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Bear Butte State Park is in western South Dakota near the town of Sturgis.


Mato Paha or "Bear Mountain" is the Lakota name given to this site. To the Cheyenne, it is "Noahvose." This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills that formed millions of years ago. The mountain is sacred to many American Indian tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Please be respectful of worshippers and their religious practices.


Artifacts dating back 10,000 years have been found near Bear Butte. In more recent times, however, the Cheyenne and Lakota people have maintained a spiritual tie to this mountain.

Notable leaders including Red Cloud, Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull have all visited Bear Butte. These visits culminated with an 1857 gathering of many Indian nations to discuss the advancement of white settlers into the Black Hills.

George A. Custer, who led an expedition of 1,000 men into the region, camped near the mountain. Custer verified the rumors of gold in the Black Hills. Bear Butte then served as a landmark that helped guide the rush of invading prospectors and settlers into the region.


Flora and fauna[edit]

A buffalo herd roams the base of the butte. Buffalo are dangerous, please keep your distance and do not approach.


Get in[edit]

6 miles NE of Sturgis off SD Hwy 79.

Fees and permits[edit]

Park entrance license required: $5/day/vehicle or $23 for an annual pass. Participants in religious activities exempt.

Camping & Fees: $6/site. 16 sites (all non-electrical). Horse Camp: $8/site. 4 sites (all non-electrical). No showers. Water. Picnic shelter.

Get around[edit]


Education Center: Open 8AM to 6PM, May - Sept. Call for group arrangements.


Camping. Biking. Boating. Fishing. Game/equipment checkout. Hiking. 1.85-mile Summit Trail, open 8AM to 7PM; 2.5-mile Lake Trail; Northernmost point of 111-mile Centennial Trail for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Cultural and historical interest. Horse trail and camp. Riding west of Hwy 79 only. Horseshoes. Picnic shelter. Volleyball. Buffalo herd.







Camping & Fees: $6/site. 16 sites (all non-electrical). Horse Camp: $8/site. 4 sites (all non-electrical). No showers. Water. Picnic shelter.


Stay safe[edit]

Go next[edit]

  • Fort Meade Cavalry Museum
  • 111-mile Centennial Trail
  • Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and Races in August
  • Historic City of Deadwood
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