Mammoth tracks at Slim Buttes

Mammoth tracks at Slim Buttes

Some interesting geological features can be found at the south west end of the Slim Buttes if one  has the time to hike a few miles. 

Taking Highway 79 through the south pass of the buttes, turn  at the southern most west side approach, (before the historical marker farther south) and drive in. Depending on weather conditions you may not get far before having to hoof it. A high clearance 4WD vehicle and a sunny day where things have been dry for a spell are recommended.

Following the road, travelers will eventually cross a cattle guard. As the trail continues it gradually ascends up the slopes of the hills, but is never an overly steep hike. Most of the view is obscured by trees and hill sides rising up on both sides. 

About three quarters of the way up there is a fork in the road, hang a right and continue on to reach an open clearing at the crest of the plateau. One can choose to follow the western edge of the plateau south for some great views overlooking the cliffs to the east of the highway, or cut across the middle of the plateau for a more direct route. Either way, upon reaching the southern side one will encounter a barbed wire fence, follow this west until reaching an area with a small hillside that one must descend to reach the site. The hillside leads to a rocky promontory on the southern cliffs of the buttes. This is where the “mammoth tracks” can be found, large, shallow holes in the rock that are fairly uniform in size and depth. Caution should be exercised as many of these are found near the edge of the cliffs.

Looking from this view point to the south you can see the Black Hills on a clear day. For the able bodied, the hike itself should only take a couple hours round trip.
Once the weather warms back up, consider checking out this interesting site in Custer National Forest.

The Pioneer Review

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Philip, SD 57567
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