Head for the Mountains … and be Back in Time for a Nap

Head for the Mountains … and be Back in Time for a Nap

Living in the Black Hills means that you have pretty easy access to some beautiful mountains, but when there’s actually one in the middle of town, well, all the more better.

Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park – better known to locals as M Hill or Cowboy Hill – sits pretty squarely in the middle of Rapid City. Edna Marie “Eddie” Larsen, a rancher and Rapid City resident, decided before her death in 2004 to honor her parents by establishing a trust to build a park. So, the Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park Foundation built more than 12 miles of mountain biking, hiking and running trails on 300 acres, smack in the middle of town.

M Hill’s website describes the trails as “world class.” I’ve no idea what qualifies for that status, but I can tell you this mountain is something to behold. If it weren’t for the very distant din of traffic, you’d swear you were miles from any kind of civilization. M Hills gives hikers, bikers and runners the rare opportunity to hoof it to the top of a mountain, which can, incidentally, be done over a lunch hour, to enjoy panoramic views not only of the city but of the entire Black Hills.

Upon occasion, my friend Sarah and I will have what we lovingly refer to as “Hippie Day.” Typically done on a Saturday, Hippie Day usually involves yoga at the Weight Room, coffee at Bully Blends or possibly brunch at Tally’s, a trip to the farmers market, and of course, an M Hill hike. Mostly, the day is a chance for us corporate desk jockeys to feel a little more connected to the real world. And having a mountain in the middle of town allows us to do all this and still get home in time for an afternoon nap.

Ah, the benefits of country living from the comfort of the heart of the city.

If you go:

Directions to Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park from Interstate I-90:

Exit 57 merges to I-190 S/US-16W (Mount Rushmore Road) 1.8 miles south

West on Omaha 2 blocks, 0.2 miles

Right on 12th Street, 0.2 miles, cross Rapid Creek to Founders Park Drive (next to Executive Golf Course)

Look for trail head on your left (about 2 blocks past bridge)

About Author

Hillary Dobbs-Davis

Hillary Dobbs-Davis has spent about 93 percent of her life living in South Dakota. She's lived two decades in what native South Dakotans call "West River," and one decade "East River." In her real job, she works in PR and marketing for a local energy company. In her off time, she's out taking advantage of all West River has to offer, including kayaking, biking, hiking, camping and snowshoeing with her intrepid Westie, Miles. She and her husband, Lenn, live in Rapid City.


  1. Ruth
    Ruth 29 September, 2011, 16:59


    Reply this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Reply