Big Tree Robbers Roost Draw
The trailhead for the Big Tree Robbers Roost Draw is located three miles east of the Blue Bell Stables on CSP Rd #4 at the Centennial Trail French Creek Trailhead. The trail is 15.5 miles long and is a nice loop trail through Custer State Park, rated as moderately strenuous.
You’ll be traveling over all kinds of terrain on this loop, including the western areas of the rolling grass prairie near the Wildlife Loop and up and down dry stream beds. You’ll have an opportunity to see and photograph the second-largest ponderosa pine in the United States on this route.
The trail starts out on the Centennial Trail through Horse Camp, crossing French Creek once. Just before the second crossing of the creek, the trail turns left and heads up and over a steep hill. Descend the hill and the trail will parallel the Wildlife Loop for about two miles.
The trail will take a fairly sharp left and head up a dry streambed. About a quarter-mile up the stream bed, you’ll find the large ponderosa pine. Stop long enough to take a photo and have some water and then continue up to the top of the ridge.
This section of the trail is pretty steep and rocky. Follow the ridge until the trail takes a left and follow it down into the Robbers Roost Draw. From here the trail will meet up with CSP Road #3 until it meets up with CSP Road #4, which will return you to the French Creek Trailhead where you started.
© Laural A. Bidwell from Moon Mount Rushmore & the Black Hills, 1st Edition