Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park has it all!

By | Aug 13th, 2013 | Category: Outdoor Recreation
Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park has it all!

I need to confess something… Despite a few workouts here and there, I’ve been a bit lazy this summer! Lately, whenever I plan to get outside for a workout, it’s either hailing and down-pouring, or something else that sounds more enjoyable seems to pop up…

To quickly steer this away from spiraling into a pity party for myself, I want to share what has been motivating me to get back into my groove. Ready for the big secret?? …………It’s M-Hill!  Properly, it’s Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park, and it’s home to over 20 miles of trails – all open to the public!

In the last couple weeks, I’ve been rediscovering how lucky we are to have this gem in the heart of Rapid City. I love that all I need to do is lace up my shoes and instantly I can escape to into another world.

Whether I’m looking for sun or shade, there are endless trail options for hiking or running, and it’s so conveniently located near downtown. The trails are well maintained and I can make it as challenging as I”d like. During a recent jog, I explored the new wider trail that’s been developed on the inner side of Rapid Creek, beside the hill. Depending on where you are starting, this creates another option for connecting to the city bike path, while being serenaded by the babbling creek.

Outside of hiking or running, you can expect to see a few folks with crash pads mastering their climbing techniques at the base of the hill on the “Vegan” boulder. This boulder offers infinite finger pockets, jugs, footholds and pinches to fit any climber’s style. Today I met Rad Hakim, a new resident to the Black Hills from Florida. He said he had never gotten into climbing before he moved to Rapid City. “I”ve gotten into all this climbing stuff since I moved here. We didn”t have anything like this in Florida.” He said he”s also been enjoying the convenience of M-Hill for running as well, “I haven”t been biking yet, but it does look fun. But I like coming here to run too.”

If you’re new to bouldering and want to see what it’s about, Vegan is a perfect place to get started. If you want to try it out, Edge Sports in downtown Rapid City rents out climbing shoes for a daily rate. Or if you already know that you’re serious about getting into the sport and want to invest in your own gear, we have a few local outdoor stores that specialize in climbing gear and can assist you with purchasing everything you need.

Most likely, the strongest community of users that cherish the park are the mountain bikers. The Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park trail system allows riders to choose a variety of paths – there”s easy climbs, rocky sections, technical descents, gently-graded, challenging inclines and more. It”s all about what you prefer. The trails are well marked with a difficulty rating so you know what you”re getting yourself into. If you want to plan a route in advance, you can access the , or pick one up at any of our local bike shops. The best part is that with so many trail options, you don”t have to feel like you”re competing for the trail and you can pedal at your own pace.

No matter which activity you decide to do, if you make it to the top of the hill you are sure to see the reward in your efforts. The views from the top of Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park are incredible – you can spot Harney Peak, Mt. Rushmore, The Badlands and Bear Butte, in addition to the breathtaking views of Rapid City. If you make it to the big white “M” you can also spot the names of the graduating classes from South Dakota School of Mines. I’m a proud big sister and always have to search out my brother’s name under the electrical engineers of 2010!

With the completion of the Founder’s Park improvements, there is easy access to the trails and climbing right off West Omaha. For year-round outdoor options, Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park offers so much, and the convenience is unbeatable! No more excuses for this girl – I’ll see you on the trails!



About the Author

is a South Dakota native, with family roots in Beresford. She attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls, a year of which she spent studying in Norway and traveling extensively through Scandinavia and most of Europe. She acquired her degree in Sociology and International Studies, as well as a stronger appreciation of her Nordic heritage. Despite her love of travel, she and her husband have thoroughly enjoyed making Rapid City their home. She satisfies her wanderlust by soaking up all the beautiful scenery and historic treasures the Hills have to offer. (Though you'll still catch her stashing loose change in a jar labeled "next trip to Europe.") She is the Communications Director for Black Hills & Badlands Tourism Association.

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