|Devil's Tower, 1972 photo|
Total Length: 226.1 miles
The primary destination in Wyoming is Devil’s Tower National Monument. It’s a shame not to be able to include Yellowstone National Park and the Tetons in the hike, but it just wasn’t practical.
Approaching Devil’s Tower from South Dakota, the trail follows forest roads through Black Hills National Forest, passes the city of Sundance, then resumes Forest road walking in another unit of Black Hills National Forest. Northwest of Sundance is a 47.3 mile network of multi-use trails that provide a through route for seven or eight miles. From there it’s more forest and minor roads to Devil’s Tower. There is, unfortunately, no public road or property allowing a through route at Devil’s Tower, so visiting the tower is a short side trip. The trail continues north on lightly used state highways, crossing into Montana at Alzada.
|SE Montana’s Capitol Rock, resembling the US Capitol in Washington DC, which the Fifty Trail also passes. Photo courtesy of the Montana Audubon Society.|
The SE corner of Montana and a return South Dakota are included in this segment. In southeast Montana the Fifty Trail visits quiet forest roads in Custer National Forest, passing Capitol Rock before crossing back into South Dakota. The Fifty Trail returns to the Great Plains Trail at Buffalo, South Dakota. Finally the Great Plains Trail/Fifty Trail passes through a small unit of Custer National Forest west of Ludlow, with some forest land hiking, then crosses into North Dakota.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
Sundance Trail system: Trail T – Sundance Trail: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7039674/trail-t-sundance-trail
Sundance Trail system: Trail B – Sandpit Trail: https://www.hikingproject.com/trail/7039665/trail-b-sand-pit-trail
Devils Tower National Monument: https://www.nps.gov/deto/index.htm
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Black Hills National Forest, starting at Riflepit Canyon (The intersection of Wagon Canyon Road/FR 805 with FR 806, and 1.5 miles into Wyoming from the SD border via the Fifty Trail) through the Sundance Trail system and on to the side route to Devil’s Tower National Monument. (50.7 miles without the roughly five mile excursion to and around Devil’s Tower on the Monument’s loop hiking trails.)
9723.0 – (add 0.0) Wyoming state line (44.302677, -104.055497). Continue NW on the remote two track, which, with no further intersections, will emerge at Wagon Canyon Road after another 1.5 miles
9724.5 – (add 1.5) Riflepit Canyon. The lightly traveled two-track national forest road ends at a ‘T’ intersection at (44.305277, -104.081975). Turn right and then immediately turn left onto Wagon Canyon Road after just 220 feet.
9727.6 – (add 3.1) Triangular junction with Grand Canyon Road.
9729.7 – (add 2.1) Rattlesnake Canyon Road enters from right where Grand Canyon Road makes a left curve. Continue on Grand Canyon Road, heading west.
9730.0 – (add 0.3) Schoolhouse Gulch Road enters from right, continue straight on Grand Canyon Road.
9734.0 – (add 4.0) Turn right onto Moskee Road, CR 207.
9734.6 – (add 0.6) Grand Canyon Road exits right at a fork. Stay left on Moskee Road, which meanders then climbs out of the canyon and becomes a paved road that heads NW.
9744.3 – (add 9.7) After crossing under Interstate 90, turn left onto old Highway 14.
9747.7 – (add 3.4) After passing Sundance Travel Center (big convenience store) and a motel, turn right onto Government Valley Road/Pleasant Valley Road, heading north.
9749.9 – (add 2.2) left at entrance to Sundance Campground and Trailhead. Continue through the campground to the trailhead and take the ‘T’ Trail/Sundance Trail, climbing up to the wooded plateau.
9751.6 – (add 1.7) At trail intersection continue west on B Trail/Sand Pit Trail.
9756.4 – (add 4.8) Trailhead Parking on paved Sundance-Warren Peak Road. Turn right and follow the road generally northwest.
9758.8 – (add 2.4) Trailhead parking/staging area where lightly used (mostly used by ATVs) Hutchins Road forks off to the left/west. Leave Sundance-Warren Peak Road and Follow Hutchins Road, keeping left and descending along the valley.
9759.8 – (add 1.0) Turn left onto Bear Lodge Road/CR 847 and proceed generally westward then northwest.
9768.1 – (add 8.3) Intersection with Lytle Creek Road, which merges from the left. Continue northwest on Lytle Creek Road/CR 196
9775.2 – (add 7.1) Turn right onto Wyoming Hwy. 24. BUT … to the left, 0.5 miles is the entrance/access road to Devil’s Tower National Monument, the highlight of the Wyoming segment. Unfortunately there is no public through-route passing this landmark, so it requires a side trip. From the beginning of the entrance road, continue 0.8 miles to access the trail system. Immediately after crossing the Belle Fourche River, turn right onto the Valley View Trail then after 200 feet, intersect with Red Beds Trail, which is a 2.9 mile loop trail around the tower. Within it is another loop trail called the Tower Trail, which is 1.3 miles. Both connect with the visitor center on the west side of the tower. Returning to the point where Hwy 24 intersects with Lytle Creek Road, head north on 24.
