We Saw Our First Mountain Goats In The Wild
So while hiking the Cathedral Spires trail in Custer State Park we got to see mountain goats in the wild for the first time and it was so cool.
This particular trail is very popular in the park, because you get the opportunity to get an up close look at the unique needle looking rock formations the surrounding area is known for. It was one of the trails on my to-do list for the park. From my research I also knew it was the best place in the park to have a chance at seeing mountain goats.
When walking the trail I was told to make sure I kept my eyes on the giant rock spires, because that was where I was mostly likely to spot a goat. This is an out and back trail so I kept a sharp lookout during our hike, but reached the end and saw no goats.
Another couple was just starting to hike back to the start and I asked if they happened to see any goats on the way up. Turns out they had. At the beginning of the valley they spotted an adult goat and her kid on the rocks.
I don’t know how we missed them, but we did.
I was so disappointed.
After spending some time taking pics and checking out the views we turned around and started our return trip to the truck.
On the way back through the valley Jamey and I each took a side and searched every rock spire looking for that white spot. We were almost through the valley and I was beginning to lose hope. I stopped to take a pic and to my right I saw movement. Two mountain goats were making their way to the top of one of the spires.
Sure enough it was the momma and her baby climbing higher and higher up the rock. We ended up watching them for at least 15 minutes while they moved from one rock spire to another. Then the baby got tired and decided to lay down. It was AWESOME!
More than 200 mountain goats can be found in the Black Hills even though they are not native to the area. It all started in 1924 when Canada gifted six goats to Custer State Park. They somehow escaped their pens and found a new home among the granite peaks of the Black Hills.
Considering so few mountain goats call this particular area home I feel very honored to of had the opportunity to see one in the wild. To see a baby was just an amazing bonus.
So if you’re heading to Custer State Park the Cathedral Spires Trail is a great hike. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a mountain goat or two climbing to the top of the rock spires as well. It’s a wildlife encounter you will never forget.