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  1. #1
    Registered User PecosBackpacker's Avatar
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    Default Shoshone/Black Hills National Forest

    A little background:
    Spent 3 summers in college backpacking in New Mexico (hence username). Graduated, got settled into a career, moved a few times for work, somehow managed to find time to get married, and haven't been able to hit the trails in over 10 years. I am finally at a good point where I am planning my first trip since life got in the way this summer. I am looking at Shoshone NF or Black Hills NF. I am looking for a relatively easy-moderate 3-5 day trip no more than about 40ish miles.

    Can anyone reccommend anything at either one of these locations that meet this criteria? Ilive in Colorado so elevation isn't much of an issue.

    Also on that same note, I can find a good topo of Black Hills NF, but I have been unable to find one for Shoshone and all it's associated wilderness areas. REI doesn't carry it. Can someone point me in the right direction? Thank you in advance for all of your help and suggestions.
    Last edited by PecosBackpacker; 01-22-2020 at 16:46.

  2. #2

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    I think I went looking for Shoshone NF maps and had a similar problem. I stopped by the ranger station and bought one. I think there’s a north and a south map, but I don’t hike in the Shoshone much, so it’s been a while since I even looked at the map(s). Email SNF, and I’m sure they’d be happy to help you get a map. There are beautiful places... happy hiking!

  3. #3
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    I recommend getting familiar with Caltopo, if you do, you'll probably never have to buy another map again. Just go to caltopo.com and start playing around.

    You can print 8.5x11 maps from caltopo, but if you donate $20 to them, you can print larger maps. I create a series of jpegs for a hike, then print them in color at office max/depot (used to be kinkos, right?), or sometimes just on my laser printer in B&W at home.

    Basically, all the NGS topo data is available to you, at whatever scale you want, plus many other map layers, like a "map builder" overlay, which allows you to very quickly lay down tracks on a map that follow existing trails. It's sooooo useful to swap between the various available layers; like when I lay out potential backpacking routes and loops, I'll also take a peek at the Google satellite layer, zooming in looking at potential campsites, etc. Then there's slope-shading, elevation profiles, lots of great stuff.

    Lastly, since you have interest in SNF in Wyoming, and BHNF over in SD, don't neglect the Medicine Bow NF in southern WY, great stuff in there and closer to CO springs, really only a few hours' drive. PLUS there are no grizzleys in MBNF, lots of them further north, just sayin'.

  4. #4
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Default

    Wind River Range, Wyoming
    Elkhart Park trailhead.
    Island Lake-Titcomb Basin.
    After Labor Day. Avoid weekends.
    Wayne

  5. #5
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Black Hills NF (Centennial Trail) can easily be hiked starting in mid May. Can be colder and a chance for a late snow storm but generally has good weather. This also gets you out before the mosquitoes and ticks become too active. Order a copy of "Hiking Centennial Trail" by Cheryl Whetham and Jukka Huhtiniemi. This guide has a listing of all the trailheads. Would be really easy to plan a 40 mile section. Call Rabbit Bicycle Shop in Hill City to arrange a reasonably priced shuttle if necessary. As you mentioned there are two readily accessible maps of the Black Hills from National Geographic maps. This isn't the most remote area though and you will be doing some Forest Service road walks and there is a section where you may encounter ORV traffic. I use this as my (almost) annual spring training hike.
    Lonehiker

  6. #6

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    I, too, can also recommend the Centennial Trail in the Black Hills. I heard about it from lonehiker and have hiked it's full length in two sections. I can highly recommend it. If interested I wrote two blog posts detailing the trail here:

    Going North 2016: https://nomadicpawprints.wordpress.c...tennial-trail/

    Going South 2017: https://nomadicpawprints.wordpress.c...-south-dakota/

    I also agree with the point lonehiker makes about CalTopo...used it to plan almost every route I've done.

  7. #7
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Sorry but I can't take credit for the CalTopo reference. Co_Rob is the man.
    Lonehiker

  8. #8

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    Harney Peak Wilderness has it's moments in the Black Hills, for a real hiking experience with good access points. Spectacular needles & pinnacles.

  9. #9
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    Harney Peak is in
    Black Elk Wilderness.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    Harney Peak is in
    Black Elk Wilderness.
    I thought the same thing but could't check it on the maps

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by lonehiker View Post
    Black Hills NF (Centennial Trail) can easily be hiked starting in mid May. Can be colder and a chance for a late snow storm but generally has good weather. This also gets you out before the mosquitoes and ticks become too active. Order a copy of "Hiking Centennial Trail" by Cheryl Whetham and Jukka Huhtiniemi. This guide has a listing of all the trailheads. Would be really easy to plan a 40 mile section. Call Rabbit Bicycle Shop in Hill City to arrange a reasonably priced shuttle if necessary. As you mentioned there are two readily accessible maps of the Black Hills from National Geographic maps. This isn't the most remote area though and you will be doing some Forest Service road walks and there is a section where you may encounter ORV traffic. I use this as my (almost) annual spring training hike.
    Lonehiker....looking at this as a possible trip for early June. Any thoughts on weather/mosquitoes/ticks during this time frame? And shuttle service from one end back to the other?

  12. #12
    Registered User lonehiker's Avatar
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    You will have more mosquitoes/ticks in June but the weather will be fine. Generally, except for one source in northern section, the water situation should be good. Rabbit bicycles is a good source for shuttles. I think they have shops in both Deadwood and Hill City. There is at least one more but I don't care for them as much and they were a bit pricier.
    Lonehiker

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