Gated Forest Service roads typically mark the start of a nice walk in the woods, and USFS 150.1F is no exception. Where the southwest side of Rapid City meets the eastern edge of the Black Hills, an old road sits quietly waiting to be traversed.
We headed west from Rapid City along Sheridan Lake Road to find the closest place to take a nice walk in the woods. Just inside the Forest Service boundary is Norsemen Lane, and tucked back at the end of it is USFS 150.1F. It's gated to motorized vehicles during part of the year, but open to pedestrians, making it a great place to take the dogs for a walk.
Forest Service roads generally mean a wide trail (perfect for walking two dogs at once). This large dirt road led into the forest from a small parking area at the gate. After a short stroll we came to a fork in the road. We took a right, continuing to follow USFS 150.1F on an easy trek through the woods. A left at the fork would have led us into the far eastern side of the Victoria Lake Trail System. Our walk was not very long, but lead to a nice spot to stop and rest just before the road came to an end.
To the left of the trail, a footpath led to a flat spot near the edge of the hill. The views were mostly blocked by trees but there was dense forest to the west and sparse hills to the north. This shady spot made a great place for our water and treat break.
We sat and enjoyed our surroundings for a bit. After our break, we went back to the road. We explored it to its end (just around the corner from where we had stopped). Being on the eastern border of the Black Hills, this road ended abruptly when it encountered private property. This was indicated by a barbed wire fence and a sign attached to a post laying on the ground.
We took in the view from where we were forced to stop. We had reached the far eastern border of Forest Service land. From here, everything to the west is one giant dog park.
We followed our path back out, pausing here and there for interesting smells. The trail conditions varied between dry, muddy, slushy, and even snowy in places neglected by sunshine.
The girls had a great walk. This was a nice, straightforward stroll in the woods. Sometimes that's precisely the intention; a simple walk in the forest, close to the city on a path not heavily trafficked (we saw only one other dog walker headed up the road while we were on our way out). The fact that it is closed to motorized vehicles during the winter months only increases its appeal for an afternoon trek.
The dogs and I enjoyed one of life's simplest and most fulfilling activities -a basic walk in the woods. Other than being seemingly disappointed by the lack of squirrels, the girls appeared to have a lovely time. This would be a good place to walk for any dog; it was easy to access and traverse, and it wasn't a long hike. It was anticlimactic but in a good way; sometimes an uncomplicated stroll through the forest is exactly the goal.