Centennial Trail

Distance: 111 One Way | Surface: gravel, dirt

Star Rating

Trail Addict Rating: 4 62 ratings

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Experience

This trail was built in 1989 to mark the 100th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood. It is an 111-mile trail that will take you through prairies and mountainous areas. The trail begins at Bear Butte State Park, travels through the Fort Meade Recreation Area, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park and ends in Wind Cave National Park. It is open to hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. However, portions of the trail do not allow horses or bikes. Those portions of the trail are clearly marked.

Directions

  • Head north on Mt Rushmore Rd toward St Joseph St
  • Turn left at the 2nd cross street onto Main St
  • Turn left onto Jackson Blvd
  • Continue onto SD-44 W
  • Turn left onto US-385 S

Reminder: To use this map on your route, make sure to download this gpx file into your favorite mapping app. in case you lose cellular connection.

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62 Comments

  1. 3

    This is a simple portion of the Centennial Trail; nothing too strenuous and easy to follow.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Samelius & Big Pine

  2. 4

    Nice hike. If you have 2 vehicles and only have to hike 1 way, start at Big Pine. If only 1 vehicle, start at Samelius; there is a pretty decent hill close to Big Pine Trailhead and hitting it at the 1/2 way point makes for a more enjoyable hike back. Always pay attention to trail markings on the Centennial, it is easy to follow the wrong path!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Samelius & Big Pine

  3. 4

    This is a great trail for beginner hikers, families with young children, or beginner trail-runners. Watch the trail signs closely or you will end up on the road, rather than the trailhead!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek

  4. 3

    Simple, easy trail.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.1
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Dalton Lake & South Boxelder

  5. 4

    Pretty easy hike.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.1
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Dalton Lake & South Boxelder

  6. 4

    Enjoyable hike. Nothing too strenuous.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek

  7. 5

    This can be a strenuous hike at several points, so be prepared! This would be a great hike in mid to late Summer as there is plenty of tree cover and lots and lots of berry plants on the side of the road. Keep in mind that ATV’s are allowed on this trail 🙁

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7.6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-South Boxelder & Pilot Knob

  8. 5

    I love the centennial trail. We’ve gotten in some sections this year thus far. I definitely need to pick up some snowshoes for my winter hiking.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 30
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake + CT-Dalton Lake & South Boxelder + CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Flume & Samelius + CT-Samelius & Big Pine

  9. 2

    I didn’t quite make it – it was supposed to be 5 miles. I hiked 5 and a half but never found the next trailhead before I had to turn back because the group was hot and tired! Someday I’ll find it again…

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 10.88
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek

  10. 4

    Good hike with a couple of challenging spots – nice variety of scenery, vegetation, and terrain.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7.6
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-South Boxelder & Pilot Knob

  11. 5

    Wonderful portion of the Centennial Trail – something for everyone!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Bear Butte Lake & Fort Meade + CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek

  12. 5

    Fun hike!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Bear Butte Lake & Fort Meade + CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek

  13. 4

    Lots of variety on this trail

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek

  14. 4

    Good hike! The beginning was pretty easy, but it got more challenging at the end.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek

  15. 4

    Wear your comfy shoes! This is a long trail w/ a lot of rocks.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 11.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek

  16. 4

    Challenging hike – long and a lot of ups and downs.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 11.5
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek

  17. 4

    Sunday’s trail conditions were great and a HOT one even starting at 6AM

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Trail Running
    Miles completed: 16
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek

  18. 3

    great views of Bear Utte

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Bear Butte Lake & Fort Meade

  19. 5

    This is a very enjoyable trail – great for beginners and little kids!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.9
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek

  20. 5

    Other than the trail being overgrown in many places, this was a great hike! Great diversity in terrain and scenery.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.9
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek

  21. 4

    Awesome. Bring a picnic lunch

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 0.7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek

  22. 4

    Wish all the bridges were still up, was not prepared to cross the creek the day we went.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2.4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek

  23. 5

    Nice easy hike.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.9
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake

  24. 5

    Long hike, but not treacherous – amazing views!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 13
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake

  25. 4

    Good variety of scenery and elevation change. Great views. Long!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 13
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake

  26. 5

    A lot of long, steep stretches. Spectacular views of Sheridan Lake, Hill City, Harney Peak, and plains.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Flume & Samelius

  27. 4

    Not recommended for beginners, young kids, or anyone with balance issues. Treacherous hiking up and down, but amazing views in several places!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Flume & Samelius

  28. 5

    Great hike! Lots of different terrain and scenery!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point + CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek

  29. 3

    great views

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek + CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek

  30. 5

    Fairly easy hike a lot of different terrain and landscapes. 2 of the 3 bridges were out, so our feet got a lil wet!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point + CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek

  31. 5

    The 1st 3 miles of this trail are very simple!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek

  32. 5

    It’s hard to give a review without doing the whole trail – the beginning was great! It was easy and had a lot of variety.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek

  33. 5

    This is a fun trail! It’s a little long, but it’s easy and has a great variety of terrain and scenery – areas around the creek are beautiful!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.1
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek

  34. 5

    Really enjoyed this trail even though it was long. There was plenty of shade to do in the summer and TONS of ripe raspberries in laste July!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.1
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek

  35. 5

    So much fun going over the little bridges and across the prairie!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail

  36. 5

    Pretty hike in late summer – so many different flowers and lots of bees and dragonflies! Fun following the creek at the end!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail

  37. 4

    Nice variety of plains, rocky terrain, and wooded trails. We went in mid-August and saw 3 bison – one was laying ON the trail!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Badger Hole & French Creek

  38. 3

    Not the most exciting part of the Centennial, but a nice hike.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Iron Creek & Badger Hole

  39. 4

    Easy trail. Saw my 1st Elk!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 7
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Iron Creek & Badger Hole

  40. 4

    It was a great time.many places I would hike again. Disappointed with many trailheads as no place to sit down and regroup. From Dalton lake to Nemo to much like walking on a road and heavy atv traffic. The wilderness area I will not go on again, from the Mt Rushmore trail to Iron Creek TH I spent more energy stepping around horse poo, even some places the trail seemed paved in the stuff. And I saw more wild life north of there and definitely Custer Park and Wind Cave. I had 5 separate detours around buffalo. Awesome

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 114.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Bear Butte Lake & Fort Meade + CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point + CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek + CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Flume & Samelius + CT-Samelius & Big Pine + CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek + CT-Willow Creek & Lakota Lake + CT-Lakota Lake & Iron Creek + CT-Iron Creek & Badger Hole + CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek + CT-Badger Hole & French Creek + CT-French Creek & Highland Creek + CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail + CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek + CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake + CT-Dalton Lake & South Boxelder + CT-South Boxelder & Pilot Knob + CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek + CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek + CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek

  41. 5

    Have completed these so far this year 2017. Started last year 2016 Legion Lake to Samelius. I hike out at a trailhead about halfway between trailheads then back so I actually am doing the Centennial twice. Best part DP to SC. Summer flowers amazing.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 48
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek + CT-Flume & Samelius + CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek + CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek

  42. 4

    Very nice trail. Oak trees are starting to turn yellow, more so in the canyons vice top of the hill. I really liked the area, a bit different than being in the hills.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6.46
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek

  43. 5

    The Centennial is a great Trail to hike, but be very aware of trail markings – it is easy to miss markers! Don’t ever go more than a 1/2 mile without seeing the 89 sign.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 30.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Willow Creek & Lakota Lake + CT-Lakota Lake & Iron Creek + CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek + CT-French Creek & Highland Creek

  44. 5

    Loved the Centennial Trail. We averaged 1 hike a week from mid-April to late-August and finished the whole thing. Watch trail markers, it’s easy to go the wrong way!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Completed again
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 20.3
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Willow Creek & Lakota Lake + CT-Lakota Lake & Iron Creek + CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek

  45. 5

    I love the Centennial Trail…just LOVE it! Hopefully, one of these days, I could thru-hike it.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 53.2
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Fort Meade & Alkali Creek + CT-Alkali Creek & Elk Creek + CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake + CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek + CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek + CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point + CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek + CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Flume & Samelius

  46. 3

    .

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point

  47. 4

    We were the only ones on the trail. Our dog enjoyed the water along the way!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Big Pine & Willow Creek

  48. 2

    Near Jenny Gulch. Super close to the road.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek

  49. 5

    Never gets old. Love to do yoga on the cliffs!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Dakota Point & Spring Creek

  50. 4

    Started off in a pouring rain, but then the sky cleared up. Many Prairie Dogs and lots of water. Also ALOT of poison ivy along the trail. Wear pants.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4.12
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail

  51. 4

    Love the centennial, especially getting into this area

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 4
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Brush Creek & Dakota Point

  52. 4

    At the top it’s not a beautiful as it used to be, do to Dec. 2018 fire.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Badger Hole & French Creek

  53. 3

    My dog loved it and so did i!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Dalton Lake & South Boxelder

  54. 2

    Lot of ATV driving on road trails, made it a noisy hike.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.8
    Gender: Male
    Trail: CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake

  55. 5

    We just walked down and back a little ways by badger hole. Nice trail!

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Badger Hole & French Creek

  56. 5

    Great hike following Beaver Creek.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 5.6
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail

  57. 4

    I’ve hopped on and off Centennial Trail in connecting other trails to create loops. Even when some of those other trails were tough to follow or poorly marked, then CT is always well marked, well maintained & easy to follow. The sections I’ve done in and around Custer SP have had a lot of wildlife trails intersecting which can be a bit confusing, but I think that’s to be expected in some of those narrower, single-track sections. I really enjoy the more rugged single-track feel of the CT vs the dirt road feeling of the Mickleson.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 14.3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Lakota Lake & Iron Creek + CT-Iron Creek & Badger Hole + CT-French Creek & Highland Creek + CT-Highland Creek & Norbeck Trail + CT-Elk Creek & Dalton Lake

  58. 5

    What a beautiful section of the Centennial! There were a lot of dead trees in some areas so it was a bit nerve racking on a very windy day, but that’s not unique to this trail. It was a great challenging hike with gorgeous views of Sheridan Lake.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 11.8
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Spring Creek & Flume + CT-Flume & Samelius

  59. 4

    Another lovely section of Centennial. Beautifully maintained without feeling too… “sanitized”. Gorgeous views of the area.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 1.3
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Lakota Lake & Iron Creek

  60. 5

    We did the Legion Lake Centennial Trail hike. Unfortunately you don’t have a listing for this beautiful hike. It was easy and wonderful. Hope you will include this part of it in the 2019 Black Hills Trail Addict. Discovered it when we got the new Hiking Centennial Trail book which is quite helpful.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 3.7
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Badger Hole & French Creek

  61. 5

    Another beautiful section of Centennial! I’ve seen this section ranked as the third most challenging hike in the Hills, after Black Elk North and Crow Peak. I’m not sure I’d call it quite that challenging, but it is enjoyable. Beautiful views, a few good sections to get your heart rate up, and low traffic. I didn’t see a single other person today. I did the whole thing in regular winter boots and there were only a couple small spots where snowshoes would’ve come in handy.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 8.2
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Flume & Samelius + CT-Samelius & Big Pine

  62. 4

    Not the prettiest section of the Centennial. These sections follow a lot of road beds, so if not for the snow it wouldn’t be very scenic or challenging. The best segment in terms of scenery is along the Pactola Reservoir shoreline. If you’re tight for time and just want the best workout with the prettiest views, I’d suggest picking up the trail at the crosswalk on 385 just north of Veterans Point. Hop on the trail on the west (lake) side of the road and go from there.

    ———
    Trail completion status: Not completed
    How: Hiking
    Miles completed: 15.5
    Gender: Female
    Trail: CT-Pilot Knob & Deer Creek + CT-Deer Creek & Rapid Creek + CT-Tamarack & Brush Creek

Comments are closed.