“An out-and-back located just off I-90 exit 34. Perfect for the "just passing through" rider.
— Troy Kruse
Approximately 8 miles round trip - allow 1-2 hrs depending on your fitness level. (Average time to the top of Bulldog is around the 30 Minute mark. Fast riders have logged it in under 15mins.)
This is an out and back section of the popular Centennial Trail. Get some exercise on the way up and enjoy the downhill on the way back down. To the Top of Bulldog, there is 1 creek crossing which may be impassable after heavy rain or spring melt but often times is deep enough to only get your tires wet.
The soil here does have a nice sand mixture allowing for it to dry a lot quicker than other areas of the Black Hills. This trail is oftentimes fairly hard packed with a few sandy spots and loose rock sections.
Need to Know
May see heavy use on weekends by horseback riders, trail runners, and mountain bikers.
Take Exit 34 on I-90 and turn left onto Horse Soldier Road (Formerly named Old Stone and BLM Road). Approximately 3/4 mile to Alkali Campground/Trailhead. Park at the Campground.
On the bike, head back towards Horse Soldier Road taking the left exit out of the campground, After crossing the cattle guard find the two-track trail on the other side of Horse Soldier Road leading to a gate on the barbwire fence. Look for Trail 89 (Centennial Trail Markers) and continue to follow the two-track trail NW which will converge to singletrack shortly after the gate.
Keep left at the water tank. Soon after passing the water tank you'll find yourself going underneath Interstate 90, crossing Alkali Creek. Be careful as the water level may be high in spring, especially after a heavy rain. However, most times the water depth is under 4 inches and very rideable. Continue approximately 3.5 miles to the Top of Bulldog enjoying a steady climb with gorgeous views of Bear Butte and the prairies beyond it.
Once at the top of Bulldog take a break along with a few pictures and get ready to turn back around and have a blast riding this wonderful singletrack trail back to your car, or if you need a little more exercise, continue down the back side of Bulldog until you cross a Forest Service Road and then turn around and power back up the backside of Bulldog. This will add approximately 2 more miles round trip. Be careful and courteous of horseback riders, hikers and fellow MTB riders while flying back down bulldog.
History & Background
The beginning of this section crosses part of the Fort Meade Recreation Area and is controlled by the BLM. The upper portion of this section is National Forest Service Land where parts of the trail do border Private Property.