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off road driving
1 day ago

Difficult for a stock jeep. There are really only 2 difficult sections though with lost of smooth areas in between. Description says hardcore, but that's getting quite carried away. Did this trail on a unlocked tj on 29" tires. Wasn't easy, but made it fun. Also have done it locked on 42s and I blasted right through it.

What a great trail! Great views!

After the long walk, you’ll get to some signs and that’s when the real hike begins- so much fun!

I’ve done this hike multiple times and the last two times I’ve thought as I walked all the way back to my car how boring this trail is.

Besides the boulder scrambling portion & waterfall, this hike really sucks and is boring. It’s definitely a full body workout when you’re scrambling up the rocks but that portion is just too far and too boring to get to. Maybe I’ve been here too many times

Really fun trail. Lots of rocks and boulder so I highly recommend boots and some good socks. Not heavily traffic cause it is a lil tough. Recommend starting early too.

Lots of scrambling and light bouldering to make your way up. No water in the creeks or waterfall right now but still a fun experience! Will be back.

It’s great view at the entry . We were there in the early morning. It is very refreshing. Unfortunately, the waterfall is not running.

13 days ago

Review is for Black Star FALLS trail- starting at the sign (not the canyon’s fire road). As others stated, be prepared for boulders and rocks for a majority of the hike. I hike every weekend and found this trail to be very challenging simply due to climbing over rocks, trying to not fall in water and avoiding poison oak all around. I’m short which required me to use a lot of balance and upper body strength to get up and over the boulders. There were younger hikers who found this hike to be moderate (but definitely not concerned about how much it would suck if they scraped a leg or twisted an ankle which could EASILY happen and did happen to people I saw on the trail. Lots of scrapes and bruises.).

As for attire, I wore trail runners which worked fine. Hiking boots would have been best for ankle support and stability over the rocks. Wear long pants since there’s poison oak everywhere, especially at ankle height. Wear shoes with good traction since it is muddy and very slippery. Luckily, my leggings didn’t tear but I would’ve been better off with jeans or thicker pants (When you’re short, you end up boosting and sliding over boulders since you don’t have height to step up. I was paranoid all the rock sliding was going to tear a hole in the seat of my pants.)

The scenery is ok and is best in early spring after HEAVY rainfall. I did this hike once in late spring and it was miserably hot and dry with no water. It’s too bad there is so much trash and graffiti. Hence, the lower rating. (Spotted 3 different undies; smh)

Watch for the orange ties in the trees and blue arrows on rocks to guide the way. When you get half way up and spot a small sign covered in graffiti next to a rusted bike, the trail comes to a Y, turn left and follow the creek bed. Going straight will lead you to a disappointing dead end.

Hi all! I hiked through mud, bouldered the amazing rocks to the dry waterfall round trip in roughly 4.5 hours. Unfortunately, the waterfall is currently dry despite the recent rain. It will take a LOT more rain in order for this waterfall to come back.

14 days ago

We go hiking every weekend and have done a lot of trails, this trail by far is my favorite. First couple of miles is really easy road, and trail then you hit the trailhead and the fun begins. It’s a challenge a lot of rock climbing and maneuvering your way through massive boulders but it’s totally worth it. We will definitely do this one again.

This was one of the most difficult hikes I’ve taken in a long time. Most of the hike you walk up a muddy path (2 miles) until you reach the Black Star Falls Trail sign. From there, it’s straight bouldering! Intense rock climbing experience, you definitely need to be a bit flexible for this one. When we got to the top of the falls, there was no water, but it was still amazing. Happy to say I conquered it!

Best trail in SD by far :) definitely a hidden gem

21 days ago

Short loop. from the top you can blaze your own trail to the top of the mountain if you like a challenge.

Scary but so worth it.

This is a 5 star hike if you go after a recent storm. However, overall I have to give it a strong 4 star rating since the beginning of the hike is not that special and if you go during drier conditions it is not as enjoyable.

