Winter hiking in the Black Hills; safety tips for a fun adventure

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 5:48 PM CST
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Hiking is a popular year-round activity in the Black Hills.

Even if you’ve hiked a trail before, winter conditions and an earlier sunset can make it seems like a different trail.

Daylight in the wintertime is limited to about 7 hours of sunlight compared to summer where you get 15 hours of light.

However, hiking in winter can be dangerous but there are safety tips you can follow.

“In the wintertime, the big differences between summer hiking and winter hiking obviously is the snow and cold. So, having good traction for your shoes, and also having appropriate layering and extra clothes in case it gets cold,” said Sam Smolnisky, Director of Custer County search and rescue.

However, even if you are prepped accidents can happen.

“If something goes wrong and you need help, please call early. Waiting until it gets really cold and really dark just makes it more difficult for the rescuers,” said Smolnisky.

Prepping for a hike isn’t limited to physical items, knowing the forecast, trail conditions, and telling someone where you’ll be is just as important.