Mountains & Rocks
Mountains & Rocks
Page Type: Mountain/Rock
South Dakota, United States, North America
43.44289°N / 103.45327°W
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
4434 ft / 1351 m
Created/Edited: Apr 3, 2011 / Aug 23, 2014
Object ID: 708028
Page Score: 85.87%
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Old steps to the Battle Mountain Fire Tower and summit.In ancient times, this mountain was used by native Americans for flint to create arrowheads. A favorite of local hikers and geocachers, this mountain rises from the edge of Hot Springs nearly one thousand feet. Battle Mountain is located in the Black Hills region called the Dakota Hogback, which is a ridge composed of steep rock strata protruding from the surrounding area. The Dakota Hogback ridge was formed from Dakota Sandstone that was thrust upward by a granite intrusion, when the Black Hills were formed. It is interesting to note that the Dakota Sandstone Hogback spans an area from northeastern Wyoming to northwestern South Dakota as an ellipitcal dome that encircles the Black Hills.
The summit of Battle Mountain is the site of several radio and other communications towers. Unfortunately, in a few places this obscures an otherwise commanding view of Hot Springs, the Black Hills and the plains on the southern edge of the Black Hills. Nevertheless, one can still see many of the peaks to the north, the Seven Sisters Range to the southwest and Angostura Lake at the southern edge of the Black Hills.
While most of the mountain is covered with ponderosa pine forest, some aspen can be found. The most common wildlife seen there are deer and pronghorn antelope. But, other species seen include elk, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, coyotes, porcupines, foxes, and an abundance of rabbits. Like the entire Black Hills region, there is an abundance of bird species, though wild turkeys seem to make themselves the most apparent at times. There is a rattlesnake population there, so be careful please!
Battle Mountain WildflowerThe nearby city of Hot Springs is an Old West resort town, dating back to the late 1800's, where people have long enjoyed the refreshing mineral waters, heated by nature. Battle Mountain received it's name, due to the on-going battles between native tribes over who controlled the thermal springs in the valley. Besides the many things to see and do in Hot Springs, nearby Wind Cave National Park and Custer State Park offer additional camping, hiking, climbing, and nature viewing opportunities. The old ghost town of Cascade Falls is not far south of Battle Mountain, and the actual falls have long been a favorite place to swim. Many Hot Springs residents like to stay in town and soak their feet in the mineral waters of the Fall River. Most summer days will see children playing in the river. The Evans Plunge in Hot Springs, is built over several 87-degree thermal springs that feed the swimming pool with over 300,000 gallons an hour, effectively flushing the pool every 90 minutes.
Getting There & Route
View of Battle Mountain from the westSince Battle Mountain sits right at the northeast edge of Hot Springs, finding your way to the summit is not difficult. Unless you want to bushwhack your way to the summit, which presents trespassing problems, the best route up is just off Highway 385. Turn east on Thompson Road. Two blocks east, you will come to Battle Mountain Road, which is pretty much a 4-wheel drive road. This is your route to the summit. You can park anywhere along the road where you will not obstruct traffic.
Route: Battle Mountain Road gets worse as you ascend, and by the time you have hiked the 1.4 mile road/trail to the summit junction, you might wonder how even a 4-wheeler could make it up there, following the annual snowmelt washouts or a major summer thunderstorm. The advantage of the bad condition of the road means that as you hike, it will be quite unlikely you will encounter any vehicle traffic. As you near the end of the road/trail, you will see a steep branch to the right. If you follow that, it will take you between two rocky cones. The east cone is obviously the higher and the true summit. The towers are fenced in and clearly marked "Do Not Trespass". But, you can still find plenty of great views without trespassing.
Battle Mountain Wildlife
A small flock of wild turkeys A curious young buck
Watch where you step!
Access Limitation SignThere are no permits needed to hike. But, please resist any temptation to ignore the "No Trespassing" signs. Those who respect that should have no problems.
There is a rough road that branches off the road/trail to the summit. It veers to the north near the summit, and winds around to the northeast for just over two miles. It takes you around the north side of the mountain, down into a valley, up the side of a canyon, through more forest, and out into a meadow before it ends. This whole area along this road belongs to the state of South Dakota and is managed by the Department of Fish & Game. It is OK to hike here, but be aware the local population likes to hunt in season here, and sometimes target shoot in the off-season. Wearing orange while hiking this road is a wise precaution.
Camping Resources and Information Links
The fire tower at the summit of Battle MountainUS Forest Service
Black Hills National Forest
1019 N. 5th Street
Custer, SD 57730
Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce
801 South 6th Street
PO Box 342
Hot Springs, SD 57747
Custer State Park
13329 US HWY 16A
Custer, SD 57730
Wind Cave National Park
26611 US Highway 385
Hot Springs, SD 57747-6027