Parking- a road leads to the gate for the trailhead...if you get there early and are able to park near the gate make sure you are parking on the right side of the road as you approach the gate...on the left side for no apparent reason is a no-parking zone for about the 1st 100 ft or so and one time after returning from our hike we returned to see an officer writing tickets for about 10 cars or so...parking is allowed on both sides of the road beyond the first 100 ft closest to the gate *parking is free and no Adventure Pass is needed

Trail- the first 3/4 of a mile is a flat paved fire road; you will then turn right and walk for maybe 1 1/2 miles on a dirt path with private property on both sides and you can see and hear the creek running not too far away from where the path; after an easy 2-2.5 mile stroll you reach a sign "Black Star Canyon Falls" and the real fun begins and the hike gets much harder from this point on; you go down toward the creek and head left and follow the creek for about a little over a mile until you reach the falls; after a recent storm there will be many water crossings and you will definitely get your feet wet...also, as you get closer to the falls the rocks in the creek that you have to step on to cross the creek become boulders and the path becomes less obvious and you have to pick the route that you feel most comfortable to continue on but don't give up it will be worth it when you reach the falls; RT for the hike is about 7 miles from the parking lot to the falls and back

*if you go during a wetter time make sure to start your hike between 6-8 am since this place can get really busy when the waterfall is really flowing

Very fun hike! Be prepared to be scrambling up and down some boulders for a huge chunk of the hike. I saw people of all ages successfully tackling this hike, so at long as you are up for a small challenge and are moderately fit you will be fine!

on Ortega Falls

rock climbing
26 days ago

Great for rock climbing.

Awesome near dusk. Lots of deer and great for all ages of our kiddos .

Construction on road
No parking at trail head

28 days ago

Beautiful, slightly out-of this-world trail for experienced risk takers. Three very sketchy places where “horizontal” part is 1-2” wide and made of loose sand. Cling to the wall with your belly but don’t grab what appears to be a good hold too hard – you may end up with a detached piece of sandstone in your hand. Prayers won’t help traction – wear good shoes. Although locals claim that doing it barefoot is the best (not for me). Don’t start the 1st narrow part (either way you go) if not sure, you may find yourself in an impossible situation. Consider yourself warned.

Went to the falls. They are dry right now, but it was still a fun hike with bouldering. Lot's of rocks, big rocks. you must be able to climb up, over and down various sizes of boulders. I had a blast.

I’ve done this hike 4 times.. I love it every time. Best time to go is during the rain, or right after for the best flowing waterfalls .I love a good challenge & this one does it most by far. Lots of boulders make it great if you like to climb. I would say this is an all over workout hike. Best time to go I’d say 6am. Avoid the toll road if you can.

Free parking. You walk on asphalt for a while, before actually getting on a trail. We decided to go up Black Star. The way up is nice. Some climbing. No running water. Tiny stream-about 11 inches long. Going back was slippery. Total time 3 hours 1 min at a moderate pace. Will do again!!!! Not hard, between easy and moderate.

Hands down one of my favorites so far! A much more difficult hike than I’m used to but it was very much enjoyed. Hiking shoes, highly recommend!

I took my 5 kids ages 14,12,12,12,&7. They are great hikers who don’t tire easily. This hike wiped us out! It starts off easy but the last mile is all rock climbing. It was very fun but exhausting. The trail says “dog friendly” but I question if a dog could make it the entire way do to all the rock climbing. There is tons of graffiti, so much so we missed the sign that pointed to the direction we were to go in. At the rusty bike in the tree go left (we went right and had to backtrack about half a mile). The waterfall was dry but someone left some ropes making it fun to explore the cave and rock climb. Next time I go it’ll be after a good heavy rain to ensure the waterfall is flowing.

This hike is fun. It’s a lot of bouldering, so I suggest using a backpack and having a hydration pack to drink water instead of a water bottle because you’re going to need your hands to climb over large rocks. The trail is nicely shaded all the way except in the beginning where you have to hike in. The down side is that all the water is gone! You also can’t climb into the cave at the end of the hike like you used to. There’s a ton of bees flying around. I think there is a bee hive inside the cave.

1 month ago

Short, but sweet. Came early and parked in the first lot to the right. Free parking. Ton of people walking/hiking with their dogs. The trail is off to the right, but if you miss it and keep going straight there is a map and it’ll direct you back. There is one entrance into the cave, but three exit points! Pretty cool.

There is no water right now. The trail has been marked with orange tape tied to trees, so it is a little better marked. It is extremely rocky, difficult picking at times, but pretty short. It is so sad to see all the large tagging on the rocks. It definitely detracts from the beauty of the area.

An awesome Hiking experience.

1 month ago

For locals only unless you are experienced! The path is eroding away, so hike at own risk! Have fun though!!

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