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Bear Butte State Park

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General Information

Description - Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” is the Lakota name given to this site. To the Cheyenne, it is "Noahvose." This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills that formed millions of years ago. The mountain is sacred to many American Indian tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Please be respectful of worshippers and their religious practices. Many American Indians see Bear Butte as a place where the creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer. During your visit, you will see colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from the trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship. Please respect these offerings and leave them undisturbed.

Attractions - The Bear Butte Education Center highlights the mountain's geology, history and the cultural beliefs of the Northern Plains Indians, particularly the Cheyenne and Lakota. An on-site interpreter is available during the summer months. Buffalo: A buffalo herd roams the base of the butte. Buffalo are dangerous, please keep your distance and do not approach. preter is available during the summer months.

Recreation - 1.85 mile Summit Trail, open 8 am to 7 pm; 2.5 mile Lake Trail; Northernmost point of 111-mile Centennial Trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Horse camp and trail. Riding west of Hwy 79 only. Picnic shelter. Cultural and historical interest. Fishing/Boating: Wheelchair accessible fishing dock. Boats with 25 hp or smaller motors.

Location - Located 6 miles NE of Sturgis off SD Hwy 79

Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
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Filed By: April (Spearfish, SD)
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Bear Butte is one of my favorite hikes in the Black Hills! It's a unique hike, the butte burned in 1996 and the trees still have a lot of growing to do, but this provides for excellent views during the entire hike. The views are by far the biggest reward of this hike. The butte sits on the northern edge of the Black Hills, so you get views of both the Black Hills and the endless prairie. There is also a lot of wildlife to see. On my last hike I saw deer, hawks and two marmots! I definitely recommend this moderately easy hike to everyone. But don't go on a really windy day-you'll get blown off the mountain!

More Information

Contact Information:
Bear Butte State Park, PO Box 688; E Hwy 79 , Sturgis, South Dakota, 57785, Phone: (605) 347-5240
, BearButte@state.sd.us

Additional Information:
South Dakota State Parks -


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