Updated: Nov 4, 2019
Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park in Rapid City, South Dakota, is home to over 20 miles of trails. A maze of hiking and biking paths branch out in all directions, covering the 300 acre park.
We parked at and started from the Founders Park Drive Trailhead. From here, most of the eastern side of the park is easily accessible. We followed the Founders Valley Trail, which meanders along the hillsides back and forth. For the most part it was even and easy walking for our trio.
We stayed on our path until it ran into the Wagoneer North Trail, then took that to loop back around to Founders Valley. In all, the walk took only about an hour and was not too strenuous. Even though the trail system can be confusing, the paths are well marked which makes it easy to keep track of where you are within the park.
This place is perfect for chilly days when the weather is questionable. If it looks like rain and heading out into the hills doesn't seem like a great idea, stay in the city and take a little hike. With all the possible trail options it's easy to get out and back quickly if need be. You could comfortably tailor the length of your stay to meet your needs; from a full day of exploring to a short walk in the park.
A word of warning: we do not visit here during the warmer months, due to rattlesnakes. There are actual warning signs upon every main entry into the park, and I can personally attest to having seen one (it slithered across my path in the summer of 2017). We don't visit except in winter months, when the conditions allow.
This spot is popular with mountain bikers and hikers, especially those with dogs; you're bound to run into several on any given day. My girls had a good time following the dirt and rock lined trails. They were enthusiastic about the adventure, and were especially taken with the deer and field mice. Dogs must stay leashed in the park, but it's clearly for their own good, as just about anything might cross your path.