Centennial Trail End-to-End Hike
next offering May 2023
Location: South Dakota
Hike Distance: approximately 126-miles.
Centennial Trail End-to-End Hike Description: Referred to as Trail No 89 (to commemorate the 100th anniversary of statehood in 1989), the Centennial Trail of South Dakota stretches approximately 126-miles from Wind Cave National Park to Bear Butte State Park. The southern terminus has a lofty beginning boasting diversity of prairies, pine forest, riparian habitats and prairie dog towns. The northern terminus ascends 900-feet from the plains floor along a route with prayer flags and the history and sacredness of “Mato Paha,” a lone mountain jutting upwards from the grassland.
From subterranean features, roaming buffalo herds, deep thick forests where bear forage and lakes large enough for fishing – the landscape is ever changing. History adds to the variety of the immersive experience. This trail is unique because it travels through one national park, directly next to a second national park, navigates two state parks, three national forest districts, one BLM segment, one wildlife refuge and one national recreation area.
In 2023 this will be a day hike offering. Each day registrants will hike a prescribed distance ranging from 6 to 14-miles. The two longest days can have a shortened route option. There is a 9.2-mile segment that we are unable to guide due to permitting restrictions.
Registrants are not required to hike daily and can instead choose to skip a day of hiking and operate the sag wagon. For hiker’s intent on completing a trail from end-to-end, this is an excellent opportunity to test daily determination in a landscape that is beautiful and not often traveled.
When: Hike officially begins on Friday, May 12th and concludes on Thursday, May 25th. The Meet and Greet is scheduled for Thursday, May 11th following travel to our first night’s camp.
- Thursday, May 11th – pick-up at the Rapid City Regional Airport at 12p and drive directly to camp.
- Friday, May 26th – drop-off at the Rapid City Regional Airport at 12p.
Cost for 2023:
- $4,100 – discount for paying in full, PayPal link.
- $4,300 – includes a $500 deposit with the remainder due March 15, 2023, PayPal link.
- Additional $100 discount if payment is made by check.
Includes: Every effort has been made to make this an all-inclusive offering. Meals outside of the hike/town stops, are not included and you are encouraged to visit one of the local eateries.
- All in the field meals and snacks.
- Shared maps and individual bootleg data book.
- Lodging (double occupancy) provided for the nights of May 17th-May 18th during our mid-hike town stop and May 25th. If single lodging is preferred an additional payment will be required at the end of the hike.
- All designated campsite fees.
Camps: Expect camp to move daily; although, efforts will be made to keep our camp in the same location for two nights where possible. Although this hike is a continuous day hike there is no shower access although some of the campgrounds we access do have shower facilities. Expect to be roughing it.
All About Food: Nutritious! Filling! Yummy!
A menu will be provided approximately three weeks prior to the hike start. Our menu is designed to ensure nutrition, is not carbohydrate heavy but instead blends all nutritional needs including: fruits, vegetables, fats and proteins as well as carbohydrates. This hike will have a higher percentage of fresh fruits and vegetables because of trail and town proximity.
Breakfasts are generally quick, easy and include coffee or hot drinks. A variety of items will be available for lunch to be packed daily. Expect dinners to be a soup base. We have found that hearty, filling soups assist with ensuring you feel better, sleep better and maintain hydration. You won’t be hungry and we apologize now if you return to the trailhead a couple pounds heavier than when you began.
Allergy and dietary restrictions can be accommodated if we are advised in advance – like, when you register!
Gear and Equipment: Registrants are expected to provide their own camping and personal gear. Equipment can be provided with prior request – typically no later than 14-days before the hike start. A complete list of suggested items will be provided following registration. Most, if not all, of the items needed are already in your closet.
There are space limitations in the sag wagon thus, you will be permitted a small bag that will be carried to each camp daily. There will be no flexibility with regard to weight and size dimensions.
Each evening, registrants will set up their own tents and sleeping accommodations. Many of the camps are in designated campgrounds as required by State Park regulations. Some camps are on public lands without the same restrictions.
The hike itself will require 13 days of hiking. Registrants are required to carry their own daypack with the 10 Essentials.
Typical Hike Day: Subject to change.
- 6:30a – Morning wake-up call.
- 7a – Coffee and breakfast served. Please be on time! Make your lunch.
- 7:30a – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.
- 8a to 4p – Hike; travel to/from trailhead if required.
- 4p to 6p – This is your free time to enjoy the landscape, read a book, write in your journal or take a nap
- 6p – Dinner served. Please be on time! Enjoy a big plate of delicious, nutritious, filling hot food.
- After Dinner – Cleanup crew washes dishes, puts food away, etc.; everyone else on own.
Registration Considerations: This end-to-end hike is open to any individual who is willing to put in the time and effort required for training for this adventure. In other words, don’t plan to slink off the couch, pull on a day pack and intend to walk daily on trails with their traditional features of obstacles, hills and dirt. We want everyone to be successful, but much of that success rests solely on your shoulders for building endurance and strength before you go. While with us we will encourage and guide you to the best of our ability – again, we want you to find success with hiking 122-miles.
This end-to-end hike is open to individuals who meet the following criteria:
- Have a great attitude and desire to accomplish the hike from end-to-end.
- Ability to adhere to the following basic rules: Be safe. Have fun. Continue to put one foot in front of the other.
- Physical stamina to hike at a moderate pace throughout the day. Note: registrants are not required to hike daily, instead can choose to skip a day of hiking and operate the sag wagon.
- Have the appropriate gear and equipment to maintain safety and campsite comfort.
- Willingness to learn – you will learn something about yourself.
- Must be 16 years old with parent or guardian.
Registration is OPEN (maximum of 6): Cancellation policy applies and includes the following notification – individuals who withdraw from this end-to-end hike, once it has begun, receive no refund or credit and are responsible for their own lodging, meals and transportation when not in the field. Further, the cancelling individual is responsible for any and all costs of lodging and meals of the Trip Leader, or their designee, needed or required because of the individual’s withdrawal.
This end-to-end hike has a higher non-refundable application fee of $500.