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Centennial Trail Trailheads

(North to South)

Iron Creek Trailhead

The trail leaves the trailhead and leads south, crossing SD Highway 87, and traverses a small hill. It continues to follow the trail markers through this gently rolling section of the park.

There are several small stream crossings. About 6 miles from the trailhead, the trail crosses US Highway 16A near the Legion Lake Lodge and campground. Continuing south from the highway (across a small stream) and following the trail markers up the hill to the right, this section of the trail enters an area burned in the 1988 Galena Fire. The trail then continues to the Badger Hole, home of South Dakota's first Poet Laureate, and the Centennial Trail's Badger Hole Trailhead.

Throughout this area is evidence of past logging activity.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
HikingMountain Biking North of SD Highway 87 (Needles Highway on Camp Remmington Road) 7.3 miles to Badger Hole Trailhead

Moderate

3 - 5 hours

Badger Hole Trailhead

The trail begins at the Badger Hole Trailhead (1 mile off highway 16A on Badger Clark Road) then leads west to the Badger Hole Cabin. The trail later heads south past a cabin 0.3 mi and ties into the Centennial Trail.

Taking the fork to the south (left), you will climb out of the bottom then descend a short rocky slope into Heddy draw, crossing to the south and climbing the divide. From the top of this hill the trail descends into the French Creek Natural Area.

The trail will be very steep and rocky, passing through a muddy area near the bottom. At the bottom of the hill, the trail turns right and follows French Creek, crossing the creek several times before reaching the Centennial Trail's French Creek Trailhead - this is the most strenuous section of the Centennial Trail within Custer State Park.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
HikingMountain Biking .5 miles south of US Hwy 16A on Badger Clark Road 4.2 miles to French Creek Trailhead

Moderate
Strenuous

4 -5 hours

French Creek Trailhead

Follow the trail markers west through Horse Camp and across French Creek. Just before crossing the creek a second time, the trail turns left and goes uphill.

After descending the other side the trail crosses the Wildlife Loop Road and continues to the south - this section of the trail enters the open grasslands and is home to large herds of bison. Bison are dangerous any time of the year, but especially in the spring when there are new calves and in the late summer when the bulls are in rut.

The trail passes through a self-closing gate and continues south to the border of Wind Cave National Park and the Centennial Trail's Highland Creek Trailhead - please ensure that the park gates are closed after passing through the border fence.

Use Location Length Difficulty Time
HikingMountain BikingHorseback Riding 3 miles from Blue Bell Lodge on North Lame Johnny Road 10.3 miles to Highland Creek Trailhead in Wind Cave

Moderate

5 - 6 hours