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12620 Hwy 244,
Hill City, SD 57745
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South Dakota Fun Activities

Horseback Riding

If you’re going to ride a horse in the Black Hills, you may as well ride in the best part.
Palmer Gulch Stables is one of only two barns that hold a permit with the U.S. Forest Service to guide rides into the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve and the Black Elk Wilderness Area.

south dakota horseback riding to-do vacations
south dakota horseback riding to-do vacations
south dakota horseback riding to-do vacations
south dakota horseback riding to-do vacations


1 hour 10 minutes
Winding through ponderosa pines and stands of paper birch, the 4 mile long Buckaroo trail is our most popular ride. Easy to moderate in difficulty, advanced riders will enjoy the views and greenhorns will be able to relax and stop choking the horn.
$30 Adults $25 children (6 to 12 years)
240lb weight limit


1 hour 20 minutes
The Willow Creek Trail is mountainous, with switchbacks through giant granite rock formations, creek crossings, and old growth timber.  Riding into the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, it becomes obvious why the United States Congress protected this area  back in 1920.
$40 Adults $35 children (6 to 12 years)
240 lb weight limit


1 hour 30 minutes
The Elkhorn Trail was built in 2008 in a joint effort by Palmer Gulch Stables and the U.S. Forest Service.  This new trail allows riders a different perspective of the surrounding forest.   The topography is less rugged than the Willow Creek Trail so the horses can get a wiggle on, covering more country in less time.  Higher in elevation the forest is much more open, with grassy high country meadows and fantastic views of Harney Peak and the Elk Horn Ridge.
Adults $40  Children (6 to 12 years) $35
240lb weight limit


Adults only (13 years old and up)
2 hour 15 minutes
The Interpretive Ride is an exclusive option for the adult rider wanting something more.  This trail ride casually winds through the Norbeck Wildlife Preserve, stopping at points of interest for discussion of local history, wildlife, management of the preserve,  and other topics of interest.
“There is a tremendous amount of fascinating local history to learn about if you are interested”
“If I were to visit New York City, I would want my tour guide to be  a New Yorker, a guy that lived and worked in the heart of the city.  If I visit the Black Hills of western South Dakota, I want my horse back tour guide to be a born and raised South Dakota Wrangler.”
An interpretive guide builds bridges between landscapes, people, and history; reveals stories behind the scenery; and creates memorable and inspiring experiences.  Connecting you and the Black Hills national Forest”
Adults only (13 years or older) $75
Minimum of three riders   240lb weight limit


This popular 3 hour ride gives you a chance to split off the Willow Creek Trail and ride up the mountain into the Black Elk Wilderness Area.
This remote 13,000 acre wilderness area is completely road less, and access is allowed by horseback or foot traffic only.  Riders will have an opportunity to dismount and hike up to the Split Rock formation.
This trail is moderate in difficulty, no children under 13 years old.
$80 per rider (200 pound weight limit for this ride)


Also in the Black Elk  Wilderness Area this gritty  4 ½ hour ride takes you up, up, and up a steep mountain trail to a beautiful lookout area called the “Upper Bench”; just below Harney Peak at over 7000 ft elevation, this is the highest trail ride in the Black Hills!  Here you will take a short break to enjoy the breathtaking view, and take your pictures before you have to brisk up, and take the long winding trail back to the valley.
Moderate to advanced in difficulty, no children under 13 years old.
 $100 per rider – must be in moderately good physical condition (200 pound weight limit for this ride)



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