Blackberry Trail

The Blackberry Trail is located entirely within Mount Rushmore National Memorial. This one mile section of gravel trail connects with the Centennial Trail in the Black Elk Wilderness, a part of the Black Hills National Forest. Mainly used by equestrians, visitors to the Blackberry Trail will have the opportunity to ride or hike in solitude enjoying the trees, birds, and geology along the trail.

photo: Water Crossing - Blackberry Trail Type: Backcountry, Equestrian Trail
Length: 1.00 miles
Loop Trail? No
Allowed Uses: Dogs - On leash
Equestrian - Riding
Heritage and History
Pedestrian - Walking/Hiking/Running
Wildlife Observation
Agency: National Park Service
Entry Fee? No
Parking Fee? $10.00

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Directions

Location: In Mount Rushmore National Memorial near Keystone, SD.
State(s): South Dakota
Counties: Pennington County
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Visitors traveling by car on I-90 should exit at Rapid City and follow U.S. Highway 16 southwest to Keystone and then Highway 244 to Mount Rushmore. Visitors coming from the south should follow Highway 385 north to Highway 244, which is the road leading to the Memorial. Parking is available in the Parking Facility. The Trail is located adjacent to the Parking Facility towards the southeast. Fees are charged for parking.

Description

The Blackberry Trail (approximately one mile in length) is located entirely within Mount Rushmore National Memorial and was recently rehabilitated during the summer of 2016 and spring of 2017. Mainly used by equestrians as a spur trail to access Mount Rushmore, visitors on the Blackberry Trail will have exceptional opportunities to ride or hike in solitude enjoying the trees, birds, and geology of the local area.

The Blackberry Trail is located adjacent to the Mount Rushmore Parking Facility where hikers can begin their exploration. If travelling on horseback, equestrian users may only access the trail from the Black Hills National Forest, at the location where the Blackberry Trail meets the Centennial Trail. This trail junction is located at the boundary between Mount Rushmore National Memorial and the Black Elk Wilderness Area – a part of the Black Hills National Forest. All equestrians should familiarize themselves with United States Forest Service and wilderness regulations prior to their journey. Visitors who access the trail from the Mount Rushmore Parking Facility will be charged a parking fee.

The newly revitalized Blackberry Trail is composed of a crushed gravel trail surface approximately three feet wide and one mile in length. The trail is moderately strenuous in nature and gracefully flows through hilly terrain as well as through many rock outcroppings. A forest composed of ponderosa pine and birch also dominates the landscape along the trail providing exceptional photography opportunities for visitors wishing to seek this unique experience. As the trail leads uphill from the park boundary, the trail winds its way towards Mount Rushmore crossing several small water crossings as well as one wooden plank bridge that is approximately 75 feet long and 4 feet wide. In addition to providing a unique experience for visitors such as riders or hikers leading to Mount Rushmore National Memorial, many views of Mount Rushmore are available from the pine studded forest area leading to the memorial – providing additional photography opportunities with the Mount Rushmore sculpture as the backdrop. Additionally, several horse tie-up stations and two picnic tables are provided further enhancing the recreational experience.

Historically, the Blackberry Trail has been heavily used by equestrians. This heavy use coupled with a lack of timely trail maintenance caused erosion and damage to many of the trails features rendering the trail very difficult to navigate. In 2010 an effort and plan was developed by the Mount Rushmore National Memorial Superintendent, working in coordination with the Mount Rushmore Society, a donor, and many other stakeholders to plan for the trails re-design, re-route, and final rehabilitation in 2016-2017. This teamwork and partnerships coordination as well as technical trail guidance from National Park Service engineers, United States Forest Service land managers, the Black Hills Backcountry Horsemen Group of South Dakota, local trail contractors, and many other stakeholders aligned to complete the successful rehabilitation of this significant trail and access point to Mount Rushmore National Memorial. Law enforcement, Interpretation, and Maintenance services are provided by the National Park Service as well as in coordination with local volunteer and youth service groups.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial hopes that visitors will seek the outstanding recreational opportunities and experiences provided by the Blackberry Trail. The trail is well marked and includes an informational kiosk at both the trailhead near the Mount Rushmore Parking Facility as well as near the boundary with the Black Hills National Forest. The trail is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year and all pets must be on leash at all times. Please note that parking at the Mount Rushmore Parking Facility is available year round. Please check the Memorial’s website www.nps.gov/moru for up to date information on parking hours, maps, and directions. We look forward to your visit to Mount Rushmore and hope you enjoy this unique trail experience!

Additional Details

Width: 36 inches.
Primary Surface: Gravel
Secondary Surface: Crushed Rock
Gravel
Soil, compacted
Wood, running plank

Average Grade: 10%
Elevation Low Point: 4,868
Elevation High Point: 5,182
Year Designated: 2018

Contact Information

For more information and current conditions, contact the trail manager (listed below). For questions, suggestions, and corrections to information listed on the website, contact American Trails.

Public Contact:
Cheryl Schreier
Superintendent
National Park Service
13000 Highway 244 Building 31, Ste. 1
Keystone , SD 57751
605-571-1131
Cheryl_Schreier@nps.gov

 

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