A population of less than 80,000 doesn’t mean Rapid City, South Dakota doesn’t have its fair share of off-roading enthusiasts. With the Black Hills nearby, there is plenty to see and Jeep trails to explore.

Cotty, Brad and Connie spotting for TK navigating his Jeep across a rock garden on a Club run at Flat Nasties.

Facilitating four-wheel excursions to explore South Dakota’s natural beauty is an off-road club that goes by the name of 605 Jeeps. Being a small-town club is what actually makes 605 Jeeps stand out from others.

It’s a tight-knit family of friends that revel in their camaraderie, shared enthusiasm for off-roading, and a knack for having fun and cheering each other for their accomplishments. In this club, Jeep size doesn’t matter; nor does your cultural, religious, or ethnic background.

As Tammy Hall puts it,

“The camaraderie is what I like the most about 605 Jeeps. We help and support each other in their off-roading and other life ventures. We make every effort possible to ensure no one gets left behind. Either we all make it, or none of us do. Gender, age, backgrounds, cultures, and belief systems…none of that matters at the club. We’re all just fans of off-roading, having fun and cheering everyone for their efforts and accomplishments.”

If you’d like to experience small-town hospitality behind the wheel and on an off-road adventure through the Black Hills of South Dakota, this off-road Jeep club in Rapid City, South Dakota will welcome you with open arms and doors!

The story began…

Like it does for many other off-roading clubs. Located in the amazing Black Hills near Rapid City, South Dakota, 605 Jeeps was founded in October 2016. Jeep trails, historical sites and some of the most beautiful scenery nature can offer was just the start.

605 Jeeps wasn’t going to be your average off-road club that’s all business and no play. Instead, the founders had a more wholesome goal in their minds. They wanted to create a space where people can explore their affinity for the outdoors surrounded by people that were more like family than fellow club members.

In addition, they wanted to have a club that was dedicated to the local community and the forest services that undertook the preservation of the off-road trails they frequent. It welcomes Jeep owners, taking them across Midwest’s best wheeling spots. Newcomers are especially well-taken-care-of. Experienced members work with newbies, giving advice and tips that allow them to remain safe and enjoy the ride to its fullest!

Cotty Hayes summarizes 605 Jeeps quite well;

“What do I like about 605 Jeeps? Egos, we don’t have them. It’s not about who has the biggest or coolest Jeep or who can climb the biggest obstacle. We go out to build friendships and solidarity, making sure that no one gets left behind. Whether your vehicle breaks down or you struggle anywhere on the trail, we all pitch in. Then we go to grab a greasy burger or some killer Mexican. We’re tight-knit and that’s what’s really special about the group.”

Cotty Hayes, in his Jeep YJ, climbing Jason’s rock on the Iceman trail.

How it continues…

Today, 605 Jeeps has evolved into a full-fledged off-road Jeep club with meeting and club runs happening almost every month. Practicing Tread Lightly, club members ride out to local scenic trails around their area. Most rides are open to non-members, letting them tag along as guests and experience the type of off road family 605 Jeeps has become.

If you plan on joining 605 on your next trip to South Dakota, you will get to bear witness to the natural bounty Mother Nature has blessed it with. Breathtaking views of mountains, trails, greenery, canyons, and caves.

If you time it right, you might be lucky to ride the trail that has panoramic views of Mount Rushmore, as our founding fathers gazing upon you indulging in a memorable time with friends.

605 Jeeps also runs with other off-roading clubs such as the Toyota Club called Dakota Territory Cruisers also located in Rapid City SD.  In September 2021, the club will be welcoming The Jeep Crew, a Tennessee-based off-road club that Easy Off Roading wrote about, giving them the grand tour around South Dakota.

605 Jeeps presenting a check to Pennington Co Search and Rescue at the end of 2019 fundraiser. Thanks’ to Pauly’s Pizzeria and Sub for their help. Photo Tammy Hall

Rockfest

In addition to the annual Fall Colors run to take in the fall magic as the local foliage transitions seasons, the club hosts their Rockfest event every year. TNT Customs, Inc. is one of the major sponsors for the event, which earns and donates all proceeds to Pennington County’s Search & Rescue, a non-profit dedicated to saving lives and serving the local community.

Wayne Bennet sheared off his lug nuts during Rockfest 2020 and an experience Husband and Wife helped make the repairs. At Rockfest you will always find a helping hand.

Since 605 Jeeps is a relatively small club, they limit registrations to 50 Vehicles. Limiting the event to 50 Jeeps allows participants to get to know each other and have more fun. The environmental benefit of limiting to 50 vehicles is it helps prevent overuse and burdening the trails. 605 Jeeps is always concerned about protecting the environment and trails.  Even when holding events.

Rockfest 2020, Mr Knutson take a needed nap after a long day on the rocks. Photo by Cotty Hayes

Since Rockfest has become so popular over and the past few years it sells out. So, make sure to register early to reserve your spot. This years Rockfest will, once again, grab off-road drivers’ interest.

For more Rockfest  information and to register go to 605 Jeeps website.

Protector of trails

605 Jeeps always focuses on pursuing their original agenda to do their part in sustaining the trails that support their adventures. The club recognizes the growing use of the trail system, especially around the Black Hills.

To keep up with the changing trend, the club has increased its efforts to preserve the trails. The members get together for trail cleanup rides as a group. In the spring after the trails reopen, the club spends a few weeks cleaning the debris that accumulated along the trails during snow season.

Then in the fall they are back at it by scheduling trail repair rides. This is where they focus on the repairing the trails before the winter season.

After the trail cleanup and repair rides and the work is finished they either have an onsite cookout with Burgers and Hotdogs or go to someone’s house to have a BBQ. It seems food is important to this group because if the weather turns bad, they will most likely end up at a local restaurant. 

Developing awareness

While on the trails they have met people that were new to off roading or new to the area and found they were not familiar with proper trail etiquette and safety practices.  So, 605 Jeeps is developing a way to inform the inexperienced what to expect. In collaboration with Steal Wheel Campground, the club is developing a pre-trip program that teaches proper trail use, creating a long-term impact on trail preservation.

If you are interested in joining 605 Jeep or taking a ride in South Dakota check out the 605 Jeeps website and Facebook page to stay up-to-date with upcoming events.

 

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