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Hiking

Hiking at Great Bear Ski Valley

HOURS OF OPERATION
Everyday 8am – Dusk

The dramatic hills at Great Bear, comprised of sand and gravel and held in place by a thin layer of topsoil, feature picturesque nature walks and backcountry hiking experiences.

This 220-acre park is the largest in the Sioux Falls Park and Recreation Department and is a wonderful example of the glacial deposit areas common to this region. 

The Ralph and Doris Wallin Nature Trail winds through the hills and valleys of the park, offering hikers spectacular views of Sioux Falls as well as secluded Burr Oak canopied creek bottoms. This 4-mile (6-kilometer) trail system has 3 distinct loops ranging from an ADA-rated hard-surfaced trail for those seeking a leisurely stroll through the park to the more demanding primitive deer trails for those wishing for a more backcountry experience.

There are no fees associated with hiking at Great Bear! 

Remember, Great Bear Ski Valley has a fragile ecological system. Please, take only pictures and leave only footprints! Pets are welcome but must be on a leash at all times

ADDRESS
Great Bear Ski Valley
5901 E Rice St
Sioux Falls, SD 57110

5 Tips for a Great Day Outdoors!

1. PACE YOURSELF

Choose a trail and pace that is comfortable for your fitness level. Walking and hiking are ideal ways to get and stay in shape, but overdoing it can be risky. Great Bear offers a variety of paths and trails to suit almost everyone.

2. STAY HYDRATED

It’s always a good idea to bring plenty of liquids to ensure your body stays hydrated. Water or sports drinks are the ideal ways to keep your body working at peak performance. There is no access to water at the park.

3. PACK A SNACK

A quick snack is a great way to keep your energy level up when walking. Health bars or granola provides a quick and healthy energy burst. Better yet, bring a picnic and make a day of it. There are concessions open to the public at Great Bear in the summer.

4. LEAVE ONLY FOOTPRINTS

Please be sure to clean up after yourself and your pets. After all, nothing ruins the beauty of nature more than litter. 

5. HAVE FUN!

Bring a camera to capture the flora and fauna on and off the trails. 

WARM WEATHER ACTIVITIES

GREAT BEAR SKI VALLEY WARM WEATHER ACTIVITIES INCLUDE:

4 miles of hiking trails

Varied terrain for different skill levels

Amazing scenic overlook

32 miles of visibility on a clear day from Overlook Trail

Beautiful natural vistas

Ideal picnicking spots

Great on-leash dog walking areas

Close to the city convenience

Picture perfect settings

With wooden bridges crossing creeks and ponds throughout 220 acres

YOUR GUIDE TO OUTDOOR FUN

Great Bear Recreation Park offers a 4-mile (6-kilometer) trail system just waiting to be discovered. Our park, just minutes from the city, features the Ralph and Doris Wallin Nature Trail which winds through hills and valleys. Check out Great Bear’s summer trail map that will make planning a great day outdoors as easy as a walk in the woods.

Cross Country

Explore the quiet beauty of Great Bear Ski Valley on our 4-mile trail system of groomed, cross-country trails.

Cross-country ski rentals $29

There is no fee to access the trails.

As one of the top Nordic sports, cross-country skiing involves the navigation of snow-covered terrain, most of which relies solely on your body’s own strength and stride rather than the gravity used when going downhill. For this reason, as well as others, cross-country skiing can be an excellent form of physical fitness.

Benefits of Cross-Country Skiing

  • You get a full-body workout
  • Burn lots of calories
  • Improves cardiovascular health
  • Higher level of physical fitness
  • Promotes social engagement
  • Relieves stress
  • Improves endurance
  • Excellent form of cross-training
  • Connects you with nature

Trail maps are available at Guest Services. Snowshoes are also allowed on the trails, although Great Bear does not have snowshoe rentals. Great Bear does not make snow on the cross-country trails and there are no lights for nighttime use.