Introducing the 2017 Black Hills Trail Running Series
Written by Kyle Kranz, a Black Hills running coach.
When I moved to Rapid City I was overwhelmed with the amount of trails available to adventure. With nearly 2,000 square miles of forest there are so many that I didn’t know where to start!
Luckily, I discovered the Black Hills Runners Club and the Trail Series. As a runner, this seven to ten event series took me all over the hills. My wife and I found ourselves exploring these trails on our own for runs or hikes. If we were unsure of where to go out for a weekend hike, we’d just pick one from the trail series! Most of the courses are so extensive that a trailhead can be selected and you can do a different route than what the actual race offers.
And don’t worry, even if you’re not a runner you can attend the events! Walkers get a half hour head start on the runners. Anyone who loves the outdoors is welcome. You won’t find a more fun and diverse group of people to hang out with! Many races end with a potluck and prizes are randomly drawn among attendees.
Below, you’ll find the 2017 races with short descriptions. Like I said, even if you’re not interested in attending the actual events these are all fantastic trails and I encourage you to save this page for future reference!
Thunder Run – 4/29/17
3.1 and 8 mile options
Single track through tree lined National Forest Service Land. Head out of Rapid City on Sheridan Lake Road to Victoria Lake Road and to First Thunder Road.
Big Hill – 5/14/17
10k (6.2 miles)
A beautifully diverse course through aspen, meadows, and gulches. Head out of Spearfish on Tinton Road to find this course.
Dino Run – 6/8/17
5k (3.1 miles)
There are many miles of fairly rocky single track surrounding Skyline Drive and Dinosaur Park in Rapid City. All you have to do is head up to Skyline Drive, find a parking spot (there are many), and hit the trails!
Fat Tire – 6/18/17
5k & 10k
This one also takes place right in Rapid City at Hansel Larsen Memorial Park, across the gap from the Skyline Wilderness Area. Simply start down at Founders Park and head up M Hill for a great variety of trail options.
Mystic Mountain – 7/9/17
Sponsored by the Black Hills Runners Shop, this is the oldest trail race in the area. 2017 will be the 47th running. It’s all right turns and if you cross the creek more than twice, you’re lost. In The South Dakota Magazine, author Nathan Schock said the often technical course is “as brutal as it is beautiful.”
Stoneman Marathon & Hisega Half – 8/5/17
13.1 or 26.2 miles
This run starts at the Hisega Lodge. The runners will cover some single track trail and gravel road for the first four 4 miles before hitting the Centennial Trail. At the Brush Creek trail head the half and full marathoners split, with the full marathoners going to Dakota Point.
The trail race starts at Hisega Lodge with a single track for about 1 mile and a couple miles of gravel road. Then down a single track trail to meet up with the Centennial Trail to Brush Creek trail head. This is where the full marathon course continues on the Centennial Trail to Dakota Point and back to Brush Creek. After leaving Brush Creek, continue north on the Centennial Trail for about 2 miles to the last turn around then about 4 miles to the finish. The Half marathon will turn at Brush Creek and go north on the Centennial Trail like the full marathon and finish the same.
7th Cavalry – 9/9/17
4 & 8 miles
This event at the Fort Meade Recreation area near Sturgis offers incredible views of the area. You’ll find find hiking, biking, running, and horse riding here.
Old Baldy – 9/24/17
Another fun trail up Tinton Road out of Spearfish. You can head up to over 6,000 feet elevation at the top of Old Baldy.
SD Trail Championships – 10/21/17
10k and 16k
This free event takes place on my favorite trail in the hills, the Flume Trail starting near Rockerville. You can see Rapid City from the course and still see remnants of its mining history. If you want you can start at the other end of this 16 mile trail at Sheridan Lake!