Hanson-Larsen Memorial Park (HLMP) is a non-profit, privately-operated park, near historic downtown Rapid City. HLMP is home to more than 34 miles of world-class recreational trails on 300 acres of challenging Black Hills terrain The park offers trails for hikers, bikers and runners of all skill levels, from gently-graded, wide singletrack, to rocky technical hills for more advanced challenge. The main trail head is right off of the Rapid Creek trail area in downtown Rapid City near Founder’s Park, and offers two different parking areas nearby.
The terrain at HLMP is typical of the area, in that it features numerous large rock outcroppings and thick growth of pine and other trees throughout the trails. The trail surface is mostly loose dirt and rocks, making for a fun and challenging ride. There are almost 20 marked trails in the park, 14 of which are marked as Intermediate and 4 of which are marked as Expert.
One of the best features of the park is the ability to ride up to the top of M hill, to the large concrete M commemorating South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. The M is 112.5-foot-tall by 67-foot-wide, and sits on top of one of the best views of Rapid City you can easily hike or ride to. Lit at night, the M can be seen from several miles away.
Several of the trails offer fairly steep terrain with climbs and switchbacks. But, there’s only about 1,000 feet of climbing on most of the trails and several feature fast, flowy downhill on the way back down. I rode Far West down and had a great ride down the 1.1 mile trail with several steeper (5%-15% grade) sections and frequent small boulders and drops to hop off of.
The trails were very well maintained, scenic, and nearly empty on my weekday afternoon visit. The local club that maintains the trails clearly has put their time in on some the interesting and well groomed features.