One of the fantastic things about living in an area like the Black Hills is just how accessible the hiking is. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the Black Hills more this year, with my free-er schedule and ability to really set some time aside to simply enjoy the outdoors. I feel very blessed to have been able to do that this year!Boulder Hill is a short spur off the Flume Trail #50, and makes a great short afternoon hike, with an easily accessible trailhead to the spur, or, if you feel like cheating, an even shorter route up a logging road. It is rated as hard, due to some steep scrambling. If you have a fear of heights, this may not be the trail for you. Some of the steep places are pretty exposed, and made me a little giddy! Be advised that the parking lot for Boulder Hill trailhead is on the other side of the road from the actual trailhead. And what looks like the trailhead sign board is not at the trailhead. Look for this sign:
That’s the trail.
We lost the trail part way up and ended up walking up an old logging road, which for us was actually the long way around. But that whole area is beautiful, so what did it matter?Remnants of an old fire tower prove what a great lookout this peak actually is. The views from the top are spectacular. The Black Hills are known as an island in the prairie, and Boulder Hill is close to the foothills of the Black Hills, providing excellent views down into the surrounding prairies as far off as the Badlands. There is a beautiful view of Harney Peak, and I could see Lakota Peak as well, a landmark in my neck of the woods, just a few miles from my house.It was fun to look down from the peak and see, way in the distance, Axel’s car in the trailhead parking lot. I’m not a “vista person,” when it comes to hiking. I love good views, but what motivates me is the enchantment and challenge of a beautiful, long hike, not so much getting somewhere specific but getting away from anywhere specific. That said, what is thrilling about a “vista hike” is getting to look down on everywhere I just hiked. It really puts things in perspective – huge perspective. When hiking in the lowlands, there is absolutely no sense of distance, as far as how far is how far you hiked. What does a mile or six miles or thirteen miles look like, winding through the Hills? But looking down from a peak and seeing the trailhead in the distance is a pretty neat feeling. And, since this is a spur off the Flume Trail, which we had hiked just a few weeks earlier, we sat there trying to orient ourselves to where we’d hiked and where the trail must have been. We could make a pretty educated guess, and the vastness was thrilling.
What a glorious place we live in.