Back to All Events

Backpack Camping Overnight in Black Elk Wilderness Area

Join your fellow outdoor women on a backpack camping trip in the Black Elk Wilderness in the Black Hills of South Dakota on May 19 and 20. Instructors Cindy Longmire and Luke Mickelson, both experienced hikers with SD Game Fish and Parks, will lead us on a hike through the Wilderness area. Participants will camp in the Wilderness area overnight and each participant will carry all the gear they need on their own back. The Game, Fish and Parks will provide 8 backpack kits for our use, which will contain the following items: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, stove and basic mess (silverware/plate) kit. Instructors will bring water filters and a first aid kit.

Time and Location: On May 19, we will meet the instructors at the Iron Creek Trailhead at 11 am Mountain Time. Instructors will then assist everyone with packing their backpacks. Vehicles will be left at the trailhead. Participants will carry their gear while hiking to the camping location. Breaks can be taken as needed along the trail. Participants should expect to return to their vehicles by 12 noon on Sunday the 20th.

Price: There is no cost for a Wilderness permit for camping or parking. Participants will pay only their food costs for backpack camping meals. The evening meals for Saturday and Sunday breakfast will be purchased in advance by the organizers and the meals will be lightweight and backpack friendly (freeze dried). Participants are encouraged to dress for May in the Black Hills which means dressing in layers and bringing extra dry socks. Wear sturdy hiking shoes. Participants should also bring a water bottle, flashlight and personal care items. There are no bathroom facilities in the wilderness, so be prepared! Pack a light weight set of rain gear and a stocking cap and gloves or mittens (just in case).

Register early: Because the GFP has 8 backpack kits for our use, class size will be limited. If you have your own backpack equipment, please let Julie know when you register for the class. It is important that you get your reservation and food reimbursement check in early, to reserve your spot in the class. Let Julie know if you have any diet restrictions or if you will need to bring your own food. A variety of meals will be provided but if you have a preference or food aversion/allergy, let Julie know when you register.

Restrictions: There is no age restriction, however everyone must be able to carry their own 20 lb pack. No minors can attend without a parent or guardian present. Participants must be able to carry their pack on their backs and to hike 5 miles over moderate to sometimes strenuous terrain. No open fires are allowed.

For a quick glimpse at the type of meals that might be available, check this website.

A map with directions to the trailhead and any follow-up information will be sent to each participant by email.

TO REGISTER: Send the registration form and $20 to Julie DeJong. All registrations must be in by May 4th. Questions can be sent to

Earlier Event: April 20
Annual Convention
Later Event: June 9
Kayaking the Niobrara