Great Hikes: Hippie Hole, Keystone, South Dakota
In this edition of Great Hikes is a hidden gem named Hippie Hole near Keystone, South Dakota. We waited to hike this until our youngest was able to make the trek on her own. I wouldn't recommend small children for this trail that needs to be carried. You'll need every bit our your balance on the steep and rocky paths.
To find the south trail-head, head east on Reed Street near the train station in Keystone for 4 miles. You'll find an unmarked road on your left. You'll find a small clearing to park your vehicle. The trail is also unmarked but we were able to stay on the 1.5-mile path without any difficulty. The south trail which is currently rated as hard for difficulty, but many hikers believe it should be rated as difficult because of the steep and rocky decline. It will require good footwear with traction. After about 55 minutes we reached Hippie Hole.
It's an absolutely stunning picturesque mountain lake with a waterfall. We were the first ones to arrive and wading into the lake we realized that is one of the coldest lakes we were ever in - but so refreshing after the hike in. After a few more hikers arrived to climb the small cliffs on the side and jumped in. Our kids followed suit and we had an amazing time at Hippie Hole. There are ropes to pull yourself out of the water and onto some of the larger rocks.
We were there on a hot day that was 90 degrees and the wet clothes were a blessing on the way back. But remember, you'll need to hike the steep incline on the way back to the trail-head which was the most difficult part of the day. But with a few breathers on the way up to rest we reached the vehicle. The kids were already asking to return at some point on our trip.
There is also a north trail into Hippie Hole which is a little shorter distance but the rutty road going in, a high clearance 4-wheel drive is probably best.
Overall, my family rated it a 5-star hike. It's probably a trail that the locals would've liked to keep a secret because of its beauty and serenity. As with every trail, please make sure to pick up and repack any food wrappers and cans you may have. You'll need water and snacks - just don't leave a mess. We found a small water raft, a couple of shoes, a bathing suit top, and even underwear! Pack in, pack out to keep this pristine sliver of the Black Hills clean and enjoyable.
Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice, let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the fields exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy. ~ Psalms 96: 11-12