Participants in the scheduled Moon Walk event will walk a total of 3 miles roundtrip on a forest two track road along Cold Creek in an open meadow. This is an easy hike with little elevation gain.
Featured speaker, Amy Ballard, Recreation Forester and Moon Walk Coordinator from the Black Hills National Forest, will present information about the 1874 Custer Expedition.
Participants will hike through the Floral Valley which is the site of the July 25, 1874 Custer campsite. “Custer named this area Floral Valley on account of its profusion of wild flowers,” said Ballard. “With the large amounts of rain this year, participants should expect to see a similar site in this valley that the soldiers saw 141 years ago. The botanist on the Expedition counted 52 distinct varieties of flowers.”
“I will be using images and information from the book titled, Exploring with Custer The 1874 Black Hills Expedition by Paul Horsted and Ernest Grafe ( 2002, 2005, Golden Valley Press) throughout my presentation.”
To reach the Moon Walk site, travel west of Hill City, SD on the Deerfield Road or FSR 17 for 17.8 miles to the intersection of West Deerfield Road or FSR110. Turn left and travel 11.7 miles west on West Deerfield Road to the intersection of FSR109. Continue on FSR 109 for 5.3 miles to the intersection of FSR 968. Please note you will cross into Wyoming on FSR 109 which is then called FSR 809 at the WY border. Turn right or east on FSR 968, Cold Creek Road, and travel for 1.5 miles to the parking area at the intersection of 109 and 109.1A. The parking area is on private land.
If traveling from the northern Hills, the shortest route is from Cheyenne Crossing. Travel south of Cheyenne Crossing for 18.2 miles on Highway 85. Turn east or left on FSR968 or Cold Creek Road and travel for .8 miles to where the road intersects FSR 809. Continue left on the FSR968 for 1.5 miles to the parking area at the intersection of 109 and 109.1A.
The drive from Rapid City should take approximately two hours. Signs will be placed at major intersections to guide visitors to the site. Visitors with mobility issues concerned about the length of the walk should ask the parking attendants for permission to drive to the presentation site.
Visitors should bring flashlights, water, and bug repellant and dress for unexpected weather. Long pants and sturdy footwear for hiking on uneven terrain (hiking boots or athletic shoes) are recommended for your comfort and safety.
The program may be cancelled unexpectedly for unforeseen reasons such as lightning, high fire danger forecasts and other reasons beyond control. The program will not be cancelled due to rain unless lightning is spotted.
For more information about the program and summer schedule go to www.fs.usda.gov/blackhills or call the Black Hills National Forest at 605-343-1567.