Strap on Some Snowshoes

By | Dec 17th, 2015 | Category: Outdoor Recreation
Strap on Some Snowshoes

Winter in the Black Hills offers plenty of outdoor activities, and one of my favorites is snowshoeing. It’s quiet, low-tech, and easy to do. Basically it allows us to get our hiking fix even in deep snow, and the best part is that it allows you to get out on the trails during the quiet time of year.

One of my favorite places to snowshoe is Deerfield Lake, west of Hill City. This 11-mile loop around the lake offers up terrific scenery and quiet trails. If completing all 11 miles sounds daunting (let’s be honest, snowshoeing is a bit slower than zipping around on a snowmobile or a dogsled), then just do a portion. There are three trailheads to choose from: Gold Rush, North Shore and Custer Trails. Gold Rush will start you out on a tail of the lake while the other two offer immediate views of the main body of the lake. You can’t go wrong with any of them.

Snowshoes

To get to Deerfield Lake, take Deerfield Road (Highway 17) from Hill City; the lake is approximately 15 miles from town. Gold Rush trailhead is the closest, with North Shore and Custer Trails each a few miles further as you drive around the lake. For a trail map, click here.

If you want to do a group hike, take advantage of one of the several guided snowshoe hikes held throughout the Black Hills. The South Dakota Game, Fish & Park website is a great resource for viewing all of the upcoming hikes: gfp.sd.gov/calendar.aspx

Snowshoeing with dog

These hike are a great introduction into snowshoeing because the park provides snowshoes if you don’t have your own pair. However, if you want to reserve a pair, you can do so through either the Peter Norbeck Educational Center (605-255-4464) or the Black Hills Trails Office (605-584-3896). The hikes are free, and if there is no snow, they will still hold a guided hike, sans snowshoes. It’s a win-win situation.

Remember that for hikes within Custer State Park or on the Mickelson Trail, you will need to hold the appropriate pass. Beginning on January 1, 2016, Mickelson Trail passes will be $4 for a day pass, or $15 for an annual pass. South Dakota State Park annual licenses are $30. (Purchasers of one license can also buy a second at half price!)

Get out there and have some fun in the snow!

About the Author

is a freelance writer and social media manager who spent most of her years in South Dakota, from the Perkins County prairies to the granite spires near Custer. She loves to hike, paddle, and camp but is a reluctant mountain biker. She has recently relocated to Sheridan, WY, and is trying to get accustomed to hiking in bear and moose country as opposed to buffalo country. If you meet her on the trail, you can hit her up for a granola bar or Band-Aid.

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