Route: Centennial Trail (SD)

South Dakota, US
125 mi
Vertical Gain
20,000 ft

This trail was built in 1989 to mark the 100th anniversary of South Dakota’s statehood.  It is an approximately 125-mile trail that will take you through prairies and mountainous areas.  The trail begins at Bear Butte State Park, travels through the Fort Mead Recreation Area, Black Hills National Forest, Custer State Park and ends in Wind Cave National Park.


2007: Thru hiker than completed the distance over 5 1/2 days
2014: Thru hiker in 4 3/4 days

GPS Track


I will be attempting this starting super early Friday, June 22nd and hope to conclude Saturday night. I will be going southbound.

Any news on what happened with the attempt? 

I had to stop around mile 80 with some medical issues. I plan to attempt again this year. 

Ajay Pickett, Rory Anderson, and Matt Rose will be attempting the Unsupported FKT on the Centennial Trail headed NOBO starting late on Wednesday, May 21st.  We will each be carrying our own gear, food, and tracking our individual routes.  Per the FKT rules, we will all travel and finish together.  We will be using a Garmin Mini for live tracking (will post this link shortly) as well as various wrist-based GPS devices.

Since the Black Hills race got cancelled, I decided to fastpack the Centennial Trail instead. I will start tomorrow morning 6/26 NOBO unsupported from Wind Cave. Not sure how long it will take as I've never really tried this before, but I've only got 4 days off, so hopefully less than that. I'm going to call it a FFT (Fastest Fun Time) attempt as I don't really have goals other than to enjoy the trail. I will be recording with my Garmin watch and Inreach. Update in a few days if I make it past French Creek which is flooding today. 

Well, it wasn't always fun, but overall a great trip. I started at 6:01 am on 6/26 and finished at 1:55 pm on 6/29, so 3 days 7 hours 54 mins. I did have to leave the trail a couple of times. Once to go around the bison herd to get into CSP, which added a bit of distance and once I cut a corner of the trail just before Bear Butte Lake because the cows wouldn't get off the trail and I didn't want to herd them for the next mile.

The trail is pretty well marked, but is pretty overgrown in a few sections with some major poison ivy patches. Temps up into the 90s on a few days made for some rough conditions. Somebody get out there and break 3 days!

 I will be attempting the supported FKT on the Centennial trail heading from south to north starting on July 23rd. I will be recording with Coros watch synced to Strava and my family will crew. May or may not use a pacer, depends if any show up. Planning to move during the day and sleep at night, not going in 1 push.

Stopped day 1 at Legion Lake trailhead. Hot. Turns out the Black Elk Wilderness section was closed anyways from a small fire going. I did 2 other sections while out there but did not complete the whole trail. Good luck to the next and I feel it is easily achievable for a front of pack runner to do supported in 24-30 hours. Water sources are scarce in parts. Trail was marked good, just watch out for the buffalo in the southern 2 sections, had to do plenty of off course to avoid them.

Started 4:00 am 8/14/20 

Finished 2:22pm 8/16/20

58 hrs-22 min

Need to do trip report.  I will have video on YouTube.  

Starting 8/12, I’m going to attempt the unsupported FKT northbound. I will be tracking using a Garmin inReach Mini. 

I am starting around 5 AM.

Myself and Mt hiking partner will be attempting the FKT unsupported starting tomorrow 8/18/20.

I'll be using a Garmin fenix 6 to record us 

Dad and Radar

Just finished. Radar and I completed the SD CT in 54h 34m. Started 8/18 4:55am, ended 8/20 11:29am.

I'll submit all the things after a nap. We did 52 miles day one, and 75 miles day two over 30 straight hours of hiking.

I'll be attempting the self self supported FKT starting around 4 am Saturday September 5th. I'll post a like to live track

Hard to not waste time watching the elk call their lady friends.   What a great weather weekend.   
I will be submitting this ASAP.

Didn't quite make it. Lots of first time FKT mistakes! But a good learning experience. 

Looks like Lance just finished and I think that means he GOT IT!! It was fun having him out on the trail and seeing him do his thing. 

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I'm a wimp and had to wait until the poison ivy and heat backed off a bit.  Looks like I'm good to go on the poison ivy, but maybe not so much the heat this weekend... it's now or never though!  Giving a (very) supported northbound effort tomorrow, 6-7am ish start.  I'll have my best guy get the Spot link up and running (see, already supported ha!) and post it below.


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Tomorrow morning I will be attempting the FKT of the Centennial trail from South to North unsupported. I will be starting around 7am and it is suppose to be a little windy and cold in the evening so will see how this goes. You can follow along here

I called it quits last night around 9pm and made it 50ish miles. This was kind of a last minute decision and the window of opportunity to attempt something like this was dwindling getting so close to full winter. I had clear tails and 40s at the start and then quickly turned into a full white out for a few hours. Most of the trail had ankle deep snow and extremely high wind gust. This was suck a great experience and will be back next spring/summer. 

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Quote from the US Forest Service:

"For public safety due to equipment, blasting and other construction operations, a small portion of the Centennial Trail is closed during the Sheridan Lake Road reconstruction project ( The closure is effective through November 30, 2021.

Because the Centennial Trail is a destination for trail enthusiasts, the locations of the closures were identified to best allow vehicle access for drop off and pick up of trail users, as well as provide continual access to the Flume Trail.

The map below displays the closure area. Maps are also posted on the ground at trailheads and at the closure locations."


I'll be trying this tomorrow, 4/30/21, starting at approx 8am, southbound, unsupported.

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Plan on going for the unsupported fkt starting this Sunday, 10/10/21

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I will be attempting the women’s unsupported FKT going NoBo, starting on either 9/15 or 9/16/22. I will be using my Garmin InReach Mini for tracking. 

I caught COVID, so I am just now about to start my womens unsupported FKT. Wish me luck my lungs and muscles hold out! 

I am committed to an Unsupported Out & Back next week, either 7 or 8 May 2024.  Starting South, Wind Cave to Bear Butte and back.