via Exit 410 near Garretson.
For even more unforgettable South Dakota trails, check out
There’s A Hike In South Dakota That Leads You Straight To An Abandoned Village.
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Palisades State Park, 25491 485th Ave, Garretson, SD 57030, USA