Cement Ridge is a long mountain ridge, with the lookout at the west end of the ridge. The actual Crook County highpoint is more toward the east end of the ridge, at 6,674 feet. Geologists will find igneous rock and limestone in abundance here. The summit is porphyry, with basal quartzites and shales elsewhere on the mountain. While the tower area at the actual summit is devoid of trees, not far away are numerous ponderosa pines. Aspens are in abundance not far down the slopes, as well as some birch and spruce.
HistoryThe area area around Cement Ridge is rich in Minnekahta limestone, used in the manufacture of cement. This is probably relevent to how the peak was named. A log cabin was constructed on the summit in 1912, with a 2-story wooden tower added nearby in 1921. The summit was not vehicle accessible until 1927, when ranger Tom Sawyer brought his family up to the summit in a Model T Ford. Most of the broken trees seen on the peak resulted from a tornado during the early 1990s. The current lookout tower was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps from 1940-1941. In 1993, the Cement Ridge Fire Tower was listed in the National Historic Lookout Register.
Perhaps the most scenic route to get to Cement Ridge, is from Savoy, in Spearfish Canyon. Savoy is about 12 miles south of Spearfish, South Dakota through the very scenic Spearfish Canyon on Highway 14A. At Savoy, is a lodge and visitors center. There is a one-mile trail up to Roughlock Falls, and a 3/4 mile loop trail to 50-foot high Spearfish Falls. The whole area could merit a trip by itself, but well worth a stopover if you have time. From Savoy, travel west on road 222 to the junction with road 134, where you turn right or north. 222 and 134 will share roadway for a short distance. At the junction with road 105, go west until you come to road 804. On 804, go north until you come to road 850, where you will see a sign for the route to the summit. The hike to the summit and back is about 5 miles. Be aware that vehicles can use the road to reach the summit, and you may also encounter mountain bikers or horseback riders. There is a vault toilet at the summit.
The most direct route from Spearfish is by taking road 134 south to the junction with road 105, then west until the junction with road 804. At 804, go north until you come to the junction with 850. Again, the 804/850 junction is a good place to start your hike to the summit.
If you prefer to travel from Sundance, Wyoming to take the hike, take Moskee Road (road 141) south (Exit 191 on I-90). Go east on road 875, then east on road 804 to the junction with 850.
Red TapeThere are no permits or passes needed.
Resource and Camping Links
Sundance, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce, (307) 283-1000
Spearfish, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, (605) 642-2626
Deadwood, South Dakota Chamber of Commerce, (605) 578-1876
Beulah, Wyoming Camping and Lodging
Timon Campground, South Dakota
Sundance, Wyoming Campground