Trail Run Project Logo

This great run allows visitors to explore varied terrain and environments on mostly easy trails.


Your Rating: Rating Rating Rating Rating Rating      Clear Rating
Your Difficulty:
Your Favorites: Add To-Do · Your List
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

4.9

Miles

7.8

KM

96%

Runnable

4,344' 1,324 m

High

3,997' 1,218 m

Low

429' 131 m

Up

428' 131 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek · Views · Wildlife

Overview

This great, moderate loop is perfect for visitors seeking to stretch their legs, and spend some time exploring the largest grassland in the United States. This loop ties together a great lookout, open prairie terrain, and the opportunity to travel next to Beaver Creek.

Need to Know

Multiple creek crossings may get your feet wet, especially early in the season.

Runner Notes

With mixed terrain and a few creek crossings, this is a great and adventurous run.

Description

If you're ready to set out on a loop that includes the best above-ground features of Wind Cave National Park, this is the perfect run for you. Your journey begins at the Centennial trailhead parking area, located on SD route 87. There is ample parking.

The loop itself can be completed in either direction, depending on when you want to reach Lookout Point and the great viewpoint there. This route saves the lookout for the second half, and travels clockwise. Beginning from the parking area, head out on the Centennial Trail. The first portion of the trail will be a relaxed descent, as you'll be working your way down to Reaves Gulch. From there, you'll be following along Beaver Creek, a lively and very chilly stream. This first part the run is well shaded, and you'll enjoy taking in the ponderosa pines that surround the trail and the creek.

After about 1.5 miles, you'll reach a junction where the Centennial Trail continues north. Instead, turn southeast onto the Centennial Spur Trail. This brief trail will continue the gentle descent along Beaver Creek towards Limestone Canyon.

At a second trail junction, you'll turn south on the Highland Creek Trail. This shaded trail is a cool respite on warmer days, and visitors will enjoy navigating through the riparian ecosystem. The shade will be much appreciated, as this portion of trail includes one of the only strenuous climbs of the journey. You'll ascend out of the Beaver Creek drainage and will climb toward the open prairie grasslands above. Once you've left the canyon-like feature that you have been traveling in, you'll reach a third and final trail junction.

Take the Lookout Point Trail from where it meets with the Highland Creek Trail, and you'll be turning back towards your vehicle. This lovely trail provides stunning views of the open grasslands around you. The rolling terrain is a great way to end your journey, and you'll enjoy moving between shaded ponderosa stands and open grassland. Stop at Lookout Point about 3.3 miles into your trip to enjoy this especially scenic spot.

Once you've had your fill, you can continue back to the trailhead by following along the Lookout Point Trail.

Flora & Fauna

Located not far from a prairie dog town, visitors might catch a glimpse of those rodents, or the Bison and Pronghorn that inhabit the area. You may see beaver along Beaver Creek, and elk may also be taking refuge in the shade.

Contacts

Shared By:

Mikhaila Redovian

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 7 votes

#3698

Overall
  4.0 from 7 votes
5 Star
14%
4 Star
71%
3 Star
14%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#12

in South Dakota

#3,698

Overall
4 Views Last Month
1,367 Since Jul 7, 2016
Intermediate Intermediate

0%
0%
100%
0%
0%
0%

Photos

Pronghorn at Wind Cave NP.
Oct 1, 2015 near Hot Spr…, SD
A view over the prairie from the intersection of the Lookout Point Trail and Highland Creek Trail.
Nov 4, 2021 near Pringle, SD
A Buffalo bull eating alongside the trail.
Nov 4, 2021 near Pringle, SD
In the Fall, the trails are beautiful.
Nov 4, 2021 near Pringle, SD
A Buffalo stands on the side of the trail along the Lookout Point Trail.
Nov 4, 2021 near Pringle, SD
Looking out over the prairie with the Black Hills in the background.
Nov 4, 2021 near Pringle, SD

0 Comments

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Unknown
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

none
Welcome

Join the Community

Create your FREE account today!
Already have an account? Login to close this notice.

Get Started