Buzzard's Roost -Lookout Trail
Updated: Oct 20, 2019
The Buzzard's Roost Trail network (located west of Rapid City, South Dakota, on Highway 44) is a popular hiking and mountain biking destination. There are several paths to the lookout at the top, all of varying degrees of difficulty.
The main trail (the one stemming from the original trailhead) is nice and wide, and great for two dogs walking together. Along the way there are several marked trails heading off in all directions. Some lead to Buzzard's Roost Lookout, but some create loops around the area or head off to other lookout spots. Thankfully, the trails are well marked with their name and difficulty level. The main trail heads uphill gradually and is rated as "easy".
When the main trail forks we took a right, following the beginning of "Jack's Trail". After a short walk the trail forks again. We decided to make a loop instead of doing a direct up-and-back hike. We took a left this time and took the "Therapist Trail". This is also rated as "easy" and gradually climbs the hillside to the top of the ridge.
The trail is fairly level as it heads back along the ridge line. Eventually it converges with several other trails upon connecting to the last stretch of path to Buzzard's Roost Lookout.
The views from the lookout are amazingly fantastic. You can see distant wooded hills in all directions. There are magnificent rock formations and exposed cliffs to behold. It even overlooks the tiny town of Hisega just a short distance below.
There are several trails going back down the mountain. We chose the most direct route- "Jack's Trail" all the way back to the main path. This way is fast, steep, and fairly strenuous for the most part. A tip; it's much easier to follow "Jack's" going down than it is to climb up (we've done it both ways).
This is a great hike all around. It helps expend a good amount of energy without having to invest a lot of time. It's close to the city but very much out in the wilderness. This is a beautiful hike, uphill the whole way, but not terribly strenuous. It ascends among pine trees and stone cliffs rising from the scenery. There are lots of birds in the trees, including the occasional namesake buzzard.
The dogs had a good time on our hike. They enjoyed the woods and taking in the scenery. There were plenty of engaging smells along the way. The girls were ready for a nice nap after the excitement of hiking up and down the mountain. I'm sure they can't wait to go back!