Updated: Apr 7, 2020
There are over 20 miles of trail sprawling over 300 acres in Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park, but the Lower Rim is a fairly straightforward hill climb. Located on the west side of Rapid City, South Dakota, this is a lovely hike for a winter day.
We parked at and started from the Founders Park Drive Trailhead. We followed the main trail up the hill, passing by the start of both the Founders Valley Trail and the Far East Trails. We kept climbing gently up the hill, following the trail known as Lower Rim -Black. The path was well traveled and snow-packed. Views of the city below kept popping up along the way.
The hike was uphill the entire way but surprisingly not strenuous. Toward the top of the hill trees were more plentiful and provided a nice break from the breeze. Rocks protruded everywhere, but the well-groomed trail wound effortlessly among them. Large stone formations presented lookout spots along the top of the ridge. The girls had a great time; navigating the rocks turned out to be a lot of fun.
Lower Rim -Black ended at an intersection. The paths stemming from this location lead to all parts of the park. The closest path to our immediate left was Lower Rim -Red. We followed this in order to make a loop around the hilltop before heading back down again.
Lower Rim -Red was not a difficult trail to hike, but it was rocky which makes it unpopular with mountain bikers. Despite its high difficulty rating we found it to be a fun, short, and fairly easy path. It's also quite scenic, with various views of the city below and hills in the distance. After about 500 feet the trail met back up with Lower Rim -Black. It was a fun little detour along the cliffs (without having to walk near the edge).
This was a really fun hike up and down the hill. The trails were in good condition for winter -snow-packed but not icy. Our entire trek was just over a mile total.
Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park is a great place to shake off the cabin fever. We do not, however, 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 only hike here in cooler months, when the conditions allow.
The dogs had a great time during our little excursion. They played in the snow on the way up and down the hill, overjoyed to be out and about. They did a lot of sniffing and exploring among the rocks and trees near the top of the hill. They had fun looking out over the city below, taking in the breadth of their domain.
This is a great winter hiking destination located within Rapid City. Our jaunt up the hill was the perfect amount of exercise for this particular day.
With all the trail choices and intersections, it's very easy to create a hike that is not too demanding for a chilly afternoon.