Cook Lake Recreation Area

The Cook Lake Recreation Area has 32 camp sites and 33 picnic sites.  The lake is stocked with trout, catfish, and sunfish, and there is a wheelchair accessible pier.  There is carry-down access to the lake for small watercraft. Approximately four miles of hiking and bicycling trails are available at the recreation area.

The State of Wyoming allows open fires only if they are contained and not left unattended. Be sure that your fire is completely extinguished before leaving. Check with the local Forest Service Office for fire restrictions.

A hike to Warren Peak Lookout Tower makes a scenic day trip for visitors to the Cook Lake Recreation Area.

Day Hiking

The Cook Lake Trail is an easy 1.5 mile loop trail with some stairs and a stepping-stone crossing of Beaver Creek.  The trail circles the lake, and there are many opportunities to see various types of ducks and geese along with osprey, blue heron, and bald eagles.  In the water along the shore, very large fish called white amur are often seen.  These hybrid fish are distant relatives of carp and were introduced into the lake about 15 years ago to help control aquatic vegetation. Difficulty Rating: Easy.

The Cliff Swallow Trail is a 3.7 mile loop trail.  Cliff swallows nest in the limestone bluffs above Beaver Creek.  Look for gourd-shaped mud nests in the rock out-croppings below the ridge.  Other wildlife commonly seen along the trail include white-tailed deer, elk, and turkey. Along Beaver Creek, watch for blue herons, beaver, and water dippers. High above, turkey vultures are often seen riding the thermal drafts. Difficulty Rating: Moderate.

These trails are maintained for hiking and bicycling. They are not designed or maintained for horse use. No motorized travel is allowed.

Sheridan Lake Campground

Overview

This campground is situated in a forest of ponderosa pine along the south shore of Sheridan Lake, offering lake views and access to a multitude of recreational  opportunities both on land and water.

Natural Features:

Located in western South Dakota and northeastern Wyoming, Black Hills National Forest encompasses nearly 1.25 million acres of rugged rock formations, canyons and gulches, open grassland parks, tumbling streams, deep blue lakes, and unique caves.
Derived from the Lakota language, the words “Paha Sapa,” meaning “hills that are black,” honor the dark, pine-covered hills rising several thousand feet above the surrounding prairie.
Wildlife in the area abounds. Bighorn sheep navigate mountainous terrain, while elk, deer and pronghorn gather in forests and prairies. Bald eagles, hawks, osprey, peregrine falcon, and hundreds of other bird species can be found in the forest, especially along streams, lakes and rivers.

Recreation:

Black Hills National Forest offers a multitude of recreational opportunites throughout all seasons. Hiking, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and riding off-highway vehicles are popular in summer and early autumn. Winter landscapes are ideal for snowshoeing, skiing and snowmobiling.
The Dakota Point Trailhead for the popular Centennial Trail is located on the northeast side of Sheridan Lake, as is the Calumet Trailhead for the Flume Trail.
At 11 miles (plus a 3-mile loop), the Flume Trail has been designated a National Recreation Trail because of its historical significance to the local people. The Rockerville Flume carried water 20 miles, from Spring Creek west of present day Sheridan Lake, east to the placer diggings near Rockerville. The flume operated until 1885, and the trail follows the actual flume bed for much of its length. Along the way are historic artifacts and parts of the flume itself.
Sheridan Lake is an ideal spot for fishing, swimming and boating. The reservoir supports populations of rainbow, brown trout, northern pike and perch. Fly fishing is popular in Spring Creek below the dam, and ice fishing is popular on the lake in winter.

Facilities:

Sheridan Lake Campground has sites able to accommodate tents, trailers, and RVs, including 2 tent-only sites. Several sites have views of the lake.
The campground is equipped with picnic tables, campfire rings, vault toilets, and drinking water. Electrical hook-ups are not available.
Access to the lake and beach is within walking distance, and a boat ramp is available on-site.

Nearby Attractions:

Nearby Jewel Cave is the second longest cave in the world at 159.29 miles. It features sparkling calcite crystals and other rare formations, as well as some of the  largest concentrations of passageways in the world.
Other possible day trips include Mount Rushmore National Memorial, Custer State Park, Crazy Horse Monument, Devils Tower National Monument and Wind Cave National Park.