Explore what you can do in the Black Hills!
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♦ Landmarks ♦ Trails ♦ Lakes ♦ Fishing ♦ Scenic Drives
♦ Rock Climbing ♦ Camping ♦ Events ♦ Hunting ♦ Winter Activities
Winter Activities in the Black Hills
There are many options when cross country skiing in the Black Hills. You can simply take off on an old logging road and be surprised at what you will find, or you can choose one of the designated areas set aside for cross country skiers. Near Spearfish you'll find the Big Hill Ski Area has over 17 miles of trails which are groomed on a regular basis by the Black Hills Nordic Ski Club. There is a contribution box at the trailhead to help pay for maintaining the trails. There are five loop trails, and one spur.
Outside of Lead you'll find the Eagle Cliff Ski Area with over 25 miles of interlocking trails, which are not groomed. These areas have difficulty ratings from easy through difficult. There are three accesses to the Eagle Cliff Trails at 7.4 to 9.4 miles southwest of Cheyenne Crossing on Highway 85. For an Eagle Cliffs brochure and map please visit www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5194543.pdf.
The Beaver Creek Cross Country Ski Area is located 17 miles northeast of Newcastle, Wyoming. There are six trails with a total distance of 12.9 miles. One of the trails, the Mallo Trail, also serves as a groomed snowmobile trail.
The Sundance Trail System, near Sundance, Wyoming is one of the most remote trail systems. These trails vary from wooded canyons to high ridge tops with amazing views from the Bearlodge Mountains all the way to Twin Missouri Buttes. Another beautiful view is of Devil's Tower.
There are also two commercial downhills ski areas in the Black Hills.
For ski conditions at Terry Peak please visit www.terrypeak.com
For ski conditions at Mystic Miner please visit http://skimystic.com/main.php
The Black Hills are one of the top snowmobiling areas in the country. There are over 350 of miles of trails which are groomed from December 15 through March 31. These trails pass through dense woods and open meadows up to 6000 feet and offer spectacular scenery. There are warming shelters and campgrounds along the way.
Black Hills Snowmobile Trail Map:
Wyoming Black Hills Snowmobile Trail Map:
All the lakes in the Black Hills are good for ice fishing. Deerfield Lake has the longest season because of its elevation. While it takes longer for Pactola Lake to freeze all the way over, the edges and many small gulches freeze over much sooner than the central portion. Sheridan Lake offers the most variety of fish. Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park is noted for it's trout fishing and easy access.
According to ice fisherman in the area, in early winter when the ice is clear of snow the fish become very nervous and go for deeper areas whenever they spot any activity above them through the clear ice. Being still, or better yet, having a shelter to disguise your silhouette, helps your chances. As the ice thickens, it helps to move out to the deeper areas of a lake. As winter goes on and oxygen in the water becomes more scarce the fish move to deeper water and become less active. They still need to eat however, so a heavy lure which will go down 30 feet or more seems to work best. As spring approaches and the weather warms the fish become more active once again and need to eat more. This is a great time to fish, but be extremely wary of the ice conditions.
According to the Game, Fish and Parks Department, stay off the ice if it is less than 4" thick. If there is no snow and the ice is clear, it can be generally considered safe to walk on in single file. Ice must be in good condition and at least 6 - 12" thick before snowmobile and ATV travel is considered to be safe. For cars and small trucks ice should be at least 16" thick and in good condition.
Please see our Events page for some ice fishing competitions scheduled for Spring 2011.
Many of the Black Hills trails such as the Mickelson Trail, and the Centennial Trail, and the trails in Custer State Park are good places to snowshoe in the winter months. The cross country ski trails are also great places to travel. Please note, though, that most cross country ski areas have a separate trail for snow shoeing, so that the groomed ski trails remain in good condition. Don't be afraid to try any of the old logging roads, they travel through some very scenic areas!
Big Hill near Spearfish is a great place for snowshoeing. For a snowshoe map of Big Hill, near Spearfish please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5228496.pdf. To reach Big Hill go south out of Spearfish on FSR 134 (Tinton Road) approximately eight miles to the trailhead which is on the east side of the road.
Eagle Cliffs is another area great for snowshoeing. To reach Eagle Cliffs from Spearfish, take Hwy 14A south through Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway to Hwy 85 at Cheyenne Crossing. If you are coming from Deadwood or Lead take Hwy 85 north out of town. Once you are at Cheyenne Crossing, take Hwy 85 southwest for 7.4, 8.4, and 9.4 miles to the trailheads.
For a map of the Eagle Cliff snowshoe area please visit http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5228494.pdf.
For an Eagle Cliffs brochure and map please visit www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5194543.pdf.
Spearfish Canyon is a great place for ice climbing. Some favorite areas are Community Caves and Bridal Veil Falls at the lower end of the canyon, and Eleventh Hour Gulch nearer the top end of the canyon.