OverviewLists of John places the prominence at 547 feet, providing clear summit views of Crow Peak, Inyan Kara Mountain, Spearfish Peak, Terry Peak, Old Baldy Mountain, and Custer Peak, as well as views of Rattlesnake Canyon, Wagonwheel Canyon, and Wyoming's Grand Canyon. The clearing for the old gold-mining town of Tinton, South Dakota can be seen, located just a few miles to the east.
Cement Ridge is a long mountain ridge, with the old fire lookout at the northern end of the ridge. The actual highpoint is immediately south of the junction of forest service roads 850 and 222.1E. The highpoint is covered in thick forest, making an off-trail hike up to the summit an arduous task. Those who hike to the summit area must sometimes share the road with forest service vehicles, fire department vehicles. ATV’s or 4-wheel drives. The forest here is managed by the Black Hills National Forest Service.
Geologists have found igneous rock and limestone in abundance here. The summit is porphyry, with basal quartzites and shales elsewhere on the mountain. While the fire lookout area is devoid of trees, not far away are numerous ponderosa pines. Aspens are in abundance not far down the slopes, as well as some paper birch and spruce. This part of the Black Hills has abundant elk herds, which are often heard bugling in the autumn.
The lookout tower is still used for fire detection and uses an Osborne Fire Finder to pinpoint forest fires. Visitors to the lookout sometimes are able to see the rangers at work, as well as ask some questions. Numerous signs at the summit provide visitors with an education about Cement Ridge and identify nearby peaks.
Perhaps the most scenic route to get to Cement Ridge is from Savoy, in Spearfish Canyon. Savoy is about 13 miles south of Spearfish, South Dakota through the very scenic Spearfish Canyon on Highway 14A. A lodge and visitors center is located at Savoy, along with a one-mile trail up to Roughlock Falls, and a short trail to 50-foot high Spearfish Falls. There is also a short, but very steep trail rising 1,000 feet to Spearfish Canyon’s Buzzard Roost, which offers an incredible overview of the canyon at its best. The whole area could merit a trip by itself, but is certainly well worth a stopover if you have the time.
The most direct route from Spearfish is by taking Tinton Road, (FSR 134) south to the junction with FSR 105.
If you prefer to travel from Sundance, Wyoming to take the hike, take Moskee Road (FSR 141) south (Interstate 90 Exit 191). Go east on FSR 875, then east on FSR 804 to the junction with FSR 850.
Be aware that vehicles can and do use the road to reach the summit, and you may also encounter mountain bikers or horseback riders.
Please be aware that the roads here are closed during the winter snow season and are used instead for snowmobile trails, as part of the Black Hills Snowmobile Trail System. A vault toilet is provided for visitors to the fire lookout.
MapsBlack Hills Forest Service offices offer a free Motor Vehicle Use Map for the Bearlodge and Northern Hills Ranger District. They update these maps each year to show what forest roads are open and to which categories of use they are open for. The National Forest Service offices also sell their own high quality maps for the Black Hills National Forest.
When to Climb
The most beautiful time of the year to visit is generally from mid-September to mid-October, when all the autumn colors are peaking. There are large stands of aspen in various locations in the area. Fall deer and elk hunting seasons will provide ample reasons to exercise caution when doing any off-road hiking in the area.
For the latest area weather conditions and forecast, click here:
Cement Ridge – Spearfish Area NOAA Weather Forecast & Conditions
Red TapeThere are no permits or passes needed. Illegal campfires are probably the greatest concern of forest service officials.
Camping & Information ResourcesBearlodge Ranger District, Sundance, Wyoming, (307) 283-3727
Northern Hills Ranger District, Spearfish, South Dakota, (605) 642-4622.
Sundance, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, (307) 283-1000
Visit Spearfish, South Dakota , (605) 717-9294
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