8 a.m. ~ 10 p.m.
||Say a few minutes to an hour or
|Best Time To Go:
||The bowl itself is on private
land and it is not marked on most maps, There is,
however, a overlook and commemorative plaque on an
overlook above the bowl.
||The place where the space age was
born Where the first manned flights into the
|| The stratobowl
is one of those hidden, nearly secret, gems of the
Black Hills that few people nowadays visit or even
know about. As a geological feature it is a
spectacular place with 500 foot cliffs on three
sides above as small flat plain no bigger than a
few football fields.
The best approach is from a
closed forest service road to the east rim. The
road is located about 10 miles south of Rapid City
off the westbound lanes of US Highway 16. As you
approach from the east, there is a Conoco gas
station and RV center on the right side of the
road. The forest service road is about 2/10ths of
a mile past the RV center and is closed motorized
traffic. You need to walk in about 3/4th mile from
At the overlook, you will be at
the spot where the national press corps and
thousands of spectators gathered in the mid 1930s
to watch America's first high-altitude balloon
flights. The altitude records set in these flights
(72,395 feet) stood until the dawn of the space
age in the late 1950s. The flights were
sponsored by the National Geographic Society and
the U.S. Army Air Corps.
More recently Steve Fossett
launched hist first around the world attempts from
the Stratobowl in January of 1996.
It is also possible to drive down into the bowl
itself, but the field is located on private
property which is fenced off and posted.
You can also learn more by
visiting the South Dakota Air and Space Museum at
Box Elder, South Dakota.