Friday, August 6, 2010


This is another easy hike that the whole family can enjoy within minutes of Rapid City, and right off of a major highway. A great short hike, with a little history, which can be done in less than an hour, round trip. A local favorite!

Stratobowl is a natural bowl-shaped valley, formed by a river canyon and a limestone cliff. It was the launch-site of several scientific hot-air balloon flights in the 1930s, coordinated by the National Geographic Society and the Army Air Corps. Until the advent of space flight in the 1960s, these were the highest manned flights ever made. Several monuments provide a comprehensive history for anyone interested in the history of these missions.

A wide, well maintained and fairly flat trail leads form the small parking area to the overlook. To get to Stratobowl from Rapid City, take Mount Rushmore Road into the Black Hills (16). Stay on 16 past Reptile Gardens and Bear Country USA. Just past the service station is a small parking area on the right hand side (westbound), marked by powerlines as well. (YDS Class 1)

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