Bear Butte State Park, South Dakota

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Bear Butte State Park

Located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis, Bear Butte State Park is considered sacred ground by Native American tribes and features a trail to the butte’s summit, campground, education center, and lake.

  • Located 6 miles northeast of Sturgis, off SD Hwy 79. 
  • Climb to the summit of Bear Butte. 
  • As sacred ground for Native American tribes, visitors are asked to respect religious ceremonies and artifacts. 
  • Camp near Bear Butte Lake or visit the Education Center during summer. 
  • For information, call: (605) 347 - 5240

Overview

Bear Butte is a rock formation held sacred by Native American tribes. Known as Mato Paha or “Bear Mountain” to the Lakota Sioux, and “Noahvose” to the Cheyenne, the mountain is the site of past and present religious ceremonies.

Two hiking trails – one leading to the butte’s summit – are also located within Bear Butte Park as well as a campground, picnic areas, education center, and lake.

Location

Bear Butte State Park is located off SD Hwy 79, just 6 miles northeast of Sturgis.

For information, call (605) 347-5240 or Visit them Online

Season

Bear Butte State Park is open year-round.

Fees

Park entrance fees are as follows:

  • Temporary (Daily) - $4 per person or $6 per vehicle
  • Annual - $30

Activities

Sacred Ground
Many Native American tribes hold Bear Butte as a place where the creator communicates with them through prayers and visions. Often, sage ties, prayer cloths and other items are placed in trees and along Summit Trail. Please do not disturb these items or interrupt a ceremony.

Education Center
During the summer, stop in the education center and speak to an on-site interpreter or view one of the displays to learn more about Bear Butte’s geological and cultural history. The Education Center is open from May through September, operating daily from 8 am – 6 pm.

Trails

  • Summit Trail – Take this 1.85 mile path to the summit of Bear Butte. Trail is open daily from 8 am – 7 pm.
  • Lake Trail – This trail follows the western shoreline of Bear Butte Lake and is the northern-most section of the 111-mile Centennial Trail. Open to hikers, bikers and horseback riders.
  • *Horseback riding is only allowed on trails WEST of Hwy 79.

Fishing
Bring your fishing rod and cast into Bear Butte Lake for northern pike, bullheads, and crappies. Fishing licenses required.

Camping
A 14-site campground is located on the northwest corner of Bear Butte Lake, featuring a sheltered picnic area, fishing dock, and immediate access to Lake Trail. $11 per night. Campsites are available year-round, on a first-come, first serve basis.

Additional Information

A buffalo herd often roams near the base of Bear Butte. Please remember that buffalo are wild animals; never approach the herd.

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Bear Butte State Park

Bear Butte State Park is in Sturgis, South Dakota.