There is no doubt that Mt. Rushmore is the magnetic force that brings people to the Black Hills, but it is the natural beauty of the granite domes and spires and endless ponderosa pine forests mixed with aspens, birch, and oaks glades that cause people to return year after year. There are many places that offer visitors special views of this paradise, but few compare with Mount Baldy.
The 200+ foot granite dome rises out of the rolling forests directly behind Mount Rushmore. Its summit offers stunning views of the surrounding rock spires and the nearby Harney Peak range. Surrounding the base of Old Baldy are massive old-growth pines and house size boulders, which are perfect for climbing. There are a few trails that meander through the rocky playground, allowing travelers to experience the beauty of the forest floor close up.
The hike from Hwy 244 (highway in front of Mt. Rushmore) to the base takes about 25 minutes. Once at the dome, a combination of walking and scrambling up the northeast side brings one to the summit. From there, you are able to take in the panoramic views of a place that has maintained its pristine qualities.
If you’re staying with us at Backroads Inn and Cabins, you can simply walk out the backdoor and hike 30+ minutes up the northeast slope to Baldy (see picture below). Along the way, you’ll encounter sweeping vistas and large granite slabs the size of several football fields. If you ask nicely, we’ll even give you directions to a semi-hidden granite corridor full of lush, green ferns.
Regardless of how you get to Mount Baldy, it is guaranteed to be a lasting memory, one that most people who visit the Black Hills never get to experience.
Make time to get away in nature; it’ll be worth it.