9783.9 – (add 8.7) Hullett. Turn left onto Wyoming 112. Services, however, are in town—straight ahead 0.3 miles, just across the Belle Fourche River. Proceed north on highway 112.
9813.4 – (add 29.5) Wyoming-Montana Border. Wyoming segment continues to North Dakota Border. Continue north. Highway is now Montana 323.
9815.1 – (add 1.7) Jct. US 212, town of Alzada, with convenience store. Turn left on 212, then right after 0.35 miles to continue north on Montana 323.
9828.7 – (add 13.6) Albion. Nothing here. 323 begins to bend westward, crosses the Little Missouri River, and leaves it behind, continuing generally northward.
9863.4 – (add 34.7) Turn right on Montana 328/Tie Creek Road, heading east
9874.8 – (add 11.4) Just as Tie Creek Road makes a turn southward, turn left onto Exie Road, FR 3119, heading north.
9876.6 – (add 1.8) ‘Y’ Intersection (45.590491, -104.165914). Turn right onto Custer National Forest Road 3045/Exie Creek Spur, heading generally eastward. Stay right where a slight two-track exits left at 0.2 miles, otherwise keep left at the next two options (1.4 miles, 45.585650, -104.143998, and 3.0 miles, 45.591972, -104.122379), which are the end points of a longer loop. br />
9880.0 – (add 3.4) ‘T’ Intersection (45.594710, -104.114601). Turn right onto Long Pine Road/Capitol Rock Road/FR 3116, heading east then generally southeast.
9882.1 – (add 2.1) FR 3060 intersects from left. Continue straight on FR 3116 as the road curves southward.
9882.5 – (add 0.4) Capitol Rock. This is our payoff for visiting the SE corner of Montana. The butte resembles the US Capitol building in Washington DC, which the Fifty Trail also passes. Continue SE on FR 3116.
9884.5 – (add 2.0) FR 3049 intersects from left. This is the access road to cute little USFS Wickham gulch Campground, 1.3 miles to the NW. Leave Custer National Forest and continue SE on FR 3116. At 1.0 miles the road turns south and straddles the state line between Montana and South Dakota for a full half mile. This continues to be part of the Fifty Trail’s Wyoming segment.
9886.2 – (add 1.7) ‘T’ Intersection with South Dakota Highway 20. Turn left and head east on Hwy. 20, passing through the town of Camp Crook.
9911.6 – (add 25.4) Junction with US 85 in the town of Buffalo. Turn left, heading north through town on US 85, with services one block north, one block west. Here the Fifty Trail rejoins the route of the Great Plains Trail northbound.
9923.2 – (add 11.6) Turn left on Brown-Johnson Road. Head northwest and then curving north.
9928.3 – (add 5.1) Brown-Johnson Road turns left. Continue straight on what is now S. Cave Road, heading north.
9933.3 – (add 5.0) Lightly used two track exits left over the dam of a small pond. Turn left and follow that two-track as it climbs toward and passes the prominent rock formations of a bluff/mesa to the west.
9933.8 – (add 0.5) Once atop the flat surface of the mesa, at (45.841345, -103.486502), leave the more prominent two track and turn left, following a lighter two-track westward that runs beside the top of the rocky escarpment.
9934.0 – (add 0.2) The rocky escarpment changes direction and heads south-southeast (45.840342, -103.489736). Continue straight on the trail/track, leaving the escarpment, proceeding WSW and then curving around to head NW and making a wide swing around a water tank to head northeastward.
9934.5 – (add 0.5) Two two-tracks merge at a fork (45.844251, -103.492890). Southbound be sure to stay left heading toward the water tank. Northbound route continues NNE crossing a cattle-guard at 0.14 miles.
9935.2 – (add 0.7) Track to an old uranium mine comes in from the east at (45.853443, -103.491023). Continue north on two-track.
9935.7 – (add 0.5) Tracks fork off to the southeast (45.859439, -103.490602). Stay left and continue heading NNE.
9936.2 – (add 0.5) Cross cattle guard at (45.865873, -103.488843) and continue northward.
9936.6 – (add 0.4) ‘T’ Intersection at a small pothole pond (45.871201, -103.490841). Turn right and head east on more heavily used two-track.
9937.0 – (add 0.4) ‘T’ intersection with campground access road (45.872557, -103.484037). Picnic Spring campground is immediately to left. Turn right on campground entrance road, heading generally east then north between rocky buttes.
9937.4 – (add 0.4) ‘T’ Intersection at Fuller Spring road (45.875814, -103.479561). Turn left and head northwest.
9940.3 – (add 2.9) ‘T’ Intersection with Cox Road, FR 733. Turn right, heading east.
9946.4 – (add 6.1) ‘T’ Intersection with US 85. Turn left and head north on US 85.
9949.1 – (add 2.7) North Dakota-South Dakota border with parking area (no facilities) on right just beyond. End of the Wyoming Segment. Continue north on US 85.
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