Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
As an active outdoorswoman with a family, there are certain live-ability qualities I look for in places (not that we’re looking to move). Aside from being able to get a good cup of coffee and a good beer, quick and easy access to recreational trails tops my list. So when we rolled into Rapid City, South Dakota and met with the nice people at the Parks and Recreation department, I was impressed to hear about their in-town trail building efforts.
Twenty miles of multi-use trails have been built on the hill right above town in what’s called the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park, and 10 more miles are currently being completed—refurbished older trails combined with new ones, with new parking lots and bathrooms for ease of access—at the Skyline Wilderness Park. Hikers, trail runners, mountain bikers and birders can pop right up the hill from downtown and hop on fun, swooping trails that make you feel like you’re deep in the wilderness, and then return to town within minutes.
And while I was checking out the Skyline trails, my husband and kids found the Legacy Commons playgrounds, which was completed in 2014 and proved to entertain the boys. The playgrounds are adjacent to the new Memorial Park Promenade, and an 8-mile, paved bike path alongside Rapid Creek.
After we explored trails, and playgrounds, we met up downtown for lunch at the Firehouse Brewing Company, checking one more thing off the live-ability checklist.