Nature January 05, 2022
12 Scenic Trails To Explore In South Dakota, One For Each Month Of The Year
When you live in (or are visiting) South Dakota, it can be hard to figure out what to add to your bucket list, especially when there are so many incredible things to see and do. Never fear, your friends at Only in South Dakota are here, this time with a list of 12 can’t-miss SoDak trails, one for each month of the year:
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. January - Black Elk Peak
Located in the heart of the Black Hills, Black Elk Peak is billed as being South Dakota's highest point, which is made all the more unique by the fact that there is a turn-of-the-20th-century old stone fire tower at the top of the mountain! Please note: The trail is deemed moderate but can get trickier with any snow or ice. Use caution when hiking.
2. February - Good Earth State Park at Blood Run
There is never a bad time to hike around Good Earth State Park at Blood Run; however, we find its many short and sweet trails to be even more beautiful under a soft blanket of snow.
3. March - Devil's Gulch
While the name may sound a bit morbid, Devil's Gulch is actually the opposite, as the trail is short and sweet (.5 miles, to be exact) and ends at a dramatic canyon. Even cooler? Devil's Gulch is downright legendary, as it is said to be the spot where Jesse James jumped 28 feet off a bridge and into the water below, once again evading law enforcement.
4. April - Presidential Trail
There is no better way to kick off the spring/soon-to-be tourist season than by waving "hi" to our Fab 4, which is EXACTLY what you can do when hiking this famous .9-mile Mount Rushmore loop! Nestled away inside the Mount Rushmore National Monument, the Presidential Trail is suitable for novices and experts alike and gives you a close-up view of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt.
5. May - George S. Mickelson Trail
Are you ready to walk or ride 108 miles? Not really? No problem, as you can hop on or off the 108-mile-long George S. Mickelson Trail - which follows the tracks of an old Burlington Northern Railroad route - anytime you want!
6. June - Trail of the Spirits
Sure, the Trail of the Spirits is beautiful and full of shady spots, but you may want to watch your step, as the seemingly peaceful path is said to still be inhabited by its original residents. You have been warned.
7. July - Sunday Gulch
It's our 7th month of hiking, which means we have worked our way up to more strenuous trails like Sunday Gulch. Spanning 3 miles, Sunday Gulch may not sound daunting but features steep hills and staircases. While this may not sound too enticing, the surrounding landscape makes all of the hard work worthwhile.
8. August - Cascade Falls
In the summertime, when the weather is high, there is no better short and sweet trail than the one that leads to Cascade Falls (AKA the Old Swimming Hole)! Boasting 67-degree spring-fed water and smooth rocks to slide down or lounge upon, there is no better place for cooling off in SoDak.
9. September - Notch Trail
There is never a bad time to visit the Badlands; however, we think it's the best in late summer when temperatures are a bit more comfortable, and you can safely climb the 1.5-mile trail's ladder without worrying about ice!
10. October - Roughlock Falls
My personal favorite fall hike is Roughlock Falls... can you see why? Not only are the falls themselves downright stunning, but so is the 2-mile loop that goes to and from the waterfall.
11. November - Falls Park
Thanksgiving has come and gone, so it is time to kick off the holiday season at the one and only Falls Park! Featuring 355,926+ LEDs and lights, 270 trees, and 275 light poles, there is no better way to get into the holiday spirit than by walking around this paved trail.
12. December - Mount Roosevelt Trail Winter Route
Birding, wildlife sightings, and jaw-dropping views await at the aptly-named Mount Roosevelt Trail Winter Route, which spans a mere 1-mile and makes for a perfect year-end hike!
For even more must-take hikes, check out
The 10 Gorgeous Hikes Everyone In South Dakota Must Complete. Address: Black Elk Peak, Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, USA Address: Mount Roosevelt Road, Mt Roosevelt Rd, South Dakota, USA Address: East Falls Park Drive, E Falls Park Dr, Sioux Falls, SD, USA Address: Roughlock Falls, South Lawrence, SD 57754, USA Address: Notch Trail, Interior Township, SD 57750, USA Address: Cascade Falls, Northeast Fall River, SD 57747, USA Address: Sica Hollow Road, Sica Hollow Rd, Red Iron Lake Township, SD, USA Address: Sunday Gulch, West Pennington, SD 57730, USA Address: Devil's Gulch Park Road, Devil's Gulch Park Rd, Garretson, SD 57030, USA Address: George S. Mickelson Trail, Deadwood, SD, USA Address: Good Earth State Park Visitor Center, 26924 480th Ave, Sioux Falls, SD 57108, USA Address: Mount Rushmore, Mt Rushmore, Mount Rushmore UT, SD 57751, USA