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Black Hills Nat’l Forest ’76 Trail

’76 Trail

Ahh good ole ‘76 Trail. I have to be honest after a few really easy trails to see some waterfalls I was itching to get to something a bit more challenging. So the FMLT team walked from the parking lot of the Roughlock trail head about 50 yards to the trail head for ’76. This was definitely a more challenging hike then we had been taking and I was excited….for about a minute and then I started the familiar heavy breathing, flop sweat inducing climb through the woods. Too add to the difficulty of hill ’76 was the fact that the trail, which is narrow and mostly dirt, had turned to mud after the raining days. This made the travel pretty slow…well slower than I usually go but it was still manageable.


Before the ascent really started we did have some visitors. I am pretty convinced these are the same 4 deer that just follow me from hike to hike. I seem to see deer everywhere I go lately.

After the deer I probably should have stopped but decided to trudge on. The trail decided to punish me for my efforts by increasing the elevation gain. One nice thing about national forest trails I have found is that they do a good job of putting signs up along the trail. Well ’76 did one better by putting a wood bench next to a sign that said “Halfway point. Trail steep from here”


The Second half

The sign did not lie and the trail did get steep from there and continued to be muddy. The people who were coming down kept promising that it would level off. This turned out to be a lie. In all there is a 1000 feet of elevation gain in a roughly 3/4 mile out, according to the sign, which is pretty steep. At least the trail wasn’t terribly long and the view at the top was pretty nice.

Panoramic picture from the top of the trail.  There are tall trees in the foreground with a wall of mountains lining the background. The skies are overcast and cloudy.

Wrap up

To be honest, if you are just getting started, uncomfortable with challenging footing, hungover from a night at the casino, or just plain lazy, I would suggest doing the Roughlock falls trail instead of this one. The views are nice but I’m not sure they are worth the price of admission. (Paid in physical exertion) Unless you are looking for a good workout and challenge. Lucky for you I did the trail so you don’t have to!

One fun fact for those avid readers of Fatman’s exploits who saw the Town of Deadwood post. Potato Creek Johnny was buried in the Mt. Moriah Cemetery next to Wild Bill and Calamity Jane. He was known to use this trail quite a bit when it was part of a larger mining trail. Johnny lived just off one end of the longer version of the hike and would use it when he was traveling to trade. He is famous for finding the biggest nugget during the gold rush.

If you have a suggestion for a hike that you would like me to try, feel free to email me at or you can follow me on the below social media platforms. I have also added this hike and all the hikes to the interactive map that you can find here.

After the hike we ate at the Cheyenne Crossing restaurant.

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