Osprey Trailhead (Trail #58)
Osprey Trail Brochure [http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5194531.pdf] A 2.2 mile trail that includes two loop trails and a spur trail to an overlook. The Osprey Trail was appropriately named because ospreys are often seen in the Pactola Lake area. Osprey, also known as fish hawks, are fish-eating specialists, with live fish accounting for about 99 percent of their diet. Osprey are spectacular divers. Once they have sighted their prey, they fold their wings tightly, descend swiftly and enter the water feet first, often submerging completely. Long sharp talons and barbed pads grip the slippery fish. The fish will be carried back to the nest headfirst to make it as aerodynamic as possible. From Rapid City, travel about 15 miles west on Highway 44. Turn south (left) onto Highway 385 and continue for 2.7 miles. Just after the Pactola Visitor’s Center turn west (right) onto Custer Gulch Road. Wind along the lake, past the beach for 1.4 miles before you turn north (right) following the signs to Pactola Campground. Go all the way through to the end of the campground facility past the fee booth to the trailhead. The Osprey Trail is maintained for hiking and bicycling. No motorized use is allowed.