Backpacking South Dakota
South Dakota


The most popular time to visit South Dakota is during the summer, between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when families are able to take vacations. However, we say the Fall the best. South Dakota isn’t known for the beautiful Fall colors that other states have a reputation for. But don’t for a second underestimate just how beautiful Fall is here.

It has some of the best hiking and backpacking around and some the most amazing scenery. Places like The Badlands National Park offer a wide variety of hiking and backpacking opportunities. But don’t miss Custer State Park either. Prarie trails will let you encounter wildlife like no other place.


The best time to hike and backpack is late Spring (April – May) or Fall (September – early November). You will encounter cool nights, and warm days.

Water is scarce so make sure you understand the climate, the terrain, and elevation. One gallon of water per day per person. South Dakota has a wide variety of Terrain and Elevation.

Although Permits are NOT required in the Badland National Park, they are required elsewhere. State Parks do require them. The Black Hills National Forest has some of the wildest rock formations around and there is plenty of day hiking opportunities that do not require permits. .

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In 2003 I completed a Thru-Hike on the Appalachian Trail. Since then I have over 12,000 miles underfoot and 20 years of backpacking, and camping experience. Certifications include WFA, WFR, LNT Trainer, and belong to AORE. Have been guiding backpacking trips for over 10 years. The outdoors has taught me one thing. Trusting the Trail! really does provide everything a person needs.

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