Big Hill Trail Outer Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,471' 448 m
Descent: -1,471' -448 m
High: 5,552' 1,692 m
Low: 5,001' 1,524 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 22% (12°)
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“Run through pine and birch with views of Spearfish Canyon.”— ktboundary Thompson
Most of the trail is on older Forest Service road, so the overhead cover can be sparse, and also detracts slightly from the singletrack feel. If you are looking for something technical, this isn't the run for you. There may also be cattle, which can be a nuisance.
The trail then comes to the intersection between the Big Hill Trail #72, A Loop and Big Hill Trail #72, B Loop. Stay right and follow the B loop. The trail meanders through some denser aspen groves and climbs a slight grade before descending to meet with the A Loop again.
Stay right and follow the short segment of Big Hill Trail #72, A Loop to Big Hill Trail #72, D Loop. Again, hang a hard right to follow D Loop. Ascend the trail and avoid the creeks if it is wet out. Follow the streams around and back down until a short spur is met called D1. This spur takes you to a viewpoint of Spearfish Canyon. It is worth the short trip out and back to take in the stunning views.
Continue back to D Loop and meet up with Eleventh Hour Spring and the intersection with Big Hill Trail #72, C Loop. Take a right-hand turn to follow C Loop and the Eleventh Hour Creek. This section is a nice run along the stream and would make for a good spot to cool off if needed. Climb up the hill and follow some tight turns through the forest and old service roads. There are views of the surrounding Black Hills from the high points.
Follow C Loop until reaching the junction with Big Hill Trail #72, A Loop. This section is run through some grassy pastures and open areas. There may be some wet spots if there has been significant moisture. Follow A Loop back to the bridge/fence crossing and back out to the trailhead.
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Land Manager: USFS - Black Hills National Forest Office