This prominent peak rises above the bucolic town of Spearfish like a Colorado Front Range peak. It almost taunts with its proximity to town. Thankfully, the city has preserved the area, totaling almost 800 acres, as Lookout Mountain Park. The USGS' official name for the peak is Lookout Peak, but the vernacular seems to perpetuate with the name of the park, the road on the north side, and the information available locally.
Elevation : 4,478'
SD Rank : 174
SD Prominence Rank : 25
County : Lawrence
Quad : Spearfish
There is some interesting history about the Thoen Stone
found on Lookout Mountain a LONG time ago.
First, get to Spearfish. Then get on the highway 14/I-90. Get to exit 14 and head north for Pony Express or Lookout Mountain road.
Nevada Street – This trailhead has the most parking. Turn off 10th Street on to Nevada St. The trailhead is at the end of the road behind the Church of the Nazarene. Pass under the Interstate and you’ll be in the park. This TH puts you at the SW side of the mountain. You'll have to wander around to find the trail to the road to the summit trail.
Pony Express Lane – This trailhead is in the Sandstone neighborhood. There is a small parking area here that will hold something like 4 cars or so. Park here. (This is the one we used).
Lookout Mountain Road - From Google Earth, it appears the road/trail that goes up and over the summit terminates at the north side of the peak at the end of this residential road.
There is no accurate map of the area, and the trails are not signed. Everything, however, is within plain view and easy to figure out where you are and where you are heading (i.e. the summit!).
Double track up
Rocky! (the terrain, not the dog. He's Sirius.)
Pony Express TH
The usual cautions exist about rattlesnakes in the area, but the best rule is always to leave them alone when you see them. Give them room to move away from you, and give them wide berth. Remember they help control rodent/pest populations and want nothing to do with you, so don't harass or kill them.
When to Climb
This peak can be ascended year round. Much of the trail area is south facing, so it should dry off early. I'd suspect the trail gets snowpacked and icy in winter conditions, so bring some traction devices.
There is no camping in/on this peak, but plenty of lodging options exist in Spearfish and LOTS of camping can be found in the Black Hills National Forest, which is only 20 minutes away. Too many options to list here.