BEST AREAS FOR WILDERNESS CAMPING
BLACK HILLS NATIONAL FOREST 1,200,000 acres. Located in the Black Hills of west and southwest South Dakota, this National Forest is a scenic area of high mountains, rocky knobs and needles, limestone cliffs and canyons. It’s home to 7,242-foot Harney Peak, highest elevation east of the Rockies.
The famous Mount Rushmore National Memorial is located within the National Forest boundaries. Also here is the 27,760-acre Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, which includes a designated wilderness area, the 10,700-acre Black Elk Wilderness.
There are numerous small streams, a few lakes, meadows and grasslands, and forests of ponderosa pine and spruce, oak and aspen. Wildlife includes white-tailed and mule deer, bighorn sheep, elk, and mountain goat.
Activities: Hiking and backpacking are available on over 180 miles of trails, including 63 miles of the 111-mile Centennial Trail (see entry page 260). Difficulty ranges from easy to strenuous.
Many trails are open to horseback riding and mountain biking. Cross-country skiing is possible during winter. Fishing is also available, and hunting is permitted in season.
Camping Regulations: Camping is allowed throughout the forest, except near public recreation areas or where posted otherwise. No permits are necessary. Campfires are prohibited. Campsites should be at least 100 feet from streams, and preferably out of sight of trails.
For Further Information: Black Hills National Forest, RR 2, Box 200, Custer, SD 57730; (605)673-2251.