Dugout Gulch Botanical Trail #77
ElevationAscent: 1,175' 358 m
Descent: -1,175' -358 m
High: 4,680' 1,427 m
Low: 3,842' 1,171 m
GradeAvg Grade: 5% (3°)
Max Grade: 15% (8°)
Current trail conditions
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“A scenic lollipop with abundant floral diversity and mellow grades through the Black Hills Forest.”— ktboundary Thompson
Large portions of the loop part of the trail were old forest service/logging roads converted to trail, so they still resemble roads but have a distinct singletrack following them. There can also be cattle on some of the sections.
Cross the stream several times on bridges or log crossings. Go through another gate before reaching a pond and the junction with the loop portion of the trail.
Stay left and uphill as you follow the old road bed turned singletrack. Be sure to look up and take in some grand views of the hills and forest with soft pine needle covered trail.
Near the apex of the loop, a clearing is reached with a section of trail that is difficult to follow. There appears to be an old road that heads left at this point, but going straight across the clearing is the correct path. The intersection may be marked with logs that direct the trail in that direction.
Continue on the loop heading downhill with some rock outcroppings overhead. Come back towards the out and back section with views into the gulch. At the end of the loop, head back downhill to the trailhead.
Sheltered under the cool, green branches of paper birch, ironwood and hazelnut trees, you may find the Rattlesnake Fern, Common Solomon's Seal, Canadian Enchanter's Nightshade, and the Oval-leaved Milkweed. Also lingering in this area are several sedges - Meadow Sedge, Fox-tail Sedge and Rosy Sedge.
The boreal forests of Canada once extended as far south as Nebraska. With their retreat at the end of the Ice Age, boreal plants gave way to species adapted to periods of drought and heat. Only where life sustaining moisture averages about 24 inches per year and temperatures remain relatively cool, can these survivors be found.
Land Manager: USFS - Black Hills National Forest Office
May 14, 2019: Interagency Wildland Fire Training Near Rockerville