U.S. Forest Service officials are considering a proposal to turn a little-known hiking trail in the Black Hills National Forest into a recognized attraction. Northern Hills District Ranger Steve Kozel is looking into the project to make Devil’s Bathtub a designated hiking trail.
Devil’s Bathtub’s unofficial trailhead is about 8 miles south of Spearfish along the Spearfish Canyon Scenic Byway. The route has become more popular in recent years after being shared on websites, social media and smartphone apps. The trailhead is on state-owned public land, while the rest of the hike and the Devil’s Bathtub itself are on public land owned by the U.S. Forest Service. The federal agency is considering designating its portion of the hiking route, as federal, state and local officials discuss issues with the trailhead. John Kanta of the state Department of Game, Fish and Parks said the state is delaying a decision until after the Forest Service decides whether it’ll designate a trail on federal land. Kozel said the agency hopes to make the decision this fall. Work to designate the trail could start next spring or summer.