SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Trip Finder: Great Plains

Your favorite Great Plains hikes—from dayhikes to weekenders to multiday trips.

by: Alistair Wearmouth

Bison Trail, NE (Chuck Haney)
Bison Trail, NE (Chuck Haney)
Backpack Trail, IA (Clint Farlinger)
Backpack Trail, IA (Clint Farlinger)
Buffalo River/Old River Trails, AR (Tom Till)
Buffalo River/Old River Trails, AR (Tom Till)
Tom Trigg (courtesy)
Tom Trigg (courtesy)

DAYHIKES | WEEKENDMULTIDAY

GRASSLANDS Bison Trail, NE
Take this six-mile out-and-back to tour “a moonscape of exposed bluffs and rock formations” in the Oglala National Grassland, says Tom Scheimo (above). The trail’s name? Bison mysteriously died en masse here more than 10,000 years ago. fs.usda.gov/nebraska

RIVERS Elk River National Recreation Trail, KS
Stroll the north shore of Elk City Lake and then up the Elk River drainage on a 15-miler. You’ll burst uphill in the first 1.3 miles to gain the cliffy ridge overlooking the lake, before delving deep into a quiet cedar forest with hidden grottoes. americantrails.org

RIDGES
Rough Canyon Trail, OK
The San Bois Mountains were the hideout of 19th-century outlaw Jesse James. Hike to his refuge (a cave), then drop through Rough Canyon and rise onto the ridge overlooking Wayne Wallace and Carlton Lakes for an eight-mile out-and-back. stateparks.com/robbers_cave.html

DAYHIKES | WEEKEND | MULTIDAY

GRASSLANDS Indian Creek, SD 
Roam a trailless, 48,000-acre prairie where bison and pronghorn feed in Buffalo Gap National Grassland. Hike roughly five miles to the top of 3,143-foot Sheep Mountain Table for end-of-the-earth views. It’s a good spot to survey a campsite, too. fs.fed.us/grasslands/

RIVERS Backpack Trail, IA
Notable for its wrinkled topography in a region better known for flat terrain, the Driftless Area has tight, deep, trout-stocked river valleys. Take the 25-mile Backpack Trail to visit bluffs, Big and Little Paint Creeks, and a bass-filled marsh. Camp in Brown’s Hollow. iowadnr.gov

RIDGES
Buckeye-Caney Loop, AR
This 9.4-mile tour visits “the most rugged area in Arkansas’s Ouachita Mountain range,” says Tom Trigg (above). After several creek crossings, you’ll ascend 2,254-foot Buckeye Mountain before dropping back into a hidden valley with multiple waterfalls. fs.fed.us/oonf

DAYHIKESWEEKEND | MULTIDAY

GRASSLANDS Maah Daah Hey Trail II, ND
Tackle the new 40-mile extension to the 96-mile Maah Daah Hey Trail through Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It connects Sully Creek State Park to Burning Coal Vein Campground, traversing grassy badlands home to coyotes and mule deer. nps.gov/thro

RIVERS Buffalo River/Old River Trails, AR
Link these two trails to create a 16-mile loop with limestone palisades and more than a dozen river crossings in the Ponca Wilderness. At mile 13.5, spot 209-foot Hemmed-in-Hollow Falls, the tallest between the Rockies and Appalachians. nps.gov/buff

RIDGES
Centennial Trail, SD
The 111-mile Trail No. 89—named for the state’s centennial statehood party in 1989—climbs from Bear Butte State Park into the Black Hills high country, skirting lakes and trout streams before ending in the winding canyons of Wind Cave National Park. nps.gov/wica  

THE EXPERTS

Tom Trigg, 55, lives 35 miles from Caney Creek Wilderness Area in Arkansas. “After sustained rains, waterfalls appear everywhere.” Nebraskan Tom Scheimo, 48, loves the panhandle’s Pine Ridge County. “The alpine quality of the hills here is amazing.”




Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Matt Davis
Jan 27, 2011

Oops...The Maah Daah Hey II doesn't go through Teddy Roosevelt NP, but instead through the Little Missouri National Grasslands.

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Trailhead Register
Hurray for Curry! Ingredient helps to block colon
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: JimInMD
Gear
Hiking on rocks
Posted On: Aug 28, 2014
Submitted By: Walkinman
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions