Bear Butte State Park
Mato Paha or "Bear Mountain" is the Lakota name given to this site. To the Cheyenne, it is "Noahvose." This geological formation is one of several intrusions of igneous rock in the Black Hills that formed millions of years ago. The mountain is sacred to many American Indian tribes who come here to hold religious ceremonies. Please be respectful of worshippers and their religious practices.
A Sacred Mountain
Many American Indians see Bear Butte as a place where the creator has chosen to communicate with them through visions and prayer.
During your visit, you will see colorful pieces of cloth and small bundles or pouches hanging from the trees. These prayer cloths and tobacco ties represent the prayers offered by individuals during their worship. Please respect these offerings and leave them undisturbed.
Restrictions / Safety
Bear Butte State Park
20250 Hwy 79
P.O. Box 688
Sturgis, SD 57785
Facilities / Services
- Boat Ramp
- Drinking water
- Fishing dock
- Horse camp
- Picnic Shelter
- Vault toilets
- Visitor Center
The Bear Butte Education Center highlights the mountain's geology, history and the cultural beliefs of the Northern Plains Indians. An on-site interpreter is available during the summer months.
- Open 8 a.m. - 6 p.m. May - Sept.
(Call for group arrangements)
- Summit Trail: 1.85 miles
- Lake Trail: 2.5 miles
- Northernmost point of 111-mile Centennial Trail
Fishing license required.
- Northern Pike
Pets are not allowed on the Summit Trail. It is too narrow to safely accommodate a hiker and pets. Pets may be taken across Highway 79 to the horse camp area and allowed to exercise while on a leash.
Please stay on the trail and respect those participating in religious activities. Do not disturb or photograph prayer cloths and tobacco ties.
A buffalo herd roams the base of the butte. Buffalo are dangerous, please do not approach.
Horseback riding is allowed west of Highway 79 ONLY. Riders can use the Centennial Trail west of the horse camp.
Possession or consumption of alcohol at Bear Butte State Park east of Highway 79 is prohibited. Bear Butte is a sacred site for many people and will be respected as such.
Leaving human remains (ashes) at Bear Butte State Park is prohibited. Bear Butte is not a burial site and is not to be treated as one.
Uncased firearms or bows are prohibited at Bear Butte year-round east of Highway 79. This reduces danger and disturbance to those who gather at the site to worship.