The clear mountain waters are inviting, and the open ranges are waiting to be discovered. Bring your family to Custer State Park, and let yourself run wild. Custer State Park in the Black Hills encompasses 71,000 acres of spectacular terrain and an abundance of wildlife. Within the park, you'll discover a world of adventure!
I really liked the variety of scenery and trail features. After walking past Sylvan Lake, I chose to go clockwise on the loop, as some of the other people have suggested here, and I'm glad I did it that way. Towards the end of the trail, the path guides you between an area of large boulders with a small creek running through it. There are handrails for you to hold onto since you have to climb over some smaller boulders and occasionally some steep steps to get through it. If you were going counterclockwise, you'd have to go down them, and I imagine it gets slippery at times. It's more strenuous going up them, but personally I like having the more challenging uphill parts at the end of a trail when I'm more loosened up...but that's me. Plus, they're beautiful to look at and a beautiful way to end the hike. Just make sure you have good hiking shoes. Starting clockwise, you're near the boulders at first and then start going down in elevation into mostly a forest area, sometimes going near the highway. The trail is considered 'strenuous' in the Custer State Park guide, probably because of the rocky terrain. The trail is narrow and windy, with you often having to walk over rocks and tree roots and occasionally having to climb over small boulders. To me, that just made it more fun, because I get bored easily. I encountered a few other hikers, but was by myself for most of it. There are also some good picture-taking opportunities, but I unfortunately didn't have a decent camera with me. Overall, I really enjoyed myself and would go again, but I'm only in the area for a short while longer and want to try out other trails. :)
Pretty hike. The first 3/4 mile was a steady steep ascent, definitely a butt buster. The view is gorgeous. Once you leave the lookout its an easy walk. You eventually run into water which you cross several times on planks. Great place for the dogs to cool off. A recommended not to difficult hike.
Took this hike yesterday. Parked at the lake in Custer State Park and hiked to another parking lot, and started on the actual trail. Not too busy for a fall weekend. The rock at the top is a real scramble but one to the left is much easier. Beautiful views along the way and on top. Our dog loved it. She was able to make it through the squeeze better than I did.
This is a very lovely hike. Begins with a slight incline, becomes moderate, progresses to a somewhat steep gravelly slope, and ends with a fun climb up the rocks through a couple of tight spaces. Panoramic view from the top. There is almost no shade for most of the trail, so be prepared. It took 30 minutes moving slowly to get to the spur. Fast hikers could get to the spur in 15 minutes. Highly recommended!!
First real hike I ever did with my parents, (Although we just went down & back up the rock section) So Someday I wanted to do the whole thing, Finally my kids were old enough to do some hiking, so our first big trip out west was the Black hills (like my parents before me) Determined to make this my families 1st Hike, we set off, (No back packs) & two bottles of water for for 2 adults & 3 kids) First big mistake!!! The family was out of water at the bottom of the gorge, the moods quickly deteriorated. So I took the responsibility to "Run" ahead & get water to bring back on the trail, needless to say the 2nd part of this trail still seems a blur as I BRISKLY walked up the hilly forest to retrieve water & then ran back to hopefully find my family still alive. Which they were, needless to say this trail changed everything, we have never been caught without water again, nor have we done a trail since then that I don't know at least the distance we will be going. Lots of memories here some bad, some good, but it's still the trail that started it all gotta give it a (5) That said, don't underestimate it, it's tougher than it looks!