A bumpy, winding road curves through an area of the Black Hills known as Teepee Gulch. Traversing this rugged back country adventure isn't for everyone. Driving through Teepee Gulch requires decent driving skills and a vehicle with good tires and high clearance.
Exploring the South Dakota wilderness between two paved roads, Teepee Gulch connects Rockerville Road over to Highway 16. Teepee Gulch Road is also known as USFS Road 366 (although a section near the middle is marked as 366.2A). We turned off beautiful Rockerville Road at the marker for 366.
We set off into the forest and soon came to the first of many creek crossings. Fortunately, the creek was properly forded (brick-lined) at each crossing. However, this drive should not be attempted when the creek is flowing strongly or seems unusually deep. This also isn't a good place to get caught during a storm -flash flooding has been known to occur. That being said, this can be a very fun and exciting cruise through the forest when the conditions are right. We recommend trying it in the autumn before the first good snowfall.
The road took us through thick forest and past rocky outcroppings. We passed by the start of ATV Trail 6501 which led off to the right. We stayed to the left continuing along Teepee Gulch Road.
Here and there we would come across muddy patches and large puddles. Occasionally we would stop and check a puddle's depth with a stick. Getting stuck way out here would be disastrous.
The dogs were having a great time on our drive. They rode excitedly with their heads out the windows, taking in all the sights and smells of the woods.
Near the middle of the drive we began to make our way uphill. As we ascended, the road grew rockier and rockier. We had reached the most daring part of our trip. Getting up and over the hill would require carefully navigating a series of protruding rocks that invaded this stretch of road. It would be all too easy to get a flat tire out here, which could be big trouble this far out in the forest. I can't emphasize enough that this should only be attempted by those with confident driving skills and a vehicle with good tires and high clearance. This short section was the most precarious part of our entire journey through the gulch.
The surrounding hills and fall foliage made this a picturesque location to enjoy autumn in the woods. As we rode along we could see various landmarks such as Echo Peak and imposing Eagle Mountain.
This road follows the creek for the most part and crosses it multiple times. This drive may not be practical in the springtime but it was absolutely lovely in the fall.
Eventually we came to a fork in the road. A left turn leads a short distance into the woods before ending at gated private property.
At the fork in the road a sign behind us indicated we had just completed the section marked as USFS Road 366.2A. We made a right at the fork, now headed on our way out of Teepee Gulch. As we drove we had beautiful views of the mountains around us and the lovely creek running through the valley. It was a beautiful place to be.
Eventually we came to the end of Teepee Gulch Road at Highway 16. From there, the adventure could continue just about anywhere.
We chose to explore Teepee Gulch in autumn, which we feel is the optimum time to go. The foliage is beautiful, the road is fairly dry, and the creek is usually at a safe level. This lovely drive through the heavily forested gulch is a lot of fun.
Not all vehicles can make this drive. However, once the road gets dicey it would be entirely possible to pull over and continue exploring on foot. This would be an easy dirt road to hike along, just watch out for motorized traffic along the way.
The girls had a fantastic time on our excursion through the forest. They seemed excited for the entire trip and were on high alert for wildlife. Sadly, we didn't encounter much other than the occasional chipmunk.
We stopped here and there to take in the scenery. It took us just over an hour to complete our ride through the gulch. This was a fun adventure, especially for two dogs who love a drive in the woods.