Buzzard’s Roost … Small Trail System with Huge Views
I really looked forward to riding Buzzard’s Roost. The area was on everyone’s list. I knew I would not be doing a lot of miles but the views were supposed to be incredible. I was also excited about riding with the T Man (or the Surlytman, or just Trent). This guy adopted me as his new best friend. To learn more about how I met T Man (or the Surlytman, or just Trent) click here.
We met at Black Hills Bicycles, but couldn’t carpool as neither of us had a vehicle or rack to haul two bikes. This was not a problem as the Buzzard’s Roost trailhead was only ten minutes up Highway 44. Trent apologized for the “long” drive which was unnecessary (in Southern California I often drive 2-3 hours for a new ride).
- Below you will find a map for Buzzard’s Roost.
- Click the green or red balloons for driving directions to the trailheads.
- Click Tracks or Icons for Specific Info
When we arrived at the Buzzard’s Roost trailhead the sky was a dripping gray blanket. Trent warned me he was going to take it easy due to his lack of fitness, allergy problems, and the roughness of the Buzzard’s Roost trails. I felt relieved, for I was a little bushed from riding over 85 miles the previous three days. And, I too had been suffering from allergies.
By the time we got out riding the trails were not only rocky … but slick! We started up the main road but soon branched to the left onto a skinny rock garden. As I followed Trent on a trail circling the east side of the mountain I couldn’t help but notice how many times his rear tire slid sideways off a rock. I had been riding on limestone the previous three days (especially on the Bone Collector Trail) and had found the rock quite sticky (like the granite in Southern California). However, unlike granite, when limestone gets wet it gets real slippery. I rode very gingerly, not making any abrupt turns.
Then Trent made a statement which I have voiced many times about the trails I ride, saying, “Every time I ride these trails they seem to get rockier.” Of the six Black Hills rides I took I am pretty sure the Buzzard’s Roost trails contained the most rock.
He went on to explain an idea I have heard from many old motorcycle riders who have become mountain bikers, saying something like, “Many of today’s best mountain bike trails used to be motocross tracks when I was a kid.” He also stated he had been involved with building the original Buzzard’s Roost trails and used to know his way around quite well. He told me he had not biked Buzzard’s Roost in quite a while so he would just be feeling his way along.
Trent works as a dispatcher at a local cement plant. Several times he received calls from his truckers needing information. He chose to ignore the ringing several times but eventually had to answer.
I really enjoyed all the information Trent shared while we were riding. He had lived his whole life in the area so he knew all about the history and geography of the Black Hills. For instance, he told me the Black Hills used to be higher than the Rocky Mountains.
When we got to the edge the depth of the canyon was breathtaking. The air was full of moisture yet Trent said some of the landmarks we could see were twenty to thirty miles from Buzzard’s Roost.
He pointed out Rapid Creek, visible in a couple of spots several hundred feet below. Trent also shared various other landmarks … like the Victoria Lake area (across the canyon) where I had biked earlier in the week. He pointed out a friend’s house at the very bottom of the ravine and informed me of several huge floods which had washed out large segments of civilization farther downstream. He singled out the mountain he lived on when a kid, and a prime rock climbing area.
I learned about the logging industry … how most of the downed trees I had witnessed on my trip were cut due to the bark beetle. He said these trees had to be used sooner than the healthy lumber for they would decay quicker. He also informed me of the decline of the logging industry … how years ago the area had eight or nine saw mills but now only a couple.
After leaving the canyon rim we rode across the top of a mountain, took the westernmost trail which wrapped clockwise around a cool rock formation, hit the main road, and then coasted back down to the car.
I loved our ride. No one was out to set any personal records, just a time to enjoy each others company and to share ideas.
I have mentioned many things Trent shared with me on our Buzzard’s Roost ride, but I don’t think I have come close to telling you all of them.
My other rides in the Black Hills are listed below: