Hand County High Point Trip Report

USGS BM Rocky (2,197 ft)

Date: May 4, 2003
Author: Dan Nielsen

This was my 100th county highpoint and first virgin county highpoint. Bring a compass.

From the intersection of highways 47 and 14 in Highmore, travel east 11.9 on highway 14 to North Dakota Avenue. Zero your odometer and turn right towards Rae Heights. At one mile turn right on West Third Street and follow it as it turns to the south. At 8.5 miles turn right (west) on 20.5 street. Zero again and take this nice dirt road past many ranch entrances. Go straight at 1.2 and 1.3, then turn right at 3.8 miles. Continue straight at 5.5 miles. At 5.8 miles, just as the next farmhouse comes into view, also this road's most southerly point, stop and park along the road. You may want to pay a visit to the house but no one was there on this day. The road does continue on past their house but looks to be under a regrowth/reclamation project.

From the 5.8 mile spot, hop the fence at the dark wooden H posts and the highpoint is 1.9 miles directly north from here. True north is 10 degrees left of magnetic north in central South Dakota so take this into consideration when using your compass. Your north bearing will take you over a fence at 0.3 mile and onto a short double-track through an old 15-foot wooden gate at half a mile. Over hill and dale and another fence at 1.6 mile and your final grind up Rocky. Two BM disks can be found at the summit along with a rock ring which now contains a Nalgene bottle register. There probably is a fine view from here but my trip was done in dark misting low clouds, distant thunder, and fast approaching darkness. The 3.8-mile round trip with about 400 feet of vertical gain took a little over an hour with some jogging. There are other possibly shorter routes using other ranch roads but this seemed easiest on the car and the orienteering was simple. Although I only used a map and compass, the summit GPS coordinates are (44° 24.205' N, 99° 16.510' W).