The South Side Trail begins at the amphitheater near Belle Fourche Campground and ends at a junction with Red Beds Trail
. From the amphitheater, follow the trail north and soak up the top-notch views of Devils Tower
. Almost immediately, the Valley View Trail
branches off to the right, giving you a longer option to get to Red Beds Trail
Continuing on South Side Trail, you'll see lots of prairie dogs and eventually cross the main road. After crossing the road, the trail steepens and ascends some +200' through open forest. Remember to look back to the south as you ascend for great views of the Black Hills.
When you hit Red Beds Trail
, turn right to complete most of that loop or left for the quickest way to the visitor center.
This trail traverses the park's floodplain ecosystem and is home to prairie dog colonies. A prairie dog's light-brown fur blends in well with the color of the dirt that makes up their mounds. Named due to their bark-like alarm call and black-tipped tails, prairie dogs are, on average, about 14 to 17 inches in total length and weigh between 1 and 3 pounds. With short, strong legs and toes with long nails on their front and hind feet, prairie dogs are well-equipped for a burrowing lifestyle.