Friendship Tower at the summit of Mt. Theodore Roosevelt
One of the most interesting peaks to summit in the northern Black Hills may be Mount Theodore Roosevelt. The mountain is situated just north of Deadwood, with the summit 1080 feet higher than the downtown area. While not a challenging climb, hikers will find not only great views, but also get to see the historic stone tower at the summit.
Despite its close proximity to the resort towns of Deadwood and Lead, wildlife is in abundance with deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, and a large variety of small animals and birds. As the mountain lion population continues to grow in the Black Hills, they are also seen occasionally in the area.
Mt. Theodore Roosevelt historical plaque
Friendship Tower was built in 1919 as a tribute to Theodore Roosevelt, by Seth Bullock, a well-known figure in the history of the Black Hills. Bullock was a rancher, sheriff, and US Marshall, and was a close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt. Bullock completed the tower after Roosevelt died earlier in the year. Strangely, Bullock died later that same year. Roosevelt, a popular figure in the Black Hills, was later honored as one of the four faces on Mount Rushmore.
In years past, the summit was cleared of trees. But, re-growth over the last few decades has obscured some of the view from the summit. One can still get clear views, however, of Terry Peak and Spearfish Peak to the west, Polo Peak to the north, and Custer Peak to the south. The lower view to the southwest is scarred by the remains of the old Homestake Gold Mine.
Mt. Theodore Roosevelt Trail
Access from downtown Deadwood is easy. Start at the intersection of Main and Denver Streets, and then go up Denver Street. Denver Street will soon turn into Pine Crest Lane, which is also a forest road, BHNF133. Normally, there is not much traffic, so you may have the road all to yourself. Around 3 miles up, you will come to a picnic area and parking lot. There you will find the Roosevelt Trail that will take you ½ mile to the summit. The trail winds through aspen groves and pine forest, and past one small boulder field.
If you are traveling in from Interstate 90, you can access BHNF133 from highway 85. You can park at that intersection and hike the forest road about 3 miles until you come to the picnic area and Roosevelt Trail head.
Since this is all public land, there is no red tape, outside of observing campfire safety.
Camping and Lodging Resources
The Deadwood area has many hotels, resorts and campgrounds