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Cliff Swallow Trail #91

 4.0 (1)

5.2 Miles 8.4 Kilometers



599' 183 m


-599' -183 m



Avg Grade (2°)


Max Grade (11°)

5,112' 1,558 m


4,630' 1,411 m


Shared By Adrian Whitmore



Getting forecast...

A quick jaunt with technical switchbacks - narrow and twisty.

Adrian Whitmore

Dogs Unknown

Features -none-

Closed until further notice.…


A short, very sharp turning trail that is quite technical for the average rider. Carpets of ferns are on the highest section of trail, and this area is also known for the myriad of butterflies that emerge every year.

Need to Know

Start at the location given and follow the trail clockwise, it's more enjoyable.


This trail is best served by parking at the south end of the lake. Following the signs on the trail, you'll cross through a gate and have to hike-a-bike across the stream. You'll then get on some rollers and flow around the lake. The Forest Service has put in a set of stairs in steeper locations and these are traversable with a saddle drop. Around the lake and across bridges, you come out at the north end of the lake.

You then climb up the FS campground road to enter the north part of the trail. You'll go through the gate past the butterfly awareness boards. You'll then head up a set of switchbacks, which are not conducive to staying on your bike and you'll likely have to get off and walk them.

Next, start climbing up and into the area of Ferns. This is a real cool place, at the right time of the "hatch," you can ride through curtains of butterflies.

Continue along the ridge with the lake to your right. You'll come to a few short and sharp downhill turns. Notice on the map how the turns almost lay over each other. They flow well, but many will walk them.

You'll then flow through the gate as pictured and begin paralleling the stream. Ride the cliff above the stream, and then towards the start of the stream you'll come out near the stream/dam flow in a large willow bunch. Go through and then up the stairs and then onto the road, directly cross the road and ride down a staircase and then go left, and ride around the lake on the trail, being cognizant of weekenders, fishermen, campers, and others. Riding is not prohibited. But don't make it prohibited by unwise actions.

You'll end up at the car, and ready to go again or head home.

History & Background

Cliff swallows nest in the limestone bluffs above Beaver Creek. Look for gourd-shaped mud nests in the rock out-croppings below the ridge. Other wildlife commonly seen along the trail include white-tailed deer, elk, and turkey. Along Beaver Creek, watch for blue herons, beaver, and water dippers. High above, turkey vultures are often seen riding the thermal drafts.

Mountain lions, although rarely seen, also call this area home. (Credit to BHNF-USDA)


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Your Check-Ins


Jul 27, 2016
Benard Lenard
Nice trail with a good mix of terrain. The trail markers guide the entire way do if you go a ways without seeing one you may be on one of the numer... 5.2mi — 1h 20m

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 1 vote


in Black Hills


  4.0 from 1 vote
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in Black Hills


in Wyoming


4 Views Last Month
481 Since May 15, 2013
Difficult Difficult

0%… Cook Lake Recreation Closure Jul 18, 2014
Matt Goodman
Duluth, MN
Matt Goodman   Duluth, MN
Interesting trail. 'Feels' like a hiking trail that allows mountain bikes. A few scenic overlooks and nice stream views. Jul 19, 2017
Matt Goodman
Duluth, MN
Matt Goodman   Duluth, MN
FYI: as of the summer of 2017, the portion at the south end that follows the shoreline of Cook Lake might be semi-permanently closed due to landslide/erosion issues!! Jul 19, 2017

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