Dugout Gulch Botanical Trailhead (Trail #77), South Dakota Hiking Trails Info, Map & More

Dugout Gulch Botanical Trailhead (Trail #77), South Dakota Hiking Trail Information

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Dugout Gulch Botanical Trailhead (Trail #77)

The Dugout Gulch Botanical Trail is a 2.3 mile trail plus a 4.4 mile loop trail.

Far from the boreal (northern) forest of the upper Great Lakes region and Canada, is a small unique community know as Dugout Gulch Botanical Area. Relic boreal plants find refuge in the moist, cool gulches. These survivors are referred to as boreal disjuncts.

The boreal forests of Canada once extended as far south as Nebraska. With their retreat at the end of the Ice Age, boreal plants gave way to species adapted to periods of drought and heat. Only where life sustaining moisture averages about 24 inches per year and temperatures remain relatively cool, can these survivors be found.

Sheltered under the cool, green branches of paper birch, ironwood and hazelnut trees, you may find the Rattlesnake Fern, Common Solomon's Seal, Canadian Enchanter's Nightshade, and the Oval-leaved Milkweed. Also lingering in this area are several sedges – Meadow Sedge, Fox-tail Sedge and Rosy Sedge.

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