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Friendship Tower looms over Mount Roosevelt. Photo by Jeremy Johnson.
Friendship Tower looms over Mount Roosevelt. Photo by Jeremy Johnson.
Rebecca Johnson climbs the new spiral staircase to the top. Photo by Jeremy Johnson.
Rebecca Johnson climbs the new spiral staircase to the top. Photo by Jeremy Johnson.
Photo by Jeremy Johnson.
Photo by Jeremy Johnson.

Friendship Tower

Jun 22, 2012

When my husband and I visited Mount Moriah Cemetery in Deadwood last summer, we climbed the steep path to Seth Bullock’s plot facing Mount Roosevelt. I found the story of his grave intriguing. Bullock met Theodore Roosevelt during Roosevelt’s years on a North Dakota ranch. The two remained friends during his presidency and Roosevelt appointed Bullock U.S. Marshall. Shortly after Roosevelt’s death in 1919, Bullock and the Society of the Black Hills Pioneers built Friendship Tower on the mount as a memorial to his friend. Bullock died a few months after the tower dedication and, at his request, was buried 750 feet above the main portion of the cemetery with a view of Mount Roosevelt across the gulch.

Jeremy and I were in Deadwood again a few weeks ago and looking for an easy hike when we remembered Mount Roosevelt. There aren’t a lot of signs promoting its trail, but it is easy to find. You head north a little ways out of Deadwood on Highway 85, take a left on Mount Roosevelt Road and follow it for about 2 ½ miles until you reach the trailhead/parking lot.  Josh from has even posted a video showing the route.

A well-maintained picnic area marks the trailhead to the castle-like tower. We hiked the half-mile path through oak and pine, skirting scree slopes and boulders. Raspberries even ripen along the trail in season. The trail and 31-foot tower atop the 5,690-foot summit are maintained by the Black Hills National Forest. New stone steps on the outside of the tower and a steep spiral staircase on the inside were added to allow an expansive view. There is also a little viewing deck just northwest of the tower for those who don’t want to scale the stairs.

It’s not strenuous, but I highly recommend this hike if you want to stretch your legs during a day in Deadwood. Bullock chose the location for its overlook of the plains beyond Belle Fourche and on into North Dakota where Roosevelt had his ranch. We could also just make out Bear Butte and Harney Peak. It’s cheap entertainment for your visit to the gambling town!


04:56 pm - Wed, June 20 2012
Carl Steiger said:
Excellent article! Thanks for sharing your experience.

Captain Seth Bullock organized the Cowboy Brigade. The Brigade's
sixty members took their horses by train from the Black Hills to
Washington DC in March of 1905 to ride in the inaugural parade to
honor President Teddy Roosevelt. They were the hit of the parade.

You can learn more about the Cowboy Brigade by visiting and searching for Seth Bullock.
06:57 am - Mon, June 25 2012
Rebecca said:
Thanks, Carl!
06:44 am - Tue, June 26 2012
Josh said:

Thanks for the mention and for spreading the word about Mount Roosevelt. This is a great hike near Deadwood that more people should know about.
08:45 am - Tue, June 26 2012
Rebecca said:
You're welcome, Josh. Thanks for reading!
05:10 pm - Sat, December 6 2014
Larry Parks said:
I am looking at a picture of my grandmother standing in the doorway probably around the late 20's. It has steps up to the doorway very similar to the new ones that were put in in 2010. very small trees around the tower.
02:38 am - Sat, February 6 2016
Tania said:
Thanks for sharing - I'm visiting DW in August from Australia and have been researching things to do. This is now definitely on my list. Thanks again :)
08:00 pm - Sun, July 17 2016
Deanna said:
I am looking forward to this hike on my trip to the hills. Thank You for sharing the information about this interesting sight.

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