Forest Service Road 156

Page Type
South Dakota, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Less than two hours

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Forest Service Road 156
Created On: Dec 26, 2012
Last Edited On: Dec 27, 2012


Views from Scruton MountainViews from Scruton Mountain

This pleasant route follows a gated forest road to the top of Scruton Mountain. Highlights include the new tower and the site of the historical tower, also where the USGS marker can be found. Pleasant views are enjoyed from the top of this peak and navigational challenges are minimal. This could be enjoyed as a hike or as a (wide-tire) bike ride topped off by a short hike.

Roundtrip Distance: 3.8 miles
Elevation Gain: 660 feet
YDS Class: 1+
Recreation Map: Trails Illustrated #751 | Black Hills North

Getting There

Gated road where the hike beginsGated road where the hike begins
Scruton Mountain USGS MarkerScruton Mountain USGS Marker

See the solid driving directions in the man Scruton Mountain page “Getting There” section. The road to the start of this hike is graded dirt/gravel and suitable for most vehicles in dry conditions. A high-clearance, more rugged vehicle is always nice to have on dirt roads in dry conditions, and in wet or snowy conditions, you’ll want 4x4 or AWD.

We found parking for a full-sized pickup truck just west of FS 156 (the gated road for hiking) on Edelweiss Mountain Road (FS 251).

Summit Views
Summit views
Summit Views
Summit Views

Route Description

See the GPX file including in this page for route mapping.

Scruton Mountain Summit Area
Rocky summit area
Summit area
Historic Tower Site
Old tower foundation

• Round the gate on-foot (or on bicycle) and begin gently ascending FS 156 northbound.
• The road passes through several beetle kill remediation areas full of stumps and stacked logs, making several broad switchbacks first to the north then the south, then the north and then a western switchback before returning east again, then west, then again east toward the summit.
• At the end of the road, head southeast to visit the modern lookout tower. Next, trend to the southeast again to clamber up the old stairs to reach the remains of the historic lookout tower and to visit the USGS marker.
• From the historic marker, a somewhat difficult to find but obvious once you’re on it (make sense?) trail makes its way through the pine needles back to the road, heading first south and then west to regain the road for the descent back to parking.

Scruton Mountain Summit Area
Enjoying views from the top
Trail to historical tower
Trail through the woods
Ascending the trail
New fire tower

Essential Gear

Summit views, including Pactola Reservoir
Summit Views
Pactola Reservoir
Summit Views

New TowerNew Tower
New TowerNew Tower

• Standard hiking equipment suitable to the season
• Sunscreen and sun protective clothing (as the beetle kill has eliminated much of the shade the now-dead pines would have thrown)
• Plenty of drinking water and snacks
• Camera

Missing Something?Missing something?