Badlands Rim Road

South Dakota Hikes

Float the idea, to most folks, of a trip to South Dakota and you're likely to get a look that says..."yeah, no thanks".  Thankfully for me, friends who had visited the Black Hills and Badlands previously told of what a surprisingly amazing state it is, regardless what image others might have of it.  Over the years I've now made a pair of trips to this wonderfully beautiful and diverse state.  In these albums I wander the magnificently stark Badlands and the rugged Ponderosa Pine-covered stone peaks of the Black Hills.  Anyone with a love of diversity and wild places should definitely put South Dakota on their itinerary.  Trust me...


Adventure Log:  38.6 miles


Most of the galleries below have two numbers in parenthesis alongside their name. The first is the TOTAL MILEAGE of the route, the second is what I’m calling the “Petzoldt Rating” of DIFFICULTY. Developed by Paul Petzoldt, founder of NOLS, this rating system is the best I’ve found for standardizing the difficulty of hikes. It works as follows: One ‘energy unit’ is given for very mile travelled on flat terrain. You then add one more ‘energy unit’ for every 500-feet of elevation gain. For example, a one mile hike with 1,000-feet of gain would give you a rating of 3.00. Consequently a two mile hike with only 500-feet of gain would also give you a rating of 3.00. Please note, however, these ratings do not take into account weather, rough terrain, fitness level, etc. I’ve divided levels of difficulty into five levels, based on the following Petzoldt difficulty ranges:

0.00-2.49=EASY;

2.50-4.99=MODERATE;

5.00-7.49=CHALLENGING;

7.50-9.99=HARD;

10.00-12.49=VERY HARD;

12.50 & up=EXTREME