“A quick morning or evening ride, not technical, great cardio. Awesome views.
— Adrian Whitmore
Winter use. There are featured walks at night so please plan accordingly and visit the fs.usda.gov/
for more info.
The Dugout Gulch Botanical Trail is a 2.3 mile trail plus a 4.4 mile loop trail to make a lollypop.
Need to Know
To access the Dugout Gulch Botanical Trail from Spearfish or Sundance, take Interstate 90 to the Beulah Exit, Exit 205. Travel south on FSR 863 for 6 miles to the trailhead, which is on the east side of the road. The trail is maintained for hiking, horseback riding, bicycling and cross-country skiing. No motorized vehicles are allowed.
This is a good climbing trail and very well-marked. It has several wooden bridges to cross, and the fauna is unique. There are also several gates that can be ridden through or walked through.
When crossing the last bridge you'll come to a pond, the best route here is to stay left. Then after bit more climbing, you'll come to the top. Here, during the fall you're likely to hear or see elk. The trail meanders around the top of a hill four about 4 miles.
Hit the loop once or twice or reverse it. The descent back to the car is very fast and flowing, and there are dips that easily can be launched by advanced riders, be wary they can kick you sideways... with penalties.
History & Background
Far from the boreal (northern) forest of the upper Great Lakes region and Canada, is a small unique community known as Dugout Gulch Botanical Area. Relic boreal plants find refuge in the moist, cool gulches. These survivors are referred to as boreal disjuncts.
The boreal forests of Canada once extended as far south as Nebraska. With their retreat at the end of the Ice Age, boreal plants gave way to species adapted to periods of drought and heat. Only where life sustaining moisture averages about 24 inches per year and temperatures remain relatively cool, can these survivors be found.
Sheltered under the cool, green branches of paper birch, ironwood and hazelnut trees, you may find the Rattlesnake Fern, Common Solomon's Seal, Canadian Enchanter's Nightshade, and the Oval-leaved Milkweed. Also lingering in this area are several sedges - Meadow Sedge, Fox-tail Sedge and Rosy Sedge. Credit to: