There was only one thing about Hell Canyon that could be considered hellish...the bugs! Mosquito's are becoming pesky due to the wet spring we've had and ticks are found in this canyon as well. We wore long pants and bug spray which definitely helped, but we're now on high alert for ticks every time we hike.
|Highway 14 curves gracefully through the Black Hills near Jewel Cave National Monument.|
Even 15 years post fire the trees have not returned on the south facing hillsides.
|We hiked near the rim of Hell Canyon admiring huge ledges of limestone jutting out of the barren hillsides, |
while below us in the canyon a lush forest promised cool shade.
|Hans blends into the scenery on this hike!|
|The trail took us right to the edge of precipitous limestone cliffs where we could see a vibrant green meadow below.|
|The cliffs and canyon were alternately drenched in bright sunlight or darkened with cloud cover,|
making photos a bit of a challenge.
|Soon the trail took us just below the limestone pillars.|
|A delicate bridge on the cliff wall below us.|
|Red sandstone joined the limestone as we hiked deeper into Hell Canyon.|
|Some of the canyon bottom was burnt, providing a view of our return trail far below.|
|Can you see Hans on the trail next to the red rock cliff?|
|This bright lily was impossible to miss amidst all the greens and browns!|
|Dropping into Hell Canyon we were immediately surrounded by lush forest.|
|Wild roses lined the trail for miles.|
|Small alcoves peeked out of the cliff faces here and there.|
|The meadows were beautiful but the grass was quite tall in places...this is probably where we encountered the ticks!|
|Surprisingly all creek beds were dry until about the last mile or so near the trail head.|
|A last look back into Hell Canyon.|
Despite the bugs, we'd hike Hell Canyon again, the beauty and variety win out over the pests any day!