Black Hills National Forest seasonal motorized trails begin opening

CUSTER, S.D. – Black Hills National Forest Officials announced Thursday that the seasonally closed roads that were scheduled to open on May 15 and the motorized trail system that was closed on May 13 are ready to open. Districts will begin opening gates starting tomorrow, June 7.

Image courtesy of the Black Hills National Forest

While most of the motorized trail system is ready to open, there are still some areas that will remain closed. The areas to remain closed will be barricaded and signed where possible. Closure orders will also be in effect. The areas of motorized travel that will remain closed until they dry out or are repaired include:

  • The Victoria Lake area trail system just west of Rapid City.
  • The Newton and Nugget trails located in the China Gulch area between Hill City and Silver City.
  • Portions of Trail 6210 and 6234 in the Merritt Trail system just south of Sugar Shack.  Other trails in area are drying out, but springs seeping up in trail bed are causing problems in small areas. These portions will be signed at nearest intersections of other trails to provide access around but eliminate use on the troubled sections.
  • Taylor Ranch Road off Sheridan Lake Road and Forest Service Road 162 are closed due to culverts washed out.
  • NFSR 336.1I from County 336 to NFSR 382.  This road is approximately 5 miles south of Custer, SD.

As roads and trails are opened, US Forest Service employees and volunteers will be clearing trees and debris from roads and trails. Many road and trail surfaces are still soft or wet and users should avoid driving in those areas as much as possible to minimize damage and erosion.

The non-motorized trail system remained open across the Forest, but many trails may be obstructed with downed trees. Non-motorized trails that are currently closed include:

  • Flume Trail from the Spring Creek Trail Head to the Sheridan Lake Dam. This is closed due to bridges washed out.
  • Section of Trail 8 from Willow Creek Horse Camp is closed to horse / equestrian use. The section is the southern portion of the trail 8 loop located from the junction of Lost Cabin #2 trail to the junction of Trail 9 north. This is closed to horses due to an impassable deep muddy section.

“I want to thank the Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) community and all of those affected over the last month for their patience, compliance and understanding,” said Mark Van Every, Black Hills National Forest Supervisor.

The public is encouraged to contact the local Ranger District office with questions on conditions of specific trails and routes.

For more information on the Black Hills National Forest call (605) 673-9200 or visit

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News