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Summit Ridge Lookout Cabin

Summit Ridge Cabin is located on the western border of South Dakota in Black Hills National Forest, providing a perfect setting for guests seeking recreation and relaxation. Built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930's, the cabin was originally used as an outpost to fight forest fires. Today the cabin is available for reservation throughout the year, though at an elevation of 6,096 feet, it can receive considerable snow in the winter. As roads to the cabin are not plowed, it is generally closed from December through mid-March.

The cabin measures 22' x 32' and is comfortable for four people, though groups as large as ten may reserve the facility. The cabin is furnished with three bunk beds. Bedding and mattresses are not provided. The cabin is equipped with a propane stove for cooking, a wood stove for heat and an outdoor fire ring. Guests must provide the propane. Visitors must also bring several of their own supplies as the cabin does not have food, cooking utensils, sleeping bags, sleeping pads, towels, dish soap, matches, pots and pans, toilet paper or garbage bags. Guests must also bring their own firewood and water for cooking, washing and drinking. There is no drinking water available at this site. Although solar LED lighting is available, an additional light source is recommended. Kerosene lamps are not permitted for fire safety reasons. An accessible vault toilet is located on site and a steel firetower is located near the cabin, but is closed for public use. Summit Ridge Lookout Cabin also has 2 RV sites at additional $12 each, allowing RVs up to 20 and 30 feet. If you would like to use these RV sites, please enter 11 people, and if you would like both please enter 15 people. The RV sites are not reservable on their own but in addition to the rental of the cabin.

Explore Mount Rushmore National Memorial, host to almost 3 million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. Managed by the National Park Service, visitors will have the opportunity to learn about the birth, growth, development and the preservation of the United States, and take in the beauty of South Dakota's Black Hills. South Dakota caves are some of the most unique in the United States. Boasting sparkling calcite crystals and other rare formations, as well as some of the largest concentrations of passageways in the world, nearby Jewel Cave is currently the second longest in the world, at 180 miles. Other possible day trips include Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument and Wind Cave National Park.

Located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, Black Hills National Forest encompasses nearly 1.25 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves. Derived from the Lakota language, the words "Paha Sapa," meaning "hills that are black," honor the dark, pine-covered hills rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie. Situated in a grassy understory beneath Ponderosa pine, the area around Summit Lookout Cabin exemplifies this landscape. Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate mountainous terrain, while elk, deer and pronghorn gather in forests and prairies. Bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcon, and hundreds of other bird species can be found in the forest, especially along streams, lakes and rivers.

The area around the cabin is remote, yet offers visitors a multitude of recreational opportunities throughout all seasons. Hiking, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles are popular in summer and early autumn. Snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling offer visitors a chance to seek out winter landscapes. For hikers and bikers, the George S. Mickelson Trail, near Custer, South Dakota (approximately 40 miles from the cabin) traverses over 100 miles through the heart of the Black Hills, with four tunnels, more than 100 converted railroad bridges, and 15 established trailheads spaced along the route. The trail surface is packed gravel, traversing mountain, meadow, and forest terrain. For hikers seeking higher elevations, a day-long trek to the summit of Harney Peak, also near Custer, is worth the effort. Harney Peak is the highest natural point in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, and although the mountain is well below tree line, most of the summit is bare granite, offering expansive views of the surrounding area. At the top, an old stone fire lookout is open to hikers.

  • Accessible Vault Toilets
  • Bunkbed(s)
  • Campfire Rings
  • Hiking
  • Hunting
  • Lights
  • Mountain Biking
  • Propane Stove
  • RV sites
  • Solar Lights
  • Wood Stove

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Hell Canyon Ranger District, 1019 North 5th Street, CUSTER, SD 57730

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