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Mount Roosevelt/Friendship tower

Mount Roosevelt

Well the Deadwood area has given me a few easy hikes, one really steep hike and now I’m ready to go back to easy. I have noticed two major differences between South Dakota and Colorado in that South Dakota has less people on the trails and they definitely don’t make you work as hard for the views. This was true of the Mount Roosevelt hike.

Getting Started

There is a parking and picnic area is less than a mile to the Friendship Tower. Be prepared though, the trail is a solid uphill walk. The grade isn’t very bad but you will be constantly huffing as you go. The trail is well marked and very easy to follow and easy to navigate but for the elevation gain.

At the end of the trail you will come to the friendship tower.

A wide view of the Friendship tower.  The tower is made completely of brick and in a cylindrical shape.  There is an open doorway, an open window and an open observation area at the top.

Friendship Tower

Some cool history about the Friendship Tower. When I was at Mount Moriah cemetary and hiking up to see Seth Bullock’s grave, and wondering to myself why he wasn’t buried in the main cemetery with the rest of the Deadwood elite, I read the pamphlet that they were handing out. Bullock was a friend of the President Roosevelt’s and was a member of the Black Hills Pioneers. He was also one of the most prominent citizens in Deadwood and promoter of the town. Well according to the paper from the cemetery, Bullock and the Pioneers constructed the monument to Roosevelt. Then Bullock chose his final resting place so that he could have a view of Mount Roosevelt. History is cool!

At the time of hiking up to his grave site I didn’t think much of it but after seeing the tower in person I thought that was pretty cool. The tower is open and you can make it to the top. As long as you can manage a somewhat tight spiral staircase.

a picture looking straight up the inside of the tower.  It is a very narrow area just large enough for a brick circular staircase.  A metal handrail has been added for safety

The Views

At the top you have a really nice view of are surrounding Deadwood area and the Black Hill National Forest. The top of the tower isn’t very large and could probably fit about 5-6 people at a time. One of the coolest features that you can see from the tower is Bear Butte which is about 23 miles away.

View from the top of the Friendhip tower.  Rolling tree topped hills stretch the foreground.  In the background in a haze is a butte before the picture ends at the horizon.
Bear Butte in the distance

The views are nice and Mount Roosevelt is only a couple minute drive from downtown Deadwood. There is a bit of an incline but it should be manageable and rewarding if you decide to go. Here are the rest of the views from the trip to Mount Roosevelt and the Friendship tower.

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.

4 thoughts on “Mount Roosevelt/Friendship tower”

  1. We absolutely loved it. So peaceful and amazing scenery from the top. Wish we would’ve thought to take a picnic lunch with us!

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