Shannon County High Point Trip Report

Date: November 23, 2001
Author: Dawn Howard and John Mitchler

This grassy hill demands a 78 foot climb, after traveling 4 miles on a dirt county road. It is set in rolling hills in southwest South Dakota and is characterized by grassland, with pines in the gullies.

From the intersection of SD407 and US18 in Pine Ridge (a seemingly poor reservation town with full services), go 4.0 miles west on US18 to a graded hard dirt road on your right. There is a cemetery on either side of this road, and across the highway too. Follow this dirt road as it ascends to the highpoint, passing a cattle guard at 0.7 mile. At 4.1 miles, look to your right (south) and notice the highpoint hill. At 4.2 miles, look to your right and notice another dirt road going off to the south. Park here.

The highpoint hill is back behind you a bit, and is an easy hike. It is grass-covered and has an obvious BM "Bell 1934" set on a 6-inch cement post. This is a good county to practice long distance hand leveling and back-sighting.

The BM is definitely higher than the other 5 areas, with the northernmost area being the closest in height. The other areas are easily accessed by the dirt road system. It is here that we suggest another approach to hand leveling. When you sight to the top of another hill, set your cross-hair on the top of the hill. If the bubble is lower than the cross-hair, then you are higher. This is a good technique if you find it difficult to level the bubble on the cross-hair. Instead, level the cross-hair on the distant hill top.

In the area: The HP of Badlands NP is 40 miles north. But the real attraction is Wounded Knee National Historic Site, located 20 miles east and north (take US18 east from Pine Ridge and after 9 miles, watch for sign on left). There is a fire lookout on Porcupine Butte, located on BIA 27, 3 miles north of Wounded Knee.