Updated: Jan 14, 2020
One of the easiest strolls in Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park's trail system is its southernmost path. Known as The River, the trail follows Rapid Creek along mostly even terrain.
Winter hiking abounds in Rapid City, South Dakota. Hanson-Larson Memorial Park offers some of the best in-city trails when the weather turns cold. Parking lots are located in both the front and back of Founders Park, which sits across the creek from Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park. We parked in the front lot, just off Omaha Street, and crossed the bridge into the hiking area.
The River path is only about half a mile long. It follows Rapid Creek, which accompanied us on the left side of the trail. On the right, red rocks and scraggly trees lined the path. It was a fun and easy trail that the girls traversed with energy to spare.
Near the end of the trail we took a right, and headed back via the Lower Far West Trail. A left at the end of The River Trail would have taken us across a bridge and back into Founders Park. We continued on, now making our way in the direction we started from, being careful to watch for falling rocks along the route. Rock slides of varying degrees have been known to occur in this area.
We took another right at the T Trail Connector until it ran into the T Trail, and followed that back to the trailhead we started from. We had made a small loop through the lower part of the park. This was easy hiking, even with less-than-ideal trail conditions. The loop in its entirety was only about a mile long.
Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park is a lot of fun in the snow, however, we do not visit there during 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.
The paths throughout Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park are well marked. The trails are of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty. It's extremely easy to tailor your hike to fit the whims of questionable weather. South Dakota winters can be harsh, but this park creates a great opportunity to get in some snowy recreation without leaving the comfort of the